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Heart assoc. promotes healthy lifestyle through virtual cooking classes, workouts

It may be all hands on deck to deal with COVID-19 but it doesn’t mean other health problems are going away.

Dr. Brian Taschner, a cardiologist with Vibrant Beat, says our risk factors for heart disease continues to grow.

He says, “One of the things in Lee County, we may have more underserved patients who are not getting appropriate medical care.”

So to help the county thrive, the American Heart Association started a free life-style change program here in Southwest Florida.

Kelly Glewa, executive director of the SWFL American Heart Association explained, “…The goal was to take 300 people over the course of 2 years, give them 6 weeks of heart-healthy cooking classes, 3-month gym memberships, and then grocery store tours to learn how to grocery shop healthy and make those lifestyle changes.” But now COVID-19 has created complications.

Glewa says, just like the rest of us, the Healthy for ‘Good Lifestyle Change Challenge’ has had to adapt, even with added benefits.

“Before, it was a group, so it was group cooking, exercise on your own. However, I think people might be more inclined to join the program if they’re getting that one-on-one time. They’re doing everything in their homes, so it’s very private. So if somebody was a little shy about venturing out, now it’s in their home.”

There are hopes the program can help even more people.

“We’re hoping to not only instill lifestyle changes in the participant but in the entire family,” Glewa added.

The program is actively recruiting new participants now.

For more information, contact Dyan Van Wagner with the SWFL American Heart Association at [email protected] or by phone at (239)495-4913

Reporter:Veronica Marshall
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