Exercising Toward Better Health
Chronic diseases kill and physical inactivity is the predominant cause of most chronic diseases. Shadowing national trends, Latinos and Black/African-American in Union County carry a disproportionate burden of morbidity and mortality as a result of higher rates of obesity, diabetes, hypertension and food insecurity. Physical activity/exercise can help mitigate these chronic conditions to a large extent, but extenuating circumstances, for example, pressing work schedules, caregiver responsibilities, lack of motivation, the physical environment, safety issues, lack of accessibility, prevent people from living an active lifestyle. Building on the vision that an active community is a healthy community, and opportunities for movement are best provided through social network of community-based support system, PROCEED, INC. reached out to the parents of the Family Success Center for feedback on physical activities that they think the community can commit to.
The parent committee members’ advice and input were actively solicited in planning shared physical activities that would be embraced by all. The parents suggested that for community members to commit to a fitness schedule, the physical activity had to be provided in an environment that was accessible, at a time that was agreeable, and a routine that was fun and interactive. Providing Zumba fitness workout was the unanimous decision of the committee. The members started reaching out to their circle of friends who expressed an interest to start an exercise routine, but somehow, was not able to make it a reality despite the keen interest. The list of prospective trainees grew large and new names got added. Once the decision was made to host Zumba sessions at the Family Success Center, prospective instructors were interviewed. The decision to go with Ana R. as the instructor was an easy choice. Not only is our Zumba instructor from the community, but shares a critical trait with her trainees-she knows what it means to be unhealthy. She has a strong message for the group of women who are rallying around one another to get fit in the Zumba class and it is YOU CAN!”
Zumba classes are held every Monday and Wednesday at the Family Success Center between 10 am to 11 am. To promote healthy eating along with exercise water and protein-rich snack bars are served after each class.
The program is supported by funding from Atlantic Health System as part of the New Jersey Healthy Communities Network.
About the Grantee
PROCEED's mission is to provide and connect people to educational, health and human services; and enhance the capacity of individuals and organizations to offer quality programs and services to their communities locally in NJ, and throughout the United States and its territories.
Cohort: North 4
Funder: Atlantic Health System