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News for Arthritis Foundation Program Instructors in the Great West Region
Fall 2012


Articles This Issue


Quarterly Reports Due
Submit your reports by January 15, 2013.

Instructors in Action: Nancy Sonduck
Read Nancy's story on how the Arthritis Foundation Aquatics Program assisted her in achieving significant weight loss, and the program's importance in her life.

Upcoming Trainings
Give someone the opportunity to take control of their arthritis in 2013. Recertify as an Arthritis Foundation Instructor or invite a friend or co-worker to become certified. See the list of upcoming trainings.

Half of U.S. Adults With Arthritis Also Face Other Serious Illnesses
Arthritis Foundation Programs for Better Living seek to address these comorbidities. Find out how.

NEW! Arthritis Foundation Yoga DVD
Learn more about the new DVD, "Arthritis-Friendly Yoga." 

Discover the New 
Visit our redesigned website to easily access arthritis information and local resources.

Photos from the Field

Get Connected 



Welcome to the Inaugural Issue of AFitness!

leader links graphicAFitness
is the e-newsletter for Arthritis Foundation Program Instructors. It is published by the Arthritis Foundation, Great West Region.

AFitness merges two of our former instructor publications… the Physical Activity and Leader Links newsletters. This new e-newsletter will present you with stories, perspectives and resources from across the entire Great West Region, which includes Alaska, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Utah, Washington and Wyoming.

We hope you enjoy AFitness!


Quarterly Reports Due January 15, 2013

Fourth quarter program reports are due by January 15. Click here to access the forms and our return contact information.


Instructors in Action

Give Yourself the Gift of Health
By Nancy Sonduck, Arthritis Foundation Aquatics Instructor

NancyWhen you hear the words, THE HEALING POWER OF WATER, how do you feel? Puzzled? Encouraged? Curious? Suspicious? Hopeful? Water isn’t strong or even special. How can it accomplish such an amazing thing like healing? Within this clear fluid wonder, lies the miracle of movement.

The pain cycle is so familiar. It hurts to move so we don’t. Muscles were made to be used. The less you move them the more they atrophy. What is the answer? Pool therapy. You can regain your mobility, flexibility and strength, reduce pain and improve your activities of daily living, easier than you think!

After two years in a motorized wheelchair, I topped the scales at 360 lbs. due to three forms of arthritis and fibromyalgia. A friend suggested I try water therapy. In two years, I lost 150 lbs. and regained the strength to walk again. I now teach in the therapy pool at the YMCA.

If you are not working on your health on a daily basis….you are moving toward your disability.

I offer seven strategies for action to move you back towards health.
• Put yourself first
• Make a “no excuse” contract with yourself
• Be patient with yourself
• Make plans to include activities you will enjoy
• Find a friend who has the same need or goal
• Start today!
• Don’t worry about the swimsuit issue

Have fun! You will keep doing what is fun. Laughter should be part of your everyday experience. It has been proven that three minutes of laughter equals one hour freedom from pain. Your brain cannot record pain and delight at the same time. Delight wins!

Now, Don’t Wait, Don’t Think! Put down this article, slip into your swimsuit and find an Arthritis Foundation Aquatics Program near you today!

SPLASH! See you in the pool!

This excerpt is from Ms. Sonduck’s story.


Upcoming Trainings

Give someone the opportunity to take control of their arthritis in 2013. Recertify as an Arthritis Foundation Instructor or invite a friend or co-worker to become certified. Search the event list for upcoming trainings.


Half of U.S. Adults With Arthritis Also Face Other Serious Illnesses

Arthritis Foundation Programs for Better Living seek to address these comorbidities

crowdComorbidities, as defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), are the presence of more than one disease or condition in the same person at the same time. Comorbidities can make disease management and treatment more complicated and more expensive.

Nearly half of U.S. adults with arthritis also have at least one comorbid condition. The four most common comorbidities among adults with arthritis are heart disease (24%), chronic respiratory conditions (19%), diabetes (16%) and stroke (6%).

While no one knows exactly why people with arthritis experience high rates of comorbidities, studies suggest that arthritis and other chronic conditions share some of the same non-modifiable risk factors (e.g., age, gender) and modifiable risk factors (e.g. obesity, smoking). Another possibility is that the effects of arthritis, such as pain or fatigue, can cause physical inactivity which in turn can lead to obesity and other chronic conditions.

The CDC Arthritis Program recommends self-management education programs and physical activity programs that provide important benefits for people with arthritis whether or not they have comorbidities. These programs are designed to teach people the skills they need to take charge of their conditions and engage in effective, joint-friendly physical activity. All of the Arthritis Foundation’s Programs for Better Living (PBL) meet such criteria.

Adults with arthritis face a number of disease-specific barriers including concerns about aggravating arthritis pain and fear about causing further joint damage. As a PBL instructor, it is important for you to be aware of these concerns and address them to the best of your ability. Remind them that people with arthritis may experience short-term increases in pain when they initiate an exercise program but that continued physical activity will result in a long-term reduction of symptoms. Overcoming the initial increase in pain and fears about joint damage can make a vast difference in the lives of those who have arthritis and additional chronic conditions.

Be proactive when communicating with PBL participants and help them understand the long-term benefits of your evidence-based exercise program. You hold the keys to their success.


NEW! Arthritis Foundation Presents Arthritis-Friendly Yoga

yogaTo help promote better living and to encourage people living with arthritis to make physical activity a part of their everyday life, the Arthritis Foundation has launched a new physical activity DVD. The DVD, "Arthritis-Friendly Yoga," was created especially for people who have arthritis or achy joints and includes modifications to support joints affected by arthritis.

The DVD includes:
• An introduction by yoga and arthritis expert – and Arthritis Foundation-funded researcher – Steffany Moonaz, PhD
• 60-minute full practice including easy-to-follow poses
• Step-by-step demonstrations for modifying poses to protect your joints
• 15-minute Sun Salutation segment to keep your body energized and moving when you don’t have time for the full practice
• Relaxation and Meditation segment to calm your mind and ease your pain

Purchase the "Arthritis-Friendly Yoga" DVD (Item ID: 835.220) in the AF web store for $24.95.


Discover the New Arthritis.orgweb


The Arthritis Foundation has redesigned our website. The new design makes arthritis information and local resources easily accessible and user-friendly. View the new website at



Photos from the Field

photos from the field

Sean leads his small group during the teaching portion of an AF Aquatic Program training at the Jewish Community Center in Denver, Colorado.



Get Connected

Find your local office of the Arthritis Foundation to get connected to local staff, programs, events and more.

Feedback or ideas for AFitness future content? E-mail Wade Balmer at

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