By Meghan Haggard
Beginning in late October, I taught a Walk with Ease class three days a week in Willamina. The classes ran for eight weeks and were held at the old high school building. The building is now called the West Valley Community Campus and a group of dedicated community members is working hard to rehabilitate the space as a community meeting place with a focus on education, health and sustainability.
Walk with Ease is a program designed by the Arthritis Foundation to aid people who are living with arthritis become active or more active as a way of controlling their symptoms. The program covers various topics that relate to arthritis and had a stretching and walking component in each session. The five women who participated in the program all had various forms of arthritis and reported improvement in their stamina while exercising and increased flexibility.
Teaching the class was a highly enjoyable experience as the program also encourages socialization. I learned a lot from the women about their lives and what it had been like for them growing up as well as much about the area surrounding Willamina. The memories and lessons I learned from these women and the Walk with Ease program are one of the best things I have gained from my VISTA experience. I would highly recommend the program to anyone who has arthritis or anyone who just wants to get more active.
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