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Bethany Homes helps keep seniors active, healthy

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POSTED January 30, 2013 3:44 p.m.

Therapeutic water and “Young at Heart” exercise programs are offered by Ripon’s Bethany Home weekly in an effort to keep the community’s senior citizens in good physical shape throughout the year.

Nancy Marlow heads up the activities that sees seniors over 62 years use the indoor heated pool in Bethany’s Chesapeake Landing facility for water aerobics from beginners to “walking in water” and  Intermediate Aerobics.  The water temperature is kept at the low 90-degree level.

Marlow’s Water Aerobics classes are held regularly Monday through Thursday at 9:30 a.m. using the large, four-foot-deep therapeutic pool that has been said to aid arthritis problems more than can be achieved in traditional exercises. 

Seniors living beyond the Bethany campuses are welcome to take part at a fee of about $100 a year in the heated pool.  Employees of the Bethany Home campus are urged to make use of the Water Aerobics program as well on Saturday mornings from 8 until 9 a.m. and on Wednesday evenings from 5 until 6 p.m. Intermediate Water Aerobics are scheduled on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 1:30 until 2:30 p.m.

Retired Ripon High School teacher Carla Escola holds the beginners’ aquatic sessions every Monday and Wednesday mornings for an hour from 8:30 until 9:30 a.m.

Marlow holds the “Young at Heart” exercise classes beginning at 8 a.m. Mondays through Thursdays in the Bethany exercise room and “Fit as You Sit” sessions from 9 until 10 a.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays for those who might have trouble standing for their exercises.

An additional set of exercise sessions are held in the dining room of the Bethany Manor Apartments located on Second Street Monday through Friday for an hour each, also led by Nancy Marlow.

Identical physical exercise sessions are also offered at different times at the Ripon Senior Center located at the corner of Wilma Avenue and Fourth Street across from the Bethany Home complex.

XCEL Physical Therapy also offers water sessions – Aqua Fit Class – in Bethany’s therapeutic pool on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from 1 until 2 p.m.   They also provide a choice of therapeutic exercises on the same days from 3 until 4 p.m.

Bethany also subscribes to a nutrition regimen supported under the theme, “Healthy Eating for Healthy Aging,” believing that nutrition is the Science of Food with six essential nutrients.

Those nutrients include carbohydrates, lipids – which are fats and oils – proteins, vitamins, minerals and water explaining that the carbohydrates, lipids and proteins are what provide energy.  The proteins, lipids, vitamins, minerals and water promote growth and development of cells.

The foods eaten daily provide energy that is referred to as Kilocalories, representing a single unit of energy.  In grams, one gram of carbohydrate equals four kilocarories, one gram of fat equates to nine kilocalories, and one gram of protein has four kilocalories as well. 

Twenty minutes of walking at three miles an hour kills 100 kilocalories, according to the nutrition statistics. A personal food guide based on a “Personal Pyramid” can be found at  The food guide is not complete without dietary guidelines that are to be found at the same web address.

Seniors are urged to mix up their choices within each food group including focusing on fruits, varying vegetables, getting calcium-rich foods, making half your grains whole, going lean with protein and knowing the limits of fats, salt and sugars.

Seniors may also want to visit  with any questions on high blood pressure.

There are simple steps in measuring food sizes with the use of the human hand, baseballs, tennis balls and a pack of cards.

One ounce of cheese is equal to a thumb.  The thumb tip to the first joint represents one tablespoon.  A fist or a baseball equates to one cup of any food where the palm of the hand can hold about three ounces.  A tennis ball can measure about the same as a medium fruit and a pack of playing cards mirrors about three ounces of meat by its size.

The “Food for Thought” offered by the Young at Heart Fitness and Health programs lays it all out very simply:

Carbohydrates are not bad, the group states in its brochure.

The fact is that carbohydrates are your body’s main and preferred source of energy.  The food guide pyramid suggests whole grains, cereals, pastas, rice, etc, be the base of your diet with the base items referred to as carbohydrates.

Sweets, although they are carbs, are a staple.  They should only be eaten sparingly, watching for added sugars in the food choices by reading their labels – often labeled as high fructose corn syrup.

“So when you cut your carbs, don’t completely remove staples from your diet, instead remember portion size and variety,” it is recommended.

Seniors often overeat and it’s usually the same food, whether it is too much mashed potatoes or too much steak.  The food guide pyramid promotes eating a balanced diet with a variety of healthy food choices.

Healthy weight loss reportedly comes from cutting calories while still eating a balanced diet as your increase your physical activity.

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