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Weekly Walkers Celebrate Milestone

megan, juana, tinaMembers of the Lynn Community Health Center Walking Group gathered at the health center on Tuesday to celebrate a milestone in their lives: graduating from a year-long program aimed at promoting mental, physical health and wellness.

Nearly 50 strong in attendance, the program had a total of 120 participants over the course of the year. Graduates marched in to “Pomp and Circumstance” wearing their trademark orange baseball caps, each with a smile that represented perseverance and courage in the face of sometimes daunting ailments. For Tina Phillips, it was leg pain and a struggle with weight. “The back of my legs always hurt. But after the program, now I’m losing weight and I’m feeling better. I want to stay on with the group and keep walking. I love it.”

The group was founded in May, 2012 with only five walkers, who only walked during the summer months. Participants are members of the Lynn Community Health Center’s Group Therapy Program, which includes an emphasis on a healthy diet, exercise and daily stress management and relaxation as an important part of mental health.

“Our program runs over 50 therapy support groups that address issues such as stress management, anxiety, depression, chronic pain, healthy living, health promotion, PTSD recovery, anger management and addiction recovery,” said Juana R. De Gonzalez, Director of Group Therapy Programs at the health center.  “Many groups combine one of these with a condition, such as cancer or diabetes.  It is so common for those patients suffering from with chronic illness to have on going, depression, stress or anxiety.”

Last January the health center teamed up with the Lynn YMCA/Healthy Living Program to continue walking throughout the year.  Audrey Jimenez, Executive Director of the Lynn YMCA, was happy to assist the health center continue the program during colder months. “We have the beach, we have Lynn Woods—our community is really made for walking—but it becomes more difficult in winter. I love seeing this group come into the Y every week.  They are so happy!  Walking is so beneficial to healthy living, being fit and clearing your mind.”

De Gonzalez congratulated the walkers during the ceremony. “No matter what the weather was, rain or snow or hot or cold, you showed up. Some of you have struggled with diabetes, chronic pain, high cholesterol or high blood pressure, but you’ve worked so hard in spite of that. You’ve learned valuable lessons and have acquired skills such as weight management, staying active, reducing depression and anxiety, lowering and managing stress.  You’ve learned to relax and socialize with peer support, but most importantly you’ve all learned to enjoy your lives, get better, and be happy again.”

Learn more about the LCHC Group Therapy Program or call Behavioral Health Services at 781-477-7222.

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