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

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You are receiving SMART LINK, your connection to important exercise information. SMART LINK is a monthly newsletter to keep you in the loop and to be a resource for up to date information and success story-sharing! If you have any questions, please email Jenn or unsubscribe if you no longer wish to receive it to your inbox.
  CSC Waterloo Region News       
From Jenn McDonald

Since the beginning of May, we have had an average of 30-60 participants join our virtual classes each day. Due to increasing demand, on June 15th we began to offer two virtual classes per day, Monday through Friday, with clients now having the ability to choose their desired length of class and intensity level. At 9:15am is a 1-hour moderate-high intensity class, and at 10:45am is a 45-minute, lower intensity class with more seated exercises. Using Zoom, we are able to break participants into smaller group sizes, each with their own Gentle Exercise Facilitator and Exercise Team co-host, thus keeping our class sizes smaller and easier to monitor.

Throughout this process, we have been pleasantly surprised at the outreach we have had, overcoming some of the barriers to joining classes we have traditionally experienced:

- More spouses of participants are joining in with classes. One participant’s spouse said he would never join her in-person classes as there are far fewer men who go to class, but being at home there is simply no excuse now!

- Participants are joining more often. Having the convenience of being able to join from home, participants attend more often during the week (2-4 classes) than they would have if travelling to classes in-person (1-2 classes).

- Clients who face transportation barriers can now participate. For example, one family joins us as often as possible (2-3 times a week), with the help of their son (who also joins in)! Both husband and wife are coping with a variety of chronic conditions, and have personal support staff from the community coming into their home at various times. Generally, this would prevent them from scheduling transport to SMART™ community classes regularly.

- Retirement home residents are still able to join. We have been missing our retirement home residents, knowing that they have been isolated as well. With the help of the various home staff, we have seen some residences join us virtually for both class options, as it suits their residents and staff availability.

June was Seniors Month - thanks to all of our participants who wore purple and gave us the thumbs up during our virtual classes! What a great turnout!

 Links to our in-home exercises shared from March and April 2020: 

In-home exercises (from March 19)
In-home exercises version 2 (from March 31)
Bingo challenge (from April 17)

Client Safety Tip of the Month:

Heat illnesses such as heat exhaustion and heat stroke, are mainly caused by over-exposure or over-exertion in the heat. If you experience symptoms such as dizziness or fainting, nausea or vomiting, headache, extreme thirst or decreased urination, immediately move to a cool place and drink liquids. Water is best. To beat the heat, avoid sun exposure and stay hydrated, dress for the weather, check in with friends, seek air-conditioned spaces, take cool showers, and avoid outdoor activities during the warmest part of the day between 11 a.m. -4 p.m. Heat stroke is a medical emergency. Call 911 if you are caring for someone who has a high body temperature and is either unconscious, confused or has stopped sweating. For more information and a list of cooling centres, call Waterloo Region Public Health 519-575-4400 or visit

Send us articles or readings of interest if you'd like to share them!
VON Client Success stories:
  • "Zoom Classes are great! Thank you for this opportunity to exercise in our homes! I really appreciate all that it takes to make this happen!"
  • "I am so pleased to have access to your YouTube videos! I can work out in my own home at a time that works for my schedule. Thank-you!"         
  • "Thanks for keeping me healthy during COVID with your Facebook, YouTube and Zoom exercise classes."

VON Guelph Wellington News:  

From Kelly Gee

VON News:

Exercise During Coronavirus: Tips for Staying Active
You may be finding it tougher to exercise while under lockdown or a stay-at-home order. But you can still find ways to make movement a part of your daily routine
With most of our daily movement restricted during the coronavirus pandemic, it can be difficult to keep up an exercise routine. If you enjoy fitness classes, you’re probably missing the camaraderie and the atmosphere of those classes. And even if you are getting some movement in, you might be feeling frustrated that you’re not at your usual level of activity. But now, more than ever, exercise is important. It can have a huge impact on anxiety you are feeling due to the coronavirus and help ease stress and depression.  In addition it can boost your immune system which help you fight the virus if you do ever come into contact with it.
Tips for getting the exercise you need during COVID-19

Get outside if you can
Check the latest guidelines on the specifics for Wellington County. Take a walk, or ride a bike outside if you can, just maintain a safe distance from others. Gardening and yard work are also good options. The fresh air and sunshine will benefit your mental health as well.
Make it a social activity
Including the people you’re quarantined with can make exercising more fun. Play an active game with your spouse, children or grandkids or turn on some music and dance together.
Track your workouts
Using fitness trackers, apps, or even just keeping a journal can help you stay accountable and motivated. Seeing your progress and your ability to keep active during this difficult time will give you a sense of accomplishment and an emotional boost to keep going.
“Sneak” movement into your routine
Even though we’re mostly housebound, you can still find ways to incorporate movement into your day. Try to think of physical activity as a lifestyle choice, rather than as a designated event. This may help sustain you in times like these, when your schedule has been upended.
  • Use your chores. Household tasks like scrubbing, sweeping, dusting, and vacuuming can all add up when done at a brisk pace. They also work the muscles in your arms and legs.
  • Exercise during commercial breaks. Many of us are watching more TV. Make the commercials and credits count by adding in some squats, side leg raises, heel raises, toe raise, wall push-ups, knee flexion and extension exercises.
  • Take advantage of pauses during the day. Take advantage of times when you’re waiting for something to finish or start.  You can do some sit to stands while waiting for that phone call or the dryer to finish.
  • Move around the house more. Walk around while you’re making calls. Take an extra lap or two around the house if you have to put something away. If you have stairs, go up and down them a few times throughout the day.
Take advantage of technology

The VON is offering a number of ways that one can participate in the SMART exercise Program through the use of technology:
One can access our Low Intensity, Moderate Intensity and High Intensity Exercise on YouTube: 

(This YouTube Link and a link to our Falls Prevention Education Series can be easy accessed from our homepage of our website)

Click here for the VON SMART exercise class schedule Monday through Friday

If you would like to join a live Zoom Class email Kelly Gee and she will send you the Zoom Link to access the live classes.

If you have no access to technology her are some exercises you can do at home:

Please note that not all exercises are appropriate for everyone. It is recommended that you discuss your participation in any exercise program with your family physician before you start exercising.


Check out our VON SMART Exercise Website and Facebook Page for updates as to when our programs will continue to run in the community.!

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 Caitlin Poth (Registered Kinesiologist) or Leigh Bouchard (Registered Kinesiologist)

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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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