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Feb. 5, 2002
: Writer/editor Kevin M. Sanders, (740) 593-0896

Seminar to discuss benefits of water exercise for older adults

ATHENS, Ohio -- The winter series of OU-COM's Geriatric Education Brown Bag seminars concludes Feb. 18 as Beth Vanderveer, Ph.D., presents "Older Adults and Water Exercise."

Vanderveer, an Ohio University associate professor of recreation and sport sciences, will explore various exercise programs and options for older adults. The seminar will be held from noon to 1 p.m. at O'Bleness Memorial Hospital, Room B-9.

Water exercise is beneficial to older adults because movement in water puts less stress on the body, Vanderveer says. For example, when neck deep in water, the body only bears eight percent of its weight. "In water, there is less force involved, less of a risk of injury," she says. "It's a huge cushion."

Immersion in water also benefits older adults with chronic conditions such as osteoarthritis. Water resistance helps strengthen muscles and improve balance, with little risk of falling. "Older adults are more apt to participate if they know the benefits," Vanderveer says.

Health-care professionals are invited to attend the seminar, and brown bags are welcome. For more information, call the Geriatric Education Center at (740) 593-2258.

"The seminars are designed for an interdisciplinary audience," says Ellen Peterson, OU-COM geriatric education coordinator. "Health professionals from the community regularly attend, in addition to interns, residents and medical students. The diversity of disciplines represented by the participants makes for an interesting exchange of ideas."

Sponsors of the seminar series include the Department of Geriatric Medicine/Gerontology, the Western Reserve Geriatric Education Center and Area Health Education Center, and OU-COM.

The seminar series began with a federal grant that established OU-COM as a contributing site to the Western Reserve Geriatric Education Center in September 1994 and has supported many continuing education programs. Provided by the Department of Health and Human Services, the grant supports educational programs in geriatrics and gerontology for physicians, nurses, social workers, counselors and health-care providers to 22 Southeastern Ohio counties.

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