Building Your Health Through Stronger Relationships

Posted by Kay Frick on February 26, 2024

There are many reasons that can call us to fitness:

  • Wanting increased mobility, strength, and endurance
  • Limiting diseases; diabetes, heart disease, arthritis
  • Physical therapy after joint replacement
  • Weight loss
  • Life transitions, retirement, empty-nester
  • Wanting to live longer, healthier, and happier lives

In the past two years as the Connection Specialist at the RAC, I have observed a trend: people come to the RAC to build their health and they return for the relationships they develop. As a result, the people most successful at building their health are those who have formed the strongest relationships. In the years since COVID, many people are still struggling to build these relationships.

The correlation between relationships and overall health is supported by the scientific community as well. Last year the US. Surgeon General issued an advisory calling loneliness a health crisis, one that increases the risk of heart disease and dementia. Researchers from the Harvard study of Adult Development found that people who maintained strong relationships lived longer and happier lives. Research also found that those with social support experienced less mental deterioration as they aged.

When the study began in 1938, the focus was on physical activity, demeanor, healthy weight, absence of smoking and alcohol consumption. More recently, the study has found that the key to healthy aging is relationships, relationships, relationships. While it is true that all of us need time to be alone and make time for practices like meditation, we also need to make time for relationships. In the always-on culture of smartphones, it is easy for us to make work a priority and not create time for building new relationships.

With this foundational understanding of the importance of building relationships, let’s consider a few ways to increase your sense of connectedness (and build your health) at the RAC.

Here are a few ideas that members have shared for increasing connectedness:

  • Meet with a fitness trainer - A trainer will help you stay accountable and incorporate new ideas into your fitness program.
  • Talk with an instructor - Enjoyed their class? Thank them. Ask about their background and other classes they might suggest.
  • Chat with members in the locker room, ask what they like to do - People typically like to share their training ideas. Ask what they do and how they got started.
  • Speak with a Health and Wellness Coach - This person will be a sounding board and source of encouragement, no matter what stage of your fitness journey you’re on.
  • Contact me, Connection Specialist Kay Frick, - If none of these suggestions worked for you, let’s talk!

Here are also a few classes and training ideas to get you started:

  • Safe Start to Fitness -This new class is designed to assist all participants with instruction on guided basic fitness movements. While learning proper form you will also build relationships.
  • EGYM - A twelve station, resistance training program is designed to increase strength. It is an individualized workout that can be done at any time of day.
  • Walking - The track is open all day and is a safe place to walk or run. Walking with someone makes a mile (9 laps) go by quickly.
  • Chair Yoga or Gentle Yoga - Classes are offered several times a week and are great community builders. Movements are guided by the instructor with modifications included.
  • Pool Fitness - Create your own workout or join our Stretch and Tone class, designed to assist in movements that increase flexibility and strength. Class members are very welcoming to new participants. Aqua Fitness is the next level for those wanting to include a safe aerobic and water resistance workout.
  • Pickleball - A growing racquet sport at the RAC. If you have never played it, we have lessons and beginning level play times. This is another great way to meet other members.
  • Strong Bones - This class focuses on weight resistance movements with correct posture to help build stronger bones and muscles. Participants also get an aerobic workout between circuits. Work and fun combined!

Through a lifetime of coaching people toward health, I’ve found that the key to building your health is to build relationships. Even on the days you don’t feel like going to the gym, it’s easier to show up because you know you have friends you will see and that there are people expecting you to show up.

It’s my hope that something in this article will help you build stronger relationships at the RAC. Please reach out to me or any RAC staff member if you’re feeling “stuck” on your health journey or could simply use a boost. We are here to serve you!

Kay Frick

Kay Frick

RAC Connection Specialist Kay Frick helps the experiences of our members meet their expectations. That could be by helping new members get a quality start to their fitness program or by helping any of our members feel supported and cared for at the RAC.

Contact Kay Frick at (507) 287-9335 ext. 346.

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