SMART LINK is your Gentle Exercise Facilitator information connection, brought to you by Community Support Connections

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  Community Support Connections - Waterloo Region News       
From Ashlynne Boven

We welcome Kinesiologists Sarah M and Christina D to our Exercise and Falls Prevention team! They are currently immersing themselves in all thing Falls Prevention and SMART exercise classes. We are so glad to have you on board!
Current Kins Leigh and Sarah C prepare for their upcoming maternity leaves. Leigh will be leaving us at the end of May already - we wish her all the best in her new chapter of motherhood!


Last year on May 4, 2020 was the first day that we opened our Virtual Zoom doors to Online SMART exercise classes - and what a year it has been! We've grown from just 5 Exercise Classes per week at the beginning, to now having 13 Exercise Classes and 2 Falls Prevention Sessions per week! We've seen great increases in class sizes - going from just 92 clients after our first month, and at the end of April this year, we have signed up over 420 clients for our virtual programs! 
We would not have grown so much without our committed clients coming to classes each day!
And we would not be here without our dedicated staff instructors teaching classes everyday - also so many hours of phone calling, checking in with clients and inviting them to attend!


We are continuing with our live Virtual SMART exercise classes on Zoom; schedule is as follows:
- Monday - Friday 9am - moderate/high intensity class
- Monday - Friday 1030am - moderate/low intensity class (seated class option available)
- Monday/Wednesday/Friday 1pm - moderate/various intensities

There will be NO Virtual SMART exercise classes on the following upcoming holidays:
Victoria Day - Monday, May 24, 2021
Canada Day - Thursday, July 1, 2021
Civic Holiday - Monday, August 2, 2021

If you know of someone that is interested in joining us, please send them either of the following links to get started with one of our Kinesiologists! 

Kin Sarah:
Kin Christina:


It is May! That means it is time to trade our snow shovels for garden trowels, road salt for fertilizer, and winter boots for our lovely gardening shoes. With May 24th weekend coming up a lot of us are starting to think about putting our green thumbs to work. After a long, isolating winter, it is even more important to prepare your body for the high demands of gardening with a wonderful warm-up!
Gardening is fantastic for you physical, mental and emotional health, but if you don’t take care of your body before spending time crouching, bending and pulling weeds, your body may pay the price later on. A proper warm-up helps to minimize muscle imbalances, prevent injury, and improve your ability to garden for longer periods.
HERE is an example of a gardening warm-up, which we have put together for our amazing garden volunteers. Please feel free to repeat the stretches after your gardening mission is complete.

While gardening is largely a safe activity, there are still some concerns to watch out for. Just like an athlete, warm up with some stretches and exercises before working your muscles. Wear gloves, hats, sunglasses, sunblock, and a mask to protect your hands, skin, eyes, and/or lungs if you have underlying conditions. Avoid repetitive motions, check your body and clothes for ticks – and don’t forget to stay hydrated!
Wishing you all the best during this growing season!

Celebrating our success!
Feedback from our virtual class participants:

The classes and instructors are wonderful! I really enjoys the classes so much and I find these classes more beneficial than the other ones that I have been participating in. My balance is better and I am able to walk up the stairs instead of crawling up them. The classes "loosen me up" which is very helpful. I really appreciate all that you do!

I would like to thank you all for organizing these Online SMART classes for us. I find it extremely beneficial for both my physical and mental health. I appreciate with gratitude all of the instructors!

My balance has really improved since I started your classes. Today I am 82 and feel very mobile. I started your courses with a cane nearby. Thanks so much for these classes! 

I cannot overemphasize the salutary effects of these exercise/activities. The pre-chat, the riddles, and the sharing of ideas - what a welcome relief (from the boredom of the pandemic) for those of us who live alone. Great opportunity to e-socialize! Sincere thanks to you and your great team for attending to our physical needs as well as our mental health!

The class was excellent today! Great music and I really enjoyed the workout. I get a lot out of these classes.

The exercise classes have definitely helped both me and my husband. I have noticed a big difference going up and down the stairs in our home. I used to have to take them one at a time but now I can go up and down them normally with no problem. We both have a lot of fun in the classes!

- Walking Speed - Is It a New Vital Sign? Click HERE to complete a lesson to learn about walking speed and what it means for your mobility and overall health - from the McMaster Optimal Aging Portal.

