Before Carol Crouse of Bennettsville started 12-week Fit and Strong! Program on Tuesdays and Thursdays, she was having trouble with swelling in both of her knees and getting up and down.
After 11 weeks, Crouse has seen her knees only swell twice.
“My knees are so much better,” she said. “They don’t swell or hurt as much. Overall, I feel a whole lot better.”
It is what the creators of Fit and Strong! wanted people to gain from the program, which is an exercise/behavior change program for older adults with lower extremity osteoarthritis.
Crouse does the exercises at home but doesn’t stay with it as long as she does at the Bennettsville Community Center with the group.
“Here I keep going,” she said.
Fit and Strong! is offered through a collaboration of the Northeast Rural Health Network and the City of Bennettsville to provide exercise for seniors.
Patrick Bines, director of NRHN, said there is no cost for the program because of a grant the organization received.
This was the first class in Bennettsville and has grown.
Bines hopes to offer another class or opportunity for organizations and groups to bring the program to their clients.
“NRHN is willing to work with churches and other organizations,” Bines said.
In addition to the city, they are doing this through Healthy People, Healthy Carolinas, which is a grant the network was awarded through the Duke Endowment.
Bobbie Coxe of Bennettsville has arthritis in her shoulder and at one time, couldn’t lift it.
“This exercise has helped me a lot,” she said. “I can lift it. I think the class is very good and I wish we could continue it.”
She admitted to being tired after class but was very pleased with the results.
This week, the class ended but Bines wanted to offer it again.
“We will offer it to the community,” he said. “We will take a two to three-week break.”
If interested in participating in a class or wanting to bring the class to a group, contact Danielle Parker at 843-535-0525, 843-253-3013 or email at nrhn@ nrhnonline.org.
Parker, who is a community health worker and leads the program, said they had 12 people in the class.
Fit and Strong! includes 60-minutes of exercise and 30-minutes of group discussion and education.
Cindy Livingston of McColl thought it was a wonderful program that has given her more movement in her body.
“I’ve lost 15 pounds,” she said. “I have more strength. I enjoyed it. I look forward to coming to exercise class.”
She encouraged people to come to the class and have a good time while building the bodies up and getting more flexible.
Paula Deitz loved this class because it made her want to exercise and get healthy. She has lost six pounds since the beginning of the year.
“It just makes you feel so good,” she said. “We do want to sign up again. We are ready to go.”