- Carol Michaels
Barriers to Exercise
The socio-economic barriers that prevent some people from getting the recommended levels of exercise are:
1. Often times there are few gyms of health clubs in low-income neighborhoods
2. There may be inadequate public transportation to get to a gym or the person may not be able to afford public transportation
3. The residents of low-income communities often times do not own a car
4. There may be language barriers
5. Lack of education of the importance of exercise and its ability to decrease the risk of disease.
6. Lack of leaders to start creating walking programs
7. Not enough trainers in low-income areas to develop outdoor exercise programs that can be done with little equipment expense.
Let's break down the barriers to exercise:
1. Church leaders should be trained to either lead or find someone to lead exercise programs in the church when not being used. The church is often the center of community life in low- income neighborhoods.
2. Train community leaders to fund raise for development of exercise programs and to get the word out of their importance
3. Hospitals should be pro-active. They can educate and provide space for exercise for those that can not afford to travel to a gym.
Carol's background story leading to the creation of the Recovery Fitness cancer exercise program:
My community involvement inspired me to focus my goals on expanding health education, exercise, and achieving healthy productive lifestyles for my clients in suburban and urban communities.
I am currently an officer and a trustee of the Musical Instrument Donation Program. This charity collects musical instruments and distributes them to those that cannot afford to buy or rent one. One significant aspect of the process is that I visit schools and meet residents and teachers in low-income communities. My work for this charity opened my eyes to the health needs of low-income communities. Many residents suffer from chronic conditions and do not have health insurance or the ability to pay for rehabilitation. Our musical instrument charity made me aware of the fitness and health services that were needed in certain areas. After meeting so many people in need while delivering instruments, I decided something needed to be done.
I met with several people at the Cancer Center of Newark Beth Israel who were very encouraging and receptive. I donated my time and we established a pilot program for cancer patients. This consisted of free exercise classes at the Cancer Center of Newark Beth Israel for one year. During the year, we monitored various fitness markers. We took range of motion measurements and recorded strength levels for each participant. Arm measurements were also taken to monitor for lymphedema. The results of the one-year program were compiled and they were terrific: increased range of motion, increased strength, decrease in lymphedema and emotional improvement.
Recovery Fitness® has a broad impact in a number of communities. I educate cancer survivors about the importance of exercise and healthy lifestyles. The results from the Recovery Fitness® program have been excellent in both urban and suburban communities. These classes enable survivors with limited financial means to improve their health and become active productive members of their community. Our classes not only help the participants heal physically, but also help to restore their self esteem. They are empowered to go back to their jobs and families and take charge of their lives.