Heart Health Month Featured Member

January 26, 2015

In recognition of Heart Health Month, our featured member in February is Sonja Lundstrom!



Sonja has been a member of Rady JCC for five years and a regular participant of the Walking Group that works out together every Monday, Wednesday and Friday morning with Rady Fitness trainer, Lori Derraugh.

That’s despite enduring Femoral Popliteal bypass surgeries (blocked arteries) in both legs as well as a total hip replacement.  She also has arthritis, peripheral vascular disease  and a chronically inflammed rotator cuff.

But you wouldn’t know it when you see her roaring around the track or during Walking Group class.

In fact, in a lot of ways the surgeries are a distant memory for her. As her participation at Rady JCC shows, she hasn’t let health complications hold her back.

Here’s our Q&A with Sonja:

Q: How has exercise post-op helped you recover?

Sonja: I have now been here 5 years. Helped me to start on a program, first in the water after my hip surgery and then progress to the variety of other programs to meet my needs and challenges through all the other surgeries.  I started coming at first as a guest of  my boyfriend, who came for cancer support and reconditioning.

Q: Favourite workout/exercise?

Sonja: Walking program because of the flexibility and the very knowledgeable, creative leaders who support us and enable us to learn how to adapt to meet our multiple health issues.

Q: What’s in your fridge most often?

Sonja: Fruits and vegetables.  Herrings are a must. Peppakakka are my go-to as well as bread and crispy hard tack.

Q: Favourite “guilty pleasure” food?

Sonja: Bread

Q: What role has Rady JCC played in keeping you active?

Sonja:  Multiple roles – exercise programs that consider strength, flexibility, balance, endurance , cardiac status, pain and comfort measures, multiple health and aging issues i.e. hard of hearing

On-going education by workshops, timely and appropriate email news and research updates i.e. behaviour change tools, nutrition tips, exercise tips, emotional well-being info.

Support and wisdom of other members and leaders of multicultures and values from Sri Lanka, Scandinavia, Argentina, Russia and so on. A true pluralistic society.

Fun! Fun! Fun! Seeing the children there and being part of a larger community with their celebrations.

The beautiful sunshine radiating through the windows that has me wanting to be there on days when I am unable to be out in the snow or rain to enjoy my exercise.  I’d far rather be here in the winter enjoying our winter sunshine reflecting off the snow than on any beach in the south.

Friends. I’ve made a lot of friends at Rady, in fact I now have a Thursday morning walking buddy to walk Assiniboine Park each week and have developed a cross country ski group who ski’s together every Saturday morning with other members of the community.  I’ve met such an eclectic group of keen people that want to expand upon what we do at Rady.

Rady is also a good distance to ride my bike in the summer, bringing another added benefit of the trip to Rady.  Riding along the Crescent to Rady is so beautiful in the mornings.

Q: Best part about being a Rady JCC member?

Sonja: Flexibility in exercise programs and equipment and environment so  I can choose from leader led to self-directed.

Being respected and treated as a person. Right from the security desk, to the friendly and very hospitable membership desk , the cleaning staff who keep everything so clean and the knowledgeable exercise leaders and personal trainers.  This is so helpful when many times before we get to the centre we have had to overcome all kinds of obstacles to get there from being a caregiver at home, managing households, cars, families, grandchildren, illnesses and the list goes on.  The Rady centre is truly an oasis, a retreat where one comes to care for self, to keep oneself healthy in order to carry on with all the other challenges of living a full and meaningful life.

Q: Your #1 tip for enjoying a happy life?

Sonja: Bloom where you are planted and live in the moment.  My  elixir of life is being connected with people and nature.

For a full list of Heart Health Month activities, click the graphic below!