Change in eating habits: “I try to eat an anti-inflammatory diet, so working with reducing sugar has been the one for me,” Kuehn said.
Dana’s steps of change:
1. Making a shift: “I got interested in making a shift ... because I have some strong osteoarthritis.” Pre-pandemic, she was doing yoga but not cardio or strength training. “I know I’ve gotten stronger, especially in my arms — I had not been a consistent strength trainer before the group.”
2. Making a commitment: “When it comes to scheduling things, I decided that, yes, this is going to be part of my schedule. Because of it being a group and conversation and laughing, it was a wonderful way to commit to this, enjoy it and be somewhat caught off guard that you were getting stronger.”
3. Making friends: “I’m with my friends, I’m exercising, and I’m encouraged by them and what they are doing.”
Exercise routine: Kuehn works out three days a week with the group, and she does yoga and walking three more days per week.
Biggest challenge: “The group started playing pickleball, and that is really fun. My osteoarthritis has started to get in my way with some of that. Just the idea that my joint can only move so much, so do I choose pickleball? Or do I choose art? I would say I would be continuing to enjoy pickleball if it were not for the degenerative cartilage — that’s been my challenge. It doesn’t really get in the way of holding the weights — it got exacerbated by pickleball.”
Dana’s three top tips:
1. Beat the heat and embrace the cold: “No longer am I as reluctant to use extreme heat or extreme cold to decide that I won’t take a walk. If there’s more extreme weather, I know how to layer. I can hydrate. I can move around in that cold weather and I know I will warm up.”
2. Adding a challenge: “Adding some challenge, which might be like upping your level of weights.” Kuehn does emphasize the importance of easing into any new challenge. “I made a mistake and jumped from 5 pounds to 8 pounds, and that was not good. It’s better to increase a pound at a time.”
3. Building community: “I think there are rewards of having an exercise group whether on your street or with friends. Because of the community it builds, it makes you more committed to doing it.”
How has your life changed? “This group has had a profound effect on me. I am feeling more connected in this neighborhood and with these women. ... These women knew what they were doing. They put effort into changing things up. ... I have a lot of gratitude for them. They took time to make it interesting. ... I hope this group will continue for perpetuity. I think that exercising outside has been a surprising, glorious part of it all.”
Seeking readers’ stories of lifestyle changes: We’re looking for stories about changing health habits. While The Atlanta Journal-Constitution does not endorse any specific programs, we include names and links for the benefit of readers who want further information. If you would like to share your story of a lifestyle change, please contact reporter Michelle C. Brooks and include your email address, phone number, and before and after photos (by mail or JPEG). You can email her directly at: firstname.lastname@example.org.