- Click HERE to Discover Six Ways You Can Promote Brain Health and Reduce Your Risk of Developing Dementia from the McMaster Optimal Aging Portal.

Send us articles or readings of interest if you'd like to share them!

Click on the links HERE for video demonstrations of all of our SMART Gentle Exercise components.
See these video links of our standing and seated options for our SMART Routine.

If there are questions regarding safety of SMART exercises, exercise ideas, etc., from CSC contact Registered Kinesiologists Leigh Bouchard (, Sarah Cotton (, Sarah Mitchell-Ewart (, or Christina Dillon ( 

VON Client Success stories:
Here are what some clients from Wellington County and Guelph are saying about our classes: 

It’s nice to have some time every week to do exercise in a group and for 45 mins straight.

I certainly plan to keep doing VON exercises. It makes a difference to how I feel and I know I would have been limited in my movements if I had not been doing the exercises.

The exercise program has kept me in better shape, better prepared to prevent falls, and given good information.

Huge benefit keeping fit. Flexibility has improved, which helps with self-care.

I hope that Zoom classes continue after pandemic issues are resolved. I feel safer exercising at home & it is more convenient.

During Covid I would not be exercising as regularly without the VON!

Please keep this program. It helps me. I am more fit and more sane.

With gyms shut down I have been able to continue having  exercise class on zoom

My husband and I exercise far more and better than we would otherwise

This program has kept me involved and makes my muscles strong. It makes me feel great!

I am aware how much time the exercise leaders put into their classes which keeps them interesting, challenging and fun.

I need and appreciate having a safe physical activity to maintain my health and wellness for my age.

This exercise program helps me to stay fit, flexible and strong.


During this pandemic over the past year, our three Amazing Volunteers Harm 85, Molly 87, and David 97 have continued to teach up to 20 classes per month for their peers at Guelph Lake Commons the retirement home in which they reside. Combined they have taught 242 classes totaling in 2, 523 visits!

VON Guelph Wellington News:  
From Kelly Gee

VON Wellington County SMART Successes during the Pandemic: 

VON Wellington County introduced SMART Zoom Classes
378 different clients have participated in our 906 Zoom Exercise Classes Totaling 12, 850 Visits to a Zoom Exercise Class
Trained SMART Volunteers and Recreation Staff had 124 different clients participate in classes at their retirement homes and day programs totaling 6, 058 visits to a live class.

VON Kinesiologist Rachel Hammond had 37 different people attend her 24 falls prevention sessions totaling 199 visits to a falls prevention education session.

VON SMART Program Staff called 697 different SMART participants each month to check in with them and ask how many times they had participated in an exercise class with VON on their own via Wightman Television, Facebook, YouTube or completed the in-home exercise program over the course of the month.   The total calls made from April 2020 – March 2021 was 7, 185 and clients reported that they had participated in 19, 973 exercise classes.

Join us for real time classes Via Zoom Monday through Friday!
Classes Monday: 

Tosh – 9:30 Moderate/High
Kerri 10:00
Tanya 11:00 – Moderate / High
Laurel 1:30 – High 
Kelly G – 3:00 – Seated Low

Classes Tuesday: 
Bridget 9am – Moderate/High 
Bridget 10:15 – Low 
Brita 10:30 – Moderate 
Michele 2:30 – High 

Classes Wednesday: 
Laurel 9:00 am HighKerri 10:00 Moderate
Tanya 11:00 – Moderate / High
Rachel 2:30 – Low/Seated 

Classes Thursday:
Laurel 9:15 
Brita 10:30
Tosh 11:30

Classes Friday:
Bridget 9am – Moderate
Laurel 10 - High
Bridget 10:15 – Low 
Tanya 11am – Moderate / High
Anthony 2:30 – Moderate / High 

If you would like to join us for any of these classes please email: or Call 519-314-0264

SMART Exercise Class on YouTube - 28, 682 Views
Click HERE to access the New Exercise Classes on YouTube, found at VON SMART Exercise Wellington County as seen below

Click HERE to view the exercise classes below on YouTube:

Think Ahead About Safety for Exercising Outside
We love to encourage outside activity and exercise and we also want to make sure we educate you on how to safely exercise outside. Last week we talked about stretching and warming up before and after exercise; doing this helps to ensure your safety and prevent injuries.
We also want to provide you with some other safety precautions to consider when you do choose to exercise outside.

