Getting Healthy in the Mississippi Delta
Rosalie Womack isn’t big on chairs. At 79, she finds herself in motion, lifting weights and participating in aerobic exercises. And with a little more encouragement, she might just start doing some yoga.
“You can’t just sit all day long,” said Rosalie, a retired IT manager and comptroller for a company in Greenville. “I look forward to exercising now because it makes me feel so much better. Like they say, ‘use it or lose it.’”
Rosalie found what she needed to live a more active life, and it was at the Leland Medical Clinic and its new “Getting Healthy” program. Through the clinic, residents have access to a host of lifestyle programs aimed at keeping residents active and healthier. The Getting Healthy program offers:
- Strength training
- Cardio workouts
- Classes on eating healthy on a budget
- Wellness check ups
- Personal nutrition plans
- Information on “southern comfort food made healthy”
“So many people make new year’s resolutions that this year we decided to help them meet their goals through these programs at the clinic,” said Brooks Ann Gaston, a vice president with Delta Health Alliance, which oversees the clinic’s operation. “There are no comparable programs in this area with organized classes geared toward healthy lifestyles.”
Gaston estimates that about 100 people have attended the various classes since January. Clinic employees using videos and other teaching material, volunteer their time to lead the classes. The goal is to keep the program operating into the foreseeable future.
“It’s providing the community with a resource to do free activities to be healthier into the new year and beyond,” she said.
For Rosalie, who shares rides to the clinic’s classes with a friend, the program offers a way to feel better mentally and physically, helping to ward off the declines that come with age.
“When you retire, your physical activity declines,” she said. “I knew I needed to do more, but you always say, ‘I’ll do it tomorrow.’ When you have to get up and go somewhere, it makes it easier.”
Rosalie began in the exercise room and then moved to strength training and Zumba, which provides her more cardiovascular activity. For older participants, the weights and balancing exercises can really make a difference, she said.
“You say, ‘Ooh I feel that in my back and shoulders and arms’ and it feels good,” said Rosalie. “The clinic is really a great place to have this. I’d tell anyone to just do it and you’ll feel the difference it will make.”