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CHISAGO CITY, Minn. — “You brighten my day!” shouts high-energy fitness guru Chris Freytag as she warms up the crowd at Ecumen Parmly LifePointes. “Let’s put a smile on and warm up our bodies. Only in Minnesota can you get this many people out in 40-degree weather.”
About 150 people — residents, families, staff and community members — gathered for the walk event last Friday, sponsored by Aegis Therapies and the International Council on Active Aging in celebration of Active Aging Week.
“Movement is so good for our bodies and minds,” Chris tells the participants. “And any movement counts. The best movement ever is a smile.”
Those in wheelchairs get encouragement to shake pom-poms and tap toes. “Kick those legs and move those toes,” she shouts as the song “New York, New York” booms on the loud speakers. “Shake it up top, and shake it down low.”
Meanwhile, a fifth-grade class moves up front — smiling, singing and shaking their pom-poms — as members of the jazz band jump up on stage with Chris to fire up the crowd.
Chris is a nationally-recognized fitness expert, speaker and author of several books. She shares her healthy living tips weekly on the Minneapolis NBC affiliate KARE 11 in a segment called Motivation Monday and has a fitness website GetHealthyU.com.
“Are you in?” she yells. “Are you with me? Isn’t it fun to move your body?”
When the crowd is sufficiently inspired, Chris releases them to walk the Parmly campus. After the walk, they returned to the area outside the Parmly LifePointes-Vitalize Center for several hours of live music, a farmers’ market, a wellness fair and food vendors.
“What a great day!” said Glenda Schmidt, Parmly Director of Admissions and Marketing, who was the lead organizer. “I’m so happy with how well everything turned out.”
Aegis Therapies, one of the largest contract rehabilitation companies in the country, provides rehabilitation services at Parmly. WALK! with Aegis Therapies 2015 was presented by the EnerG™ by Aegis wellness program and the International Council on Active Aging® (ICAA). To see more about Aegis events, go to www.aegistherapies.com.