Getting fit at Bridgeway
The residents at Picayune’s Bridgeway Apartments will soon learn new and fun ways to get fit, thanks to a grant from the Mississippi Council on Developmental Disabilities.
Bridgeway Apartments is a facility that provides an independent living option for intellectually and developmentally disabled adults. The complex is staffed 24-hours a day, seven days a week by trained personnel who provide supervised living and supported employment services.
Bridgeway Director Darryl Bruno told residents at Tuesday’s meeting that staff and administration are exploring avenues to ensure everyone stays healthy.
“Some of you may feel that exercise is boring,” Bruno said. “But we are looking at a different approach to getting healthier and staying fit in a fun and motivating way.”
Rick Green is a professor of therapeutic recreation at the University of Southern Mississippi and is responsible for writing the grant. He also serves on the board of directors for Bridgeway.
Grant said the first step in the new fitness program will be setting up an advisory group comprised of facility staff, parents, guardians and residents.
During the second phase, Green and his team will conduct a fitness assessment based on: Endurance, grip strength, flexibility and balance.
“Once we find out a resident’s fitness level,” Green said. “My team and I will teach each one how to perform the test and record the data.”
After the assessment, residents will meet with Green’s staff to compose an individualized fitness plan.
“We want to work one-on-one with each of the residents to discover the activities that they like to do to meet their health and fitness goals,” Green said.
Participation in the program is voluntary, Bruno said, but he wishes for all residents to be involved with this opportunity.
The grant totals $25,000 and will be split equally among three facilities, Green said.
Green said the Bridgeway program is one of the most progressive programs he has seen due to its strong staff and residents who are willing to try new things.
“We are looking at not only setting up a fitness program but also getting participants to stick with it,” Green said. “It’s all about finding out where the fitness deficits and combining fun activities that will fulfill a person���s fitness goals.”
Lucia Hinton is a Bridgeway resident and said she is excited about the new fitness program.
“Right now I ride my bike, but I want to get off of my blood pressure medicine and strengthen my bad knee,” Hinton said.
Bob McAdoo said he used to exercise a long time ago and is looking forward to the program. He currently walks and lifts weights.
Resident Wendy Erickson said she used to exercise until she fell off a treadmill and got hurt.
“I want to try other exercises that are better for me and won’t cause injury,” Erickson said. “I’m happy about this new program and I would like to see them install a bike path around here. I want to get slimmer and look like my regular self and learn how to control my weight.”