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100 Wellness Wishes: Charlevoix Resident Finds Connection, Makes Healthy Changes

07.16.2019

Michele felt determined to make healthier life choices this spring, but the 66-year-old also recognized she could use a little help to reach her goal. 

“It’s not enough to just know you should exercise,” said Michele, who retired in Charlevoix after living and working downstate. “Understanding how it works and having a plan gives you a framework to actually do it.”

An exercise plan, along with lots of encouragement, is exactly what she got as one of about 70 people so far to participate in Charlevoix Hospital’s 100 Wellness Wishes program. Charlevoix Hospital is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year and the Health Care Team is granting 100 Wellness Wishes to community members as part of the centennial celebration.

“My wish was for a consultation with an exercise specialist,” Michele said. “I knew I needed to exercise more, but my own attempts were rather ‘hit-or-miss.’ A professional could recommend exercises suited to my needs and abilities.”

She learned about the 100 Wellness Wishes program while visiting Charlevoix Hospital’s Wellness Workshop. Earlier this year she had taken advantage of the workshop’s low-cost health screening. She also took yoga and chair strength-training classes there.

“At the end of the screening, the nurse offered a 100 Wellness Wishes card to me, and I just signed up. I heard back from them the next day,” she said. As part of her wish, Michele met with Julie Voci, who works in community education for Charlevoix Hospital, for a fitness evaluation and exercise prescription.

“I received an exercise program and goals tailored to my capabilities. Julie reviewed my health screening, asked me questions, and explained the reasons for each type of exercise,” Michele said. “She took care to design a program that suited my interests and personality. It was especially helpful that she demonstrated some of the routines. She also provided me with excellent written resources that spelled everything out for me.”

Julie also helped her with one particular problem: how to measure her target heart rate. “Due to medication, I can't count my heart beat to determine exertion, and she showed me another way,” she said. “Julie also conveyed a positive upbeat attitude. She made me believe I can do this — I feel much better now that I've started on routines that I know benefit my health. Even in the first few weeks I'd say my quality of life has improved.”

Michele, an avid gardener, is now following an exercise plan that includes cardio workouts — walking and swimming in the community pool — three to four times a week. She also uses exercise bands for strength training. And an extra bonus? When Julie learned of Michele’s love of line-dancing, she put her in touch with a local club. “It’s led to a lot of connections and changes for me,” Michele said. “The 100 Wellness Wishes program has helped me rebalance my life.”