(from Headline Magazine Summer 2010)
People who have sustained brain injuries often find themselves in a routine that doesn’t incorporate much physical exertion. This can cause health to deteriorate and can complicate post-traumatic depression. After observing this among clients (and discovering for herself the amazing renewing and energizing powers a fitness routine can bring), Powell River Brain Injury Society Executive Director Deborah Dee has incorporated a physical fitness program at the Brain Injury Society.
Three days a week, Brain Injury Society members have been gathering to improve their physical fitness and overall well-being under the direction of personal trainer Lt. Zee Salehian. Lt. Salehian, British Royal Navy Special Boat Service Trained, provides a personalized fitness regimen for the participants, which is accessible and beneficial to all. His encouragement and humor have everyone active and enjoying the activity with low impact and resistance routines every Thursday morning. Two days a week members walk, which sounds far simpler than it is. Lt. Salehian likes to complicate the routine by compelling people to walk backwards, use stairs on the route, lunging and pushups on railings, fast and slow walking, and any number of other activities he can devise using the pedestrian walks through town.
One morning a week, a group of dedicated members gather in a room of the complex and are put through a challenging routine, usually involving resistance bands and repetition routines. The morning is filled with sweating, muttering, and laughter which all help to promote cognitive enhancement and encourage positive social interaction through activity and create a sense of community. Other effects of this physical exercise include increased stamina, strength and confidence, decreased blood pressure, increase in oxygen and a general increase in self worth for all participants. Zee also provides support for diet change and healthy living in general. For more information on Zee and his programs, visit fightingfitbc.com The walking portion of Dee’s physical fitness initiative has been in place since February 2010 and is made possible by a generous grant from Parks and Recreation BC. The weekly morning workout at the recreation complex has been in place since November 2009. So far clients have reported improved strength, stamina, and overall well-being. In addition, Brain Injury Society employees have observed a renewed sense of community and increased participation in many of the other initiatives of the Society.
There are many programs in place ranging from the fitness program to an art program, a peer support group and a psychosocial support group that incorporates workshops in memory improvement and pain management to name a few.
Funding is in place for the Walking Program until the middle of July and the Workout program is funded directly through The Powell River and District United Way and the BC Gaming Direct Access Program.
The future of both programs depends on fund-raising efforts of the Society and the generosity of the community. We would like to take this opportunity to thank all the generous donors, past, present and future.
Watch for information on our annual 55 Kilometer Marathon event! It takes place every second Saturday in June. This year, the date is June 12, 2010. Walk – Ride – Run – 101 – Marathon. Follow us on Facebook or visit our website www.braininjurysociety.ca.