In northern New Jersey, there are more than 5,500 people who have multiple sclerosis (MS) according to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. That’s why as a service to the community, the YMCA of Montclair is offering One Step At The YMCA in partnership with the National Multiple Sclerosis Society to help those with MS manage the disease.
The National Multiple Sclerosis Society says exercising is helpful in managing and calming many MS symptoms and minimizing the risk of certain complications. One Step is designed to help those with all four major types of MS — relapsing-remitting, secondary-progressive, primary-progressive and progressive-relapsing.
The inaugural cohort of One Step started in June and completes its first run in mid-September. It was launched thanks to a generous $7,500 grant from The Provident Bank Foundation.
“Donations such as this one from The Provident Bank Foundation help make life-changing experiences possible for those in our community,” says Tim Weidman, interim president and CEO of the YMCA of Montclair. “Their gift helps support the Y and enables us to provide this new addition to our chronic disease management programs, which also include LIVESTRONG for cancer survivors and a Diabetes Exercise Program.”
Regular participants in the 12-week One Step program showed increased flexibility, leg strength, arm strength and balance. Participants also say they feel good and look forward to class so they are around people dealing with the same physical, mental and emotional issues that accompany the disease.
“The physical challenges of MS are often unique to each individual,” says David Fucio, a Montclair resident and One Step participant. “The variety of exercises, physical movements and activities that our two instructors brought to the class were excellent. I personally feel physically better and I am motivated to incorporate many of the elements into my home exercise routines.”
“Over the last few weeks I have seen a positive change in my everyday activities,” says Fran D’Amore, a Bloomfield resident and One Step participant. “I feel the program has helped my energy, increased my endurance and strengthened my range of motion. I have also seen a slight impact in my balance and as I continue to follow the training and exercises the instructors have shared with us I only expect to increase my progress.”
“I have found One Step to be a beneficial addition to my arsenal of weapons to slow the progression of my condition,” says Carol Cathey, a Verona resident and One Step participant.
The program is facilitated by trained and certified leaders who are nationally certified and have experience working with special populations, knowledge of MS, and experience with one-on-one training.
“We offer a welcoming community where people with MS can improve strength and physical fitness, diminish the severity of their symptoms, develop supportive relationships and improve their quality of life,” says Washima Redding, senior health and wellness director for the YMCA of Montclair.
Classes include cardiovascular conditioning, strength training, balance and flexibility exercises and meet in a small supportive group environment two times per week for one hour. All first-time participants also receive a free 12-week YMCA membership.
The next One Step cohort begins September 26 and will meet on Tuesdays and Thursdays beginning at 6:30pm. For more information about One Step, or to register, please contact Lisy Espindola, the YMCA of Montclair’s Health & Wellness Director and Lead Program Instructor, at [email protected] or 973-415-6128 or Washima Redding, the YMCA of Montclair’s Senior Health & Wellness Director at [email protected] or 973-415-6111.