2013-07-19 / Sports

Rockaway Walks 2013 “Lift Up” Summer Season

Councilman Donovan Richards, Steven C. McCartney (Physical education and recreation specialist), community based organizations (such as St. John’s Episcopal Hospital and Joseph Addabbo Health Center) and residents in the community came out June 29th to “Lift Up” the seventh season of Rockaway Walks, a Healthy Lifestyle Change program.

According to organizers, the 2013 kickoff theme “Lift Up” connects the mind, body and soul to a community still rebuilding from superstorm Sandy. The program started June 29th and runs through August 31st from 8 a.m. to 9 a.m. on the Boardwalk between Beach 19th and Beach 20th Street.

The free 10 week supervised exercise program for Healthy People 2020 is open to all fitness levels and the primary objective is to promote physical literacy in health, nutrition and staying physically active across one’s lifespan. To gain more information about Rockaway Walks and to review Rockaway Walks statistical data (measurable outcomes) from the 2012 program go to www.walkprograms.com.

McCartney says, “the strength of the program is being able to identify trends and design the program according to the needs of the community to promote health and fitness. In addition the website and blog will increase open discussion on health and fitness.”

The Rockaway Walks (designed for 10-12 weeks) program has three stages of physical development that allow participants to focus on (1) strength and condition (exploration), (2) coordination and balance (adaptation), and (3) readiness or task specific (overload) that progress every three weeks in learning objectives, covering the five components of Health and Fitness. (Review The Wave article on Exercise to Improve Flexibility, Strength and Endurance). Example, the first three weeks focus on strengthening and conditioning for activities of daily living and recreation (30-60 minutes of moderate intense activities where participants learn about measuring intensity). During the first four weeks the foundation for exercise prescription will follow the guidelines of the American College of Sports Medicine. Participants will be encouraged to do aerobic exercise 3-5 days per week (about 30-60 minutes per day) within their target heart rate zone or perceived exertion levels and to perform strength-training activities 2-3 times per week.

Everyone will be able to measure and understand one’s individual target heart rate at 50 percent to 80 percent of their maximal heart rate achieved during the baseline exercise test using the Karvonen formula (worksheets, handouts and Internet will reinforce learning). In addition. everyone who attends will be able to gain new knowledge about diet and daily Estimated Energy Requirement (EER) for best practices in weight management.

Transitioning into weeks 4 through 6 will focus on coordination and balance (stress management) practices that include gentle yoga poses, progressive muscle relaxation, breathing exercises, meditation, and guided imagery (Review The Wave article, Pain Management: Listen to Your Body). Everyone is expected to practice stress management techniques (positive self-talk: “Yes I Can”) for one hour or more per day at one’s own leisure.

During the final four weeks the focus is task specific and putting it all together providing social support to facilitate adherence to a healthy lifestyle change program. This is achieved by using communication skills to promote intimacy and expression of feeling in a supportive environment. Also, extended support services are provided by co-sponsor St. John’s Episcopal Hospital and Joseph Addabbo Health Center. The purpose of the Rockaway Walks program is to promote the need for health and fitness to determine new methods and strategies to stay mentally, physically and socially active and reduce health disparities. This is accomplished through literacy in health, nutrition and staying physically active.

The short term goal of the program is to facilitate physical activity to maintain and improve self-worth and improve community health through partnering with St. John’s Episcopal Hospital and Joseph Addabbo Health Center. The long-term goal is to align the program with the American College of Sports Medicine and Healthy People 2020 objectives for daily physical activity. Rockaway Walks is in its seventh season, with instructor Steven C. McCartney, IPO HSW, MS, co-founder; all fitness levels welcome and anyone can still join.

The 2013 Rockaway Walks “Lift Up” sponsors in partnership are Modell’s Sporting Goods, Stop & Shop, Rockaway Development & Redevelopment Corporation, The Wave, NYC Parks Department, Joseph P. Addabbo Health Center, St. John’s Episcopal Hospital, and Healthy Lifestyle Changes, Inc. For more information go to www.walkprograms.com.

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