Free classes for those with arthritis

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Through mid-December the Hyland Hills Park and Recreation District is offering a free arthritis class to help ease and manage the pain for people with the debilitating disease.

The free class is called the Arthritis Foundation Exercise Program and is made possible through grant funding from the National Recreation and Park Association, NRPA, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Hyland Hills is just one of 24 recreation districts across the country to receive a portion of the $140,000 grant.

Betsy Scally, recreation supervisor for Hyland Hills, said after hearing about the opportunity she quickly applied, and is grateful she did. The district received $4,000, which was used to buy equipment and pay a certified instructor. Now the free class is offered 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays at The MAC in Westminster.

“We started about three weeks ago and we have had about 18 to 24 individuals come to each class, which is great,” Scally said. “We were so lucky to have it over at The MAC. The city of Westminster was so open to letting us have it there. It’s been really helpful.”

Scally, who is certified and also teaches the class, said each session encompasses a variety of activities, beginning with stretching and a relaxation period, followed by range of motion exercises. Scally also challenges the individuals with some cardio.

She said for some, the cardio is just getting them to stand up from their wheelchairs. Following the cardio is more stretching, ending with a final relaxation and mediation period.

“We are really working with all areas of the body through these techniques and exercises. Plus it’s known that 10 percent of pain can be eased by meditation and relaxation, so that’s why I incorporate that aspect in the class,” Scally said. “We also educate people on things that may help their arthritis, like a healthy diet.”

Although the grant funding only covers a six-week period, Scally said she hopes to continue the classes next year. For more information call 303 428-7488.

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