Fun, Food, Fitness Fair Promotes Active Healthy Lifestyle

Highland Park - As the name of the event suggests, the Fun, Food and Fitness Fair at Parker Home® delivered three objectives to attendees who visited Parker at the Pavilion, 443 River Road, Highland Park from 11am to 3pm on April 6th. They learned about and enjoyed healthy, nutritious food, participated in fitness classes, and had lots of fun while doing it!

The event began with food. Parker Home’s director of dining and nutrition Rob Klingebiel and chef de cuisine Domenic Buzzario were challenged to plan a delicious hot lunch for attendees could also reproduced in a home kitchen. Guests were served Mediterranean Chicken, Spinach and Basil Polenta, and Artichoke Hearts Oreganata, which elicited many compliments. Chef Buzzario also gave two cooking demonstrations later in the day to show attendees that a healthy gourmet meal can be created in anyone’s home.

After enjoying the lunch, attendees visited fair vendors, including jewelry vendors Touchstone Crystal and Head Turners Designs, Jewish Family Services, Healthscapes Therapy, Weston Therapy, and Next Step Strategies.
Rutgers University students, under the direction of Dr. Nicole Robell, presented “Fun Mind and Body Games” to the attendees. The students played “Hangman” with attendees to promote brain fitness. Attendees tested their hand-eye coordination by tossing bean bags through the target and assessed their stamina by dancing with the students.

The fitness portion of the fair included a Zumba Gold class led by fitness instructor Charyl Friedman. Zumba Gold is a lower impact version of Zumba, geared towards senior citizens and people with some physical limitations. Parker’s popular Char Chi class was led by fitness instructor Anne Ang. Char Chi is Parker’s version of Tai Chi performed while seated. Fitness trainer Kari VanderHorn taught attendees resistance training, also performed while seated and with resistance bands.

Many attendees visited Parker Home’s theater to see HBO’s The Weight of the Nation, followed by a discussion with Lori Morell, senior manager of Parker’s Center for Healthy Aging. The movie teaches that obesity is a very serious medical condition, which is no longer strictly an issue of outside appearances. It is a huge contributing factor in the death and early disability of our neighbors, friends and family and its societal costs are astronomical.

Robert Bjornsen, who visited the fair with his wife Sandra, said, “We came out to see the movie but also enjoyed tossing bean bags, playing the ‘Memory Game’ and ‘Hangman’ with the students from Rutgers.” The Bjornsens are members of Parker Home’s Health and Wellness Center.

And, for the fun portion of the Fun, Food and Fitness Fair, Parker Home offered a workshop called “Laughter Yoga,” which was facilitated by Diana Perez, a self-proclaimed “Jolliologist” and Certified Laughter Yoga Leader since 2009. Perez believes that regular laughter sessions help to reduce stress and increase energy levels. She also stated that scientific research has demonstrated that laughing improves health and shortens the recovery time following an illness.

“The Laughter Yoga session was my favorite workshop of the day,” Frances Ludeke remarked. “When you feel stressed, laughing helps you feel better,” she added.

Parker Home provides frequent programs for its residents as well as the community-at-large. Parker has a long-standing reputation of providing the ultimate in personalized, affordable high quality long-term care services in a home-like setting for over 100 years. Guided by the principles of the Eden Alternative®, Parker embraces and nurtures aging as a natural stage of life to be celebrated with compassion and enthusiasm.

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