Being prepared for WEATHER
  • Begin by always checking the weather ahead of time to know what to expect and what type of clothing to wear. 
  • Remember that good sun protection is a must in all seasons, not just summer. Sunburns can happen year-round, but it is the springtime sunburn that can often be a bit sneaky. With a brisk breeze still in the air, most of us don’t tend to think about sun protection as much during spring as we do in summer, but the reality is that UV radiation is present regardless of temperature.
  •  A sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher is recommended by dermatologists and to be reapplied generally every 2 hours after being in the sun. Apply your sunscreen 10-15 minutes before going out in the sun.
  • A wide brim hat and sunglasses are also recommended to protect the face and eyes (10% of cataract cases are due to UV exposure).
  • Hyperthermia can occur any time of year, but people may be especially prone to hyperthermia in the spring when temperatures can fluctuate drastically from day-to-day and from night-to-night
  • Dress in layers if it is a chill morning and you plan on being out all day. You can peel off layers as it warms up.
  • Light colored, loose fitting clothing in natural fabrics. So that you may add and take off or put back on layers if needed. 
  • Choose appropriate shoes for the activity you are doing, for example for hiking- be sure you are wearing good supportive soles with some ankle support. 
  • Remember that it could be time to replace your running/walking shoes Experts suggest if your exercise routine consists of walking 30 minutes a day, or an average of 3 to 4 hours a week, consider replacing your shoes every six months.
  • When leaving your house for exercise/activities you should take your ID as well as a list of your medications and your emergency contacts
  • A full water bottle is a must!
  • Note: A small fanny pack or waist pack is great to carry these small things with you.
  • Also carry a charged cell phone with you in case you get lost or there are any emergencies.
  • Check your medications and supplements in case they’ll worsen your sun sensitivity. Certain drugs or supplements can make you more sensitive to outdoor conditions, so consult your doctor or pharmacist. Caffeine and alcohol also increase water loss. Some antibiotics or antidepressants, including tetracycline and the herb Saint John’s Wort, can make your skin more sensitive to sunlight even if you’re wearing sunscreen. It is a good time to do your annual medication review with your pharmacist!
  • Always let someone know where you are going and when you plan on being back - quick text message or phone call to someone.
  • Don’t forget a warm-up!
  • Drink plenty of water, especially if the weather is humid, you will be sweating more.
  • Remember that heat stress is cumulative. You’re more likely to suffer from heat-related problems if you exercised in hot weather yesterday, even if today is relatively mild.
  • Know the signs of heat related illness and get medical help right away if you think someone is ill.
  Heat Exhaustion Heat Stroke
  • Moist
  • Warm
  • Dry
  • Hot
  • Headache
  • Weakness, exhaustion
  • Nausea, vomiting
  • Fainting
  • Seizures
  • Coma
  • Severe headache
  • Anxiety
  • Dizziness
  • Altered behaviour irritable, aggressive, bizarre
  • Normal
  • Rapid
  • Shallow
  • Get used to outdoor activities gradually, and you’ll have the whole summer to play outside.
  •  If you are walking or biking in busy traffic areas you should wear brightly colored clothing.  For evening walking/biking, make sure your clothing also has some reflectors on it for safety.
  • Always walk facing oncoming traffic.
  • Put lights on the front and back of your bike for biking at night.
  • Follow the rules of the road, pedestrians on sidewalks and bikes in the bike lanes.
  • If you choose to wear headphones, make sure they are not too loud that you cannot hear bike bells, car horns or people trying to communicate to you.
  • Walk in places that have somewhere  to sit in case you need to rest
  • Cross at crosswalks or intersections. Jaywalking increases your risk of a serious accident. Pay attention to the traffic signals. Cross only when you have the pedestrian crossing signal.
  • Never assume a driver sees you crossing the street. Try to make eye contact with drivers as they approach. Before you start to cross a street, make sure you have plenty of time to get across. Rushing increases your risk of falling.
Look across ALL lanes you must cross and make sure each lane is clear before proceeding. Just because one driver stops, don’t presume drivers in other lanes will stop for you.
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All rights reserved.

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61 Woolwich Street N
Breslau, Ontario
N0B 1M0
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Community Support Connections - Meals on Wheels and More · 61 Woolwich St. N. · P.O. Box 29 · Breslau, Ontario, ON N0B 1M0 · Canada

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