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December 26, 2007 > Womens Center Exercise Classes: Limber Up for the New Year!

Womens Center Exercise Classes: Limber Up for the New Year!

How would you like to start the new year off right with an exercise class suited to your own special needs - a class that lets you exercise with other women in a supportive and fun environment?

The Washington Women's Center has two different programs to help you limber up and enjoy life more: The Arthritis Foundation Exercise Program designed specifically for women with arthritis, and the Gentle Yoga for Health and Healing small group program for women.

"Our arthritis exercise program has been very successful in helping women with arthritis increase their flexibility, range of motion and endurance," says Women's Center Coordinator Kathy Hesser, R.N. "Many women keep coming back for additional sessions because the program helps keep their joints flexible and reduce their level of pain. For many women with arthritis, the activities of daily living can become painful. After taking part in this program, they're able to button their clothes, zip zippers, open jars and perform other daily chores with decreased pain and renewed energy."

Developed by the Arthritis Foundation and physical therapists, the exercises can be tailored to each woman's fitness level and can be performed while sitting, standing or on the floor. Classes meet twice a week for six weeks, beginning on Thursday, January 7, 2008. The Monday and Wednesday series is scheduled from 10:30 a.m. to 11: 30 a.m., and the Monday and Thursday series runs from 3:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Cost for the six-week program is $48. Women who have completed the 12-session series can become ongoing members for $25 per month.

The Women's Center yoga program is intended for women who want gentle yoga exercise to supplement their other exercise or to recover from an injury or illness. No previous yoga experience is necessary. Each class includes the basic principles of movement, structural alignment and breathing awareness.

"Yoga helps increase your strength and flexibility," Hesser says. "It also can reduce stress and promote peace of mind. Our classes are small - limited to 11 women - so each woman gets individualized attention from our certified yoga instructor."

"Yoga can help the body heal and improve your sense of well being," according to course instructor, Bonnie Maeda, R.N. "Yoga can help people build confidence, improve the way you breathe and can help people cope with chronic illnesses such as arthritis, fibromyalgia, lung disease and heart disease."

The next six-week yoga session begins on Thursday, January 10, with classes offered from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. and from 5:45 to 6:45 p.m. The cost of $75 covers all six classes.

"The Women's Center is more than just a place for women to come for getting a comfortable mammogram," Hesser emphasizes. "We offer a whole range of imaging services and biopsies, of course, but we also offer resources to help women make healthy changes in their lives. Our overall goal is to support women in achieving wellness and balance in their lives."

The Women's Center is located at 2500 Mowry Avenue, across the street from Washington Hospital.

To register or to obtain more information about the Women's Center's exercise classes or other Women's Center programs such as the monthly "Lunch and Learn" lectures, the Evening Lecture Series for Women, and a variety of special events and support groups, call (510) 608-1356. Or you can visit the Washington Hospital website at and click on the link for Women's Health under "Programs and Services," then click on the link for Wellness Classes and Services.

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