May 4, 2018

As a Spotify playlist, which included Imagine Dragons, Brad Paisley and Justin Bieber, played overhead, a group of participants of the Wellness Program began their stretches in preparation for another workout session. Fitness coordinator Josh Laudig quietly observed as the four women went from one warm-up exercise to the next.

“This group recently moved up from beginner to intermediate,” Laudig said. “I’m really proud of our initial group in terms of how they’re implementing what they’ve learned into their daily lives.”

As the participants did their lunges from one side of the gym to the other, Laudig keenly checked for proper form and motion. At one point, he walked over to show one of his pupils to place her feet shoulder-width apart while doing a hip hinge.

Meeting twice a week for nearly two months, the members of this exercise group are seeing, and feeling, positive results.

“Most of the clients have seen a reduction in body fat and an increase in lean body mass since the start of the program,” said Laudig. “Many of them are seeing a drop in A1c as well as a sense of having more energy throughout the day.”

Kay Johnson joined the Wellness Program to get back in shape and to get her A1c level under control. One’s A1c level is determined by a blood test that provides information about average blood glucose levels over a three-month period. While each person might have their own target number, the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases says studies indicate some people with diabetes can reduce the risk of diabetes complications by keeping A1c levels below seven percent.

“The Wellness Program has made a big difference in my life,” said Johnson, 60. “I have more energy, my diabetes is under control and the best part is I can see the results.”

While pleased with how she looks and feels after exercise, Johnson said she hadn’t controlled her diabetes for quite some time before signing up for the Wellness Program.

“It had been about five years since I last exercised before I started with the program,” said Johnson. “I want to control my diabetes with diet and exercise. No medication.”

Those results are inspiring her friends to exercise, said Johnson. “They’re joining me while I’m doing the ‘homework’ Josh sends with me after class.”

The “homework” consists of a personalized workout routine Laudig devises for class participants.

“The at-home workouts are meant to keep clients accountable over the weekend and to help with adhering to the exercise program,” said Laudig. “I also challenge our clients to get 60 minutes of cardiovascular training over the weekend.”

As this group finishes its eight-week regimen, more groups of participants are beginning their first steps into physical fitness. Whether beginning, restarting or continuing the routine of daily exercise, Laudig says his program is ready to help anyone who wants to get serious about controlling his or her diabetes.

“If I can finish each day knowing the Wellness Program helps even one person, I’ll feel good knowing it’s making a difference in someone’s life,” said Laudig.

For more information on the Wellness Program, call 361.561.8641. You can also visit cbhec.tamhsc.edu/videos to see instructional videos on goal setting, guidelines for training methods, as well as exercise selection and order.

-Les Cockrell