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Lifestyle choices can be risky business

November, 2010

Gabriel Shears had a heart attack when he was 55 years old. Thirty-one years later, the spry 86-year old, who is also a colon cancer survivor, is still attending the cardiac reconditioning program at the YM-YWHA.

“I used to be a smoker,” says Shears, who comes to the YM-YWHA four days a week to exercise under the supervision of the program staff.

“I quit a week before my heart attack!”

Gabriel Shears with Len Ockendahl of the YM-YWHA cardiac reconditioning program Photo:YM-YWHA

Starting to exercise after a sedentary lifestyle was not easy, Shears says, but being in a group motivated him.

“When I was told I had to jog, I felt sorry for myself. I hadn’t exercised since I was 18. Now, if I miss a day or two here, I feel guilty.”

Shears says the program also helped him recover faster from his cancer. The therapeutic exercise program is designed for adults at risk of developing illnesses such as heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure and cancer, or who are undergoing treatment for these and other chronic conditions.

“Our program combines exercise with specific lifestyle recommendations, and how to integrate them into your daily life,” explains Josée Baillargeon, one of its directors, who is also a nurse. “Our staff include a nurse, a registered dietician and highly qualified personal trainers to provide safe, graduated, and individualized therapeutic exercises.”



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