Tuesday, March 15, 2016

PALS For Life Changes Lives

The PALS For Life fall 2015 program at the Upper Valley Aquatic Center is coming to a close and I wanted to personally thank you for your generous support of this very worthwhile program. It has impacted my life as a cancer survivor in a very meaningful way.

I am blessed to be the wife of a loving husband, the mother of two and he grandmother of four adorable grandchildren. And for over thirty years I experienced the joy of being an elementary school teacher.

Cancer first entered my life twenty-four years ago, then again eight years ago, and most recently this past spring. Through out my journey with cancer, I have felt loved and supported by family and friends. In fact, it was one of those dear people who brought the PALS program to my attention and I am very grateful she did. It makes a difference in the lives of those who are fortunate enough to participate.

The twelve-week fall session has enhanced the lives of six dynamic women. It changed our lives not only physically, but mentally and emotionally as well. Physically we are all stronger and more confident in what our bodies are capable of doing. Mentally we better understand the importance of exercise and the role it plays in maintenance our health. Emotionally we have created a common bond of caring, support and friendship that will nurture us beyond the boundaries of this program. We are all moving forward!

The program you have helped fund has accomplished a great deal, but none of that would have happened without the guidance and dedication of our instructor, Erin Buck. Erin is the seventh member of our team. She is a dynamic young woman whose dedication to the program and its participants was obvious from the start. Her knowledge of current research and trends guide her practice and allows her to modify the program to meet our individual needs. Her positive attitude and warmth created the environment that allowed us to trust and try new things. She gently moved us forward to meet our goals. She went above and beyond to create a program that worked for everybody! She sincerely cared about us and we knew it!

I hope this letter has given you some insight into the program you have helped to create, the people who direct it, and those who benefit the most from it.

Sandy Acker - Norwich, VT

Thursday, January 28, 2016

The Power of NeuroKinetic Therapy®

NeuroKinetic Therapy (NKT) is the process of finding the root cause of muscle dysfunction or pain, and retraining the brain to recruit the muscles in the correct pattern.  We develop dysfunctional movement patterns for various reasons: repetitive stress, an acute injury, poor posture, lifestyle choices, and a host of other reasons.  NKT allows us to pinpoint the exact muscles that are not being recruited by the brain and through self-muscle release techniques and gentle strengthening exercises, gets the muscles to be recruited properly again.  

We started working with a 21 year old college football player who had been dealing with years of chronic low back pain, several hamstring tears, and has had to sit out last season because of a severe grade 2 hamstring tear that was diagnosed through an MRI.  The client also complained about his calves burning intensely during church when he had to stand still.  After working with him for over a month, we were able to make his back pain go away, take the strain off his hamstrings and calves, and help get him back to school to play football.  

We noticed during the first meeting that he had an excessive forward lean which was putting a lot of stress on his calves and hamstrings.   While doing the NKT Assessment, we found that his jaw was compensating for his right glute and his neck extensors were compensating for his lumbar erectors.  This caused his lumbar spine to become compressed and painful.   Once we were able to get his glute and lumbar erectors functioning properly, his back pain reduced to almost zero and the stress on his calves was relieved.  

Shown below are the before and after pictures showing the excessive forward lean on the left and on the right the forward lean is almost gone.  We also had him work on flexibility as his calves, quads, and thoracic spine was very tight.  Another thing that complimented his healing was changing from flat bench press to dumbbell bench press on a stability ball.  This change eliminated the severe force being placed on the lumbar spine during heavy bench pressing on a flat bench and replaced it with core stabilization by doing the dumbbell bench presses on the stability ball.

If you are interested in seeing what NKT can do for your chronic pain, contact one of our NKT practitioners: John Grainger, KatherineMacPherson, or Garret Wilson.  We will also be holding a lecture on NKT on March 8 at 6:30 PM at UVAC. Find out more.

The vertical center line in the pictures should be going right through his ear.  As you can see in the left (before) picture, he is leaning 4 inches forward, and in the right (after) picture he is leaning less than an inch forward.  In each picture he felt like he was standing up straight.  I would expect him to continue to improve his posture through his dedicated work on his NKT homework.

