Program Helps Seniors With Mobility, Stamina

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Senior citizens needing extra help to regain physical skills which have diminished over time have an option to restore mobility and stamina.

The MHAX III Program, sponsored by the Mogollon Health Alliance and the Payson Athletic Club, is a joint effort between the two, said certified personal trainer Laura Schatza.

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Medical Assistant Bev Furst checks the blood pressure of Dean Bulkley before allowing him to begin exercising in the MHAX program at the Payson Athletic Club.

She said there are seniors who benefit from this after going through Cardiac III exercises at Payson Regional Medical Center. The next step, she said, are the Cardiac II exercises that are offered through this program.

To enter the MHAX program, participants would need to obtain a prescription from their doctor or therapist, schedule an appointment with MHAX III Health Plus and fill out the paperwork and pay the $35 monthly fee.

Schatza said exercises are designed for the participants, most of whom are seniors, based on their needs.

She said there are seniors in the program who are suffering from cardiac diseases, hypertension, arthritis and diabetes as well as many other ailments.

She said a big component comes from the member's physician, who tells the staff the patient needs.

She said most of the seniors continue exercising and working out at the athletic club after rehabilitation.

"They keep coming back because they feel so much better," she said, adding that they want to remain healthy.

"We have 80- to 90-year-old people who are working out (here)," Schatza said. "You can build muscles in your 90s. It is never too late."

She said a lot of senior citizens want to be able to get off the ground after playing with their grandchildren.

Bev Furst, a medical assistant in the program, said people seem to be very fulfilled with the program, mentioning she has seen some incredible strides some have made by being in the MHAX program.

Before a person can begin exercising in the MHAX program, their blood pressure, pulse and oxygen levels are measured.

Furst said she will retake their vitals once they finish exercising -- after a cool down period.

Schatza said because of her background, she is able to set up a participant on a certain machine and then monitor the results.

She added that supervision and monitoring participants' progress are important keys to the program.

Motivating seniors to continue with the program is another key component. Encouragement range from prizes when reaching a certain goal as well as a picnic that is scheduled for Sept. 12.

"It makes it fun for them to come in and exercise," the certified fitness trainer said.

She said quality of life is what seniors will get from taking part in the MHAX program.

"They do not want to be in bed and not able to enjoy life anymore," she said, adding most of the participants spend 30 minutes to an hour every time they come to the Payson Athletic Club to take part in the program.

The class is held three days a week from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. every Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

Discuss participation with your individual health care providers before pursuing additional information from either MHA or PAC.

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