Collabria Care celebrated the longest day of the year with NuStep, in an event to raise awareness of Alzheimer’s disease called The Longest Day, on June 20, 2016.

The event began with a candle light greeting of the new day at 5:30 am. Then Collabria staff, volunteers, and Day Program participants rode the NuStep recumbent cross trainers from sunup to sundown, demonstrating their understanding of the importance of aerobic exercise in maintaining brain health.

NuStep provided curriculum for facilities serving seniors to utilize, and Collabria Care was one of the only organizations in the nation to implement the curriculum in its entirety. “We are grateful to Collabria Care for joining our NuStepping to End Alzheimer’s initiative and helping to raise funds and awareness for The Longest Day,” says NuStep VP of Sales and Marketing Steve Sarns. “Given the work they do each day at Collabria Care, and the incredible support they provide to those with cognitive decline and their caregivers, their participation in The Longest Day is especially meaningful.”

The day was filled with exercise for the whole person: body, mind, and soul. Physical activities included aerobic workouts on the NuStep cross trainers in diverting ways – sometimes periods were set to Broadway show tunes; other times were dedicated to utilizing visualization techniques to exercise as if mashing potatoes, beating eggs or stomping grapes; still other periods encouraged participants to practice mindfulness during exercise to really feel the difference between slow and fast movements. To provide mental stimulation, the NuStep curriculum also included fun and entertaining recall challenges, such as playing word games. “There was a real focus on short-term memory stimulation, and there were many activities in that arena that were new to us,” said Program Coordinator Veronna Ladd. “We’re excited to be able to implement them now as part of our regular cognitive workout offerings.” Social stimulation was provided through the group dynamic, and participants appreciated the feeling of being on a team. Inspirational quotes provided opportunity for creative writing and storytelling. Many of these pieces were shared with the group, which bolstered the collective spirit and level of camaraderie.

Late last year, Collabria Care was named the 2016 NuStep Pinnacle Award Gold Winner, a title which recognizes organizations that are advancing older adult wellness, and rewards them with a brand new NuStep recumbent cross trainer. “Our NuStep machines are always in high demand,” says Collabria Day Program Director, Celine Regalia. “Each year, a third of Americans over age 65 trip and fall – sometimes with serious health consequences. Our NuStep trainers help tone muscles and train balance, and that can help maintain or reduce a user’s risk of falling.”

Alzheimer’s disease is of growing concern to the aging Baby Boomer population. Exercising, healthy eating, maintaining a vigorous social life, and engaging in cognitively challenging activities are the factors experts believe to be necessary in maintaining brain health. The Collabria Day Program continues to offer such opportunities to all participants every day, as on The Longest Day.