By John Grainger MS, CSCS, NKT-Level 1
Upper Valley Aquatic Center
Fitness and Personal Training Director

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

The Art of Surviving a Vermont Winter

We finally seem to be sinking into the winter weather that some of us had been waiting for and some of us had been dreading.  Winter in Vermont isn’t the easiest season, with driveways flooded with snow, below zero temperatures, short days… but it’s also one of the best seasons we have to offer.   Just ask the tourists who come here for skiing and snowboarding!

We live in a dark section of the country during these winter months.  Maybe it doesn’t happen to you, but many people get that doldrums feeling during the gloomy months with symptoms including irritability, apathy and fatigue among others.  The most common belief is that this is caused by the short days and colder weather.  But don’t worry, there is a solution on the horizon!  I have a feeling you already know what it is…
Get Outside!

 If you’re anything like me, you may love having the snow around, but going outside and doing anything in the cold? It’s going to take some convincing, plus a promise of hot chocolate when you let me come back inside.  But there is something to be said for going outside during the winter.
                         Get More Exercise!           

Two of the most effective cures for the winter blues is getting more sunlight and exercise.  Like I said, the lack of sunlight and the cold can be demoralizing but getting outside kills two birds with one stone!  If you read my blog in October, you know that I’m a fan of exercising outside of the gym, especially in the winter. 

The first step is finding your activity.  My personal favorite is downhill skiing because I can pretend that I’m flying but that’s not for everyone.  If you’re a runner, maybe try cross country skiing or snowshoeing.  If you’re a graceful or coordinated person, try ice skating or outdoor hockey.  Make it a family activity by going sledding or building a snowman, appropriate for all ages (and it’s a great way to wear your kids out). 

By reveling in the outdoors, we get our blood moving which helps with the negative symptoms.  Just enjoying the sun by taking a walk or finding a cozy snowbank to hang out on and feeling the rays on your face can help lift up your mood.   So please get outside this winter, bundle up and journey out into the cold to see what adventures you can have!

By Alyssa Bingham
Communications Intern, UVAC

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

UVAC'S Hannah Cox ROCKS 2015 Junior Nationals!

“Bear Down” is the Arizona Moto, Wild Cat is their mascot. Hannah’s making the Wild Cat symbol for University of Arizona, holding her gold medal for the 500 Free record breaker
2015 Winter Junior National Championship Results – Atlanta, Georgia Dec. 10-12

Results by event:  Previous Best Time    New Time             National Record                New England Record
Hannah Cox (17) Hartland, VT
12/10 500 Free     4:42.32                         **4:37.82             4:38.89 (2008)                    4:40.42 (2008)
                                                                                                      Amber McDermott           Elizabeth Beisel
12/11 200 Free     1:47.03                           *1:44.67              1:46.05 (2008)
                                                                                                       Elizabeth Beisel
12/12 100 Free 11th    50.17                       49.92
Hannah scored 46 points placing the team 19th overall on the Women’s side at the Junior Championship.
**denotes Junior National and New England Swimming Record
*denotes New England Record

Kristian Hansen (16) Hanover, NH
12/10 500 Free      48th/74 4:35.42           4:34.01
12/12 1650fr 32nd/44     16:22.63             15:56.18

“I am extremely proud of the accomplishments by both UVAC swimmers this weekend.  Hannah exceeded our goals for this meet by both breaking the New England records and placing first with outstanding time drops to break the 500 freestyle Junior National Record from 2008.  It is no small feat to break Olympic medalist Elizabeth Beisel’s New England records, a goal we set out to do four years ago in Hannah’s last yard meet as a senior at the National level,” says Head Coach and Competitive Aquatics Director, Dorsi Raynolds. 
“Kristian accomplished qualifying for the meet in the 500 the week before at UVAC and our mission with him was to gain valuable experience to propel him into understanding the next level to work towards. 
Both swimmers have 100% attendance (16 hours a week) at UVAC practices and it is their work ethic and great attitudes that have them on the path to seizing their potential in this grueling sport, “says Coach Dorsi Raynolds. 
Next up for the UVAC Club is the New England Senior Championship at WPI in Worcester, Ma, Dec. 18-20.  The local club has 11 individual qualifiers for this year’s meet.  Last year the team had 3.  The total squad will add 6 relay only swimmers to bring 17 athletes to the 2015 Championship.  UVAC will field 14 relays to represent both the girls and the boys at the meet for UVAC, unprecedented for the UVAC team.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

30 Years As Swim Meet Director, Thank You Mary Gentry!

You often don't recognize how long you have been doing something if you enjoy doing it.  That's Mary Gentry’s story regarding 30 years of directing swim meets in the Upper Valley.  These days she is the Meet Director for just about every swim meet that happens locally, but it didn't start that way. 

