Turning points sometimes start small and build over time, motivated by our own unique set of desires and beliefs. Sometimes they come forcefully in ways we could never have anticipated. Sometimes they come as a combination of the two. For Carol Sherwood the turning point came after a full day of helping out with Serve & Celebrate. Arriving home tired and aching, she realized she was going to have to make some changes in her lifestyle if she wanted to continue being as active as she would like to be. It was very important to her to continue being an active participant in her grandchildren’s lives. This provided a powerful motivation that led her to start the Strong for Life program at Newberg Friends as well as to learn to swim. Now nearly eight years later, she is in better shape than when she first retired. She is conquering her fear of deep water and has learned to swim. Carol began gradually increasing the distance she swam each session until she completed a mile this year!
Ron Stansell came to Strong for Life 2.0 after living through meningitis. Grateful to be alive and recovering, he told me, “I recognized after having meningitis I needed something that would improve my core strength and balance. I feel like Strong for Life 2.0 has many of the right kind of exercises to help me do this. I have been very pleased with my experience overall.” Ron’s physical therapist was aware of the program and encouraged him to participate. He finds that many of the exercises are similar to the ones the physical therapist gives him, and they have meshed well in providing a way to restore strength and maintain the gains he has made.
Sometimes making small changes in our activity level can have a significant impact on our health and can become a turning point in how we feel physically, which impacts other aspects of our lives. “Strong for Life is a great example of how a little can do a lot. It doesn’t always take a lot to get better,” Carol shared. Ron echoed this when he told me that Strong for Life 2.0 is not overwhelming. Ron believes Strong for Life 2.0 is well adapted to meet the needs of a wide variety of people. “I encourage both men and women to join. The class is very supportive and everyone is encouraged to work at their own level, “Ron explains.
When Carol first got involved in Strong for Life as a volunteer, she was developing the Parish Nursing program at Newberg Friends. “I feel like Strong for Life is a natural outgrowth of being concerned for the health and well-being of others. Strong for Life addresses more than just the physical health of the participants. It also creates a place for friendship, social connection, and emotional support.” For example, a few years ago a woman from the neighborhood around NFC joined Strong for Life. She was very isolated and the Strong for Life class at NFC came around her, offered her friendship, gave her a safe place to get stronger, took her shopping and out to lunch. The class became her community until it was her time to go home. From my perspective, the way the class expresses Christ’s love to one another in very real, tangible ways is a beautiful example of what the community of Christ is meant to be.
Strong for Life 2.0 is a peer-led exercise program developed by doctoral students in the George Fox University Physical Therapy program. The students researched and worked together with Faith in Action, Providence Newberg Rehab, volunteer coaches, and participants. Based on the latest research and the feedback they received, the students created an updated program that focuses on strength, balance, and flexibility for individuals 60 and better. Currently, there are 14 classes meeting weekly located from McMinnville to Sherwood, including one that meets at Friendsview.
The class welcomes new participants, and it is never too late to get started! The free classes are ongoing and offered at Newberg Friends. The 45-minute routine is held every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday in the Barclay building beginning promptly at 10:30 a.m. A doctor’s consent and short orientation complete the enrollment process.