Brock exercise research centre sets sights on improving health and wellbeing of

LeaAnn Cayer (right) demonstrates how the Power Cord facilities accommodate a full range of exercises for individuals with spinal cord injury.The Brock-Niagara Centre for Health and Well-Being was officially introduced to the Niagara community on Oct. 22. at the centre grand opening.With more than 150 guests in attendance, the ribbon was cut by individuals that represent the bonds that bridge the development of academic and community innovations.“With an aging Niagara population, a healthy exercise program can not only enhance the quality of life, but also reduce medical complications for individuals,” says Debbie O’Leary, the centre’s director and professor of health sciences.“All of our members come to us with the goal of improving their overall health,” she says. “Our programs help them to actualize their health goals through exercise and lifestyle management skills.”The facility is one of Brock University’s new transdisciplinary centres and is dedicated to enhancing the quality of life for people across the lifespan, including older adults. Its primary focus is on individuals with an array of health conditions, chronic diseases and risk factors such as obesity and type II diabetes.“Having a facility dedicated to special populations allows members to feel comfortable coming to the exercise on a regular basis.” says Corey Burghall, who now works at the centre after graduating from the Kinesiology program in 2012.The centre currently offers four programs that provide a holistic approach to health and well-being. The programs include, Heart Strong, SeniorFit, Power Cord and Brock TEAM (Therapeutic Exercise for Amputees in Motion).These programs support individuals living with spinal cord injury, cardiovascular disease, multiple sclerosis or the loss of a limb, in a welcoming social environment along with other healthy Niagara seniors looking to stay fit.“Building relationships and working with members allows for me gain hand on experience and training,” says Casey Knegt, who is a fourth-year student in Kinesiology. “It is a very rewarding feeling when you take members through orientation and develop an exercise program that will fit their needs and make a positive impact on their life.”The community facility, which has been in operation for the past six months, is currently home to more than 300 participants and still growing.“The Power Cord program has helped me feel stronger, happier and more connected to the community,” says LeeAnn Cayer, who has been involved with the spinal cord injury program since its inception.“The student volunteers truly provide an open and comfortable place to exercise,” she says. “They bring important knowledge, but also an open mind that allows them to learn from participants and build healthy relationships – something you can’t get at other gyms.”Left to right: Carol Reid (SeniorFit member), Kim Gammage (director, SeniorFit), James Mandigo (Interim Dean, Faculty of Applied Health Sciences), Neil McCartney (Provost & VP Academic), Jim Bradley (MPP, St. Catharines), Brian McMullan (Mayor, St. Catharines), Jack Lightstone (President, Brock University), Debbie O’Leary (director, Brock-Niagara Centre for Health & Well-Being), John Suk (Board of Trustees Chair), Gary Libben (VP Research), David Ditor (director, Power Cord), and Dennis Hernandez (Power Cord member) read more