Gentry’s first year in the Upper Valley, she was swimming with the masters group at Dartmouth and the coach asked if she would be willing to help coach the swim team.  He talked her into coaching the eight and under kids three nights a week.  She enjoyed it but confirmed she was not meant for coaching. The next December when it was Winter Classic time, the team parent running the meet asked if Gentry could help do some data entry during one of the sessions.  

One session became most sessions, became "Can you learn this new meet software and manage all the results processing during the weekend?" to becoming the Meet Director sometime in the early 90s.  Gentry has been doing the full routine ever since.  She’s run meets at Dartmouth, CCBA, Colby-Sawyer, Claremont Community Center, and of course UVAC. Technology has improved, processes are more formal, swimmers are a LOT faster, but the joy kids (and adults) show when they improve their times is the same as ever.  

While Gentry has had to take on more responsibilities (fancier meets, more meets, more requirements), she loves running meets at UVAC, “I love that I have a home for all my meet stuff.  No more unloading of primary and backup computer and printer and the meet supply box, and all the paperwork.  I also love that we can have 300 swimmers on the competition pool deck and there are still local families taking swim lessons or playing in the Splash Park.”  

Gentry is sympathetic to UVAC members, “Swim meets can be a hassle. The parking lot is full, the competition pool is closed for many hours.  But for the Vermont, New Hampshire, and greater New England competitive swimming communities, they greatly treasure UVAC and all who are involved.  They feel UVAC is the place to go for swim meets.  They appreciate the way their swimmers and parents are treated, the opportunities provided, and the fast times achieved.  Teams will keep coming and spending money not only at UVAC but in the Upper Valley, as well.”

When asked how long this generous service she gives can last, Gentry says,
“I'm willing to continue in my role.  Some day I'll give it up, I'll retire and move away. I'm not sure when that day will come.  But I know it will be more important to give lengthy notice to UVAC and the swimming community than to my boss at work (okay - she would love lengthy notice as well but I'm more replaceable there).  I'm just not very good at giving up control of something I enjoy.”

Thank you Mary Gentry for your 30 years of volunteer service as Meet Director here at UVAC and in the larger Upper Valley community. We are very lucky to have you!

Monday, November 23, 2015

I Am a Nicole Roberts Groupie! Here's Why...

UVAC is home of the Fancy Pants Revolution, brought to you by Nicole Roberts and her followers
Whenever Nicole teaches a class, I try it out. I met Nicole, a dynamic, inspirational instructor at the Upper Valley Aquatic Center in December 2014 and she has changed my life in a very positive way. At 62 years old, I feel stronger and healthier than ever and I owe this to Nicole. She is the grand motivator who makes class fun with a larger than life personality. She does all of the exercises with you and has a big smile on her face when she pushes you to your limits. She is true superwoman and a great role model with the physical activity she does on a daily basis. I am in awe of what she can do.

I take the Total Body Conditioning Class three times a week and I look forward to it on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. It is so popular that the participants get there 15 minutes before to set up their equipment so they can get a spot in the fitness room. We are getting so much stronger that more heavier weights have been ordered.  Nicole listens to us and adapts her music and routine to our needs. Did I mention Fancy Pants Friday where we wear our colorful pants to class? This started with Nicole making the class more fun and introducing the idea. Most of the people in the class know each other because of arriving early for class. I have made many new friends by attending this class.  It feels like a big family supporting and caring about each other. Nicole started a Core and Stretch class that I attend and really enjoy it. It compliments the Total Body Conditioning Class.

Since I have gotten stronger, I finally accomplished something on my bucket list for years. I ran a 5K with my daughter the end of August and finished it three minutes under my goal! I also can pick up my four grandchildren easily now.

I highly recommend any class that Nicole leads! Yes, I am an admirer, her number one fan and am very thankful to her for she what she has done for me.

Deborah Carney

See a full list of classes at Upper Valley Aquatic Center