Live Well Expo offers variety of free activities, screenings


Before participating in a Star Promenaders square dancing demonstration, Brian Lewis said he was tired because he had a late night.

After square dancing for a half-hour, though, the Brownstown man forgot about being tired.

“Oh, I’m energized. I’m ready to go,” he said, smiling. “If you go to a dance sometimes in a bad mood, you always leave in a good mood. There’s always laughter, there’s always good socialization with other people and it just builds you up.”

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Before receiving a chair massage from local massage therapist Abbie Frank, Linda Wheeler of Seymour said she was feeling some pain.

After Frank worked her hands over Wheeler’s neck, shoulders and back, however, she felt much better.

“Wonderful. It’s just night and day, and I knew it would be,” Wheeler said. “I wanted her to get that pain out of my neck and shoulder. I was at a 10 pain, and she put it down to about a 1.”

Before participating in a group fitness demonstration with Anytime Fitness, Austin Olds had done his own workout.

After doing inch-worms, skaters, stability squats, pushups and reverse lunges and then doing more squats with a team of people, the North Vernon man was sweating even more.

“My heart is beating pretty fast, so I definitely got cardio in,” he said, smiling.

These were among the activities for people to experience Saturday during Schneck Medical Center’s 36th annual community health fair known as the Live Well Expo.

Attendees made their way around to booths set up in Seymour High School’s Lloyd E. Scott Gymnasium picking up free information about a variety of health-related resources in the area.

There also were opportunities to receive free screenings for bone density, cervical spine, diabetes, oral cancer, prostate, vision and hearing. And there were blood pressure checks, balance testing, body mass index assessments and low-cost blood draws.

For the Seymour hospital that organizes the event, the hope is that people find at least one thing they can improve, said digital marketing coordinator Julie Idlewine.

“Whether it’s deciding to buy local produce, whether it’s deciding to join a fitness group, whether it’s deciding to reach out and get help with something that they need, whether it’s blood work so they can figure out what their health status is, it’s making one simple choice to help start that health improvement,” she said.

“For some people, they are already healthy, but it gives them something extra,” she said. “But for some who maybe are looking for a way to get healthier, this might be, we hope, an impetus to get them to start.”

Many people look forward to the Live Well Expo because it’s the one opportunity a year to get their blood tested or have different screenings done.

“I think that it helps bring awareness not only to medical health but also mental health and financial health and health for older adults, health for getting physically active, health for eating better,” Idlewine said.

Health is more than just going to see a doctor, she said.

“It’s expanding the idea that health is just coming to the doctor and just getting your annual exam or just getting that test. There’s so much in the community for people to improve their health,” Idelwine said.

“There have been studies showing that if you’re stressed about your finances, it absolutely affects your health. If you are depressed, it absolutely affects your overall health,” she said. “So I feel like if we can provide some resources to people to think about things in a different way to improve their health, then going to the doctor the next time, it may not be quite so dreaded.”

Square dancing, for example, has been proven to improve listening and communication skills, memory recall times, mental health and fitness. It also promotes teamwork, helps with coordination, makes people laugh and smile, burns calories, is a stress relief and offers a healthy environment.

“It helps you mentally because you have to memorize all of the calls. It has been proven to help offset dementia and Alzheimer’s,” Lewis said. “It’s also a good aerobic exercise. In a two-and-a-half-hour dance on the weekend, you put in 10,000 steps.”

Besides showing the benefits of square dancing, Lewis said it was good for the Star Promenaders to be a part of the Live Well Expo to help people see the face of square dancing is changing.

“They used to always say you have to have a poofy dress and you had to wear certain things,” he said. “Some people put on jeans and T-shirts. It’s not like a dress code. We just want to have fun. That’s what we’re here for. We’re here to ensure you have fun.”

Olds said the fitness demonstrations were good to let attendees see how much fun it is to work out.

“It definitely helps with the social aspects of working out because everyone is a family, and it’s great to come here and be able to talk to them like friends. I always feel great afterwards,” he said. “I think it’s great for Anytime Fitness to be connected to the community in Seymour.”

Wheeler said she appreciates services like the chair massages and blood work being offered at the health fair.

“Oh, it’s wonderful,” she said. “I’ve been coming to this since the first one they ever had way out at Jackson school when they first started. This is just something we need because it gives us so much medical knowledge. My doctor actually recommends the blood work here because he said they do things here that they don’t even do at the office unless you ask for it, so they do a variety of blood work here.”

Also attending Saturday’s Live Well Expo were Michael Campbell of Seymour and his therapy dog, Abraham, a 5-year-old collie.

Abraham not only makes people smile as they pet him, but he is therapeutic. That includes his handler, who has had cancer surgery and still is dealing with Stage 4 colon cancer.

Abraham has been a therapy dog for a couple of years. Campbell took him to K9 Campers in Seymour to become a certified therapy animal after seeing how much joy another local therapy dog, Holly, brought to people.

“We took him there and passed all of his tests that he needed to pass with flying colors,” Campbell said.

Just recently, Campbell considered resigning as a volunteer at the hospital because he had a lot going on in his life, but after being told Abraham was scheduled to be at the health fair, he had to be there with his four-legged friend.

“We found out it had already been in the paper, so I’m thinking, ‘The Lord is telling me, ‘No, you’re doing this,’’ so this is God’s will,” Campbell said, smiling.

That worked out great because Abraham was a popular attraction at the health fair.

“You can really see the joy that he brings, especially to kids. He loves kids, and people just gravitate toward him,” Campbell said. “It just gives you a warm, fuzzy feeling. It’s therapy for me. This is a way to give back.”

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