A Heart for Health: Inspiring Wellness and Independence

Ann-Walking-MHCCI-Holiday-AppealMeet Ann, a client of the Logan-Mason Rehabilitation Center, a program of the Mental Health Centers of Central Illinois. She is inspiring others to take important steps to improve their health.

Every week, Ann leads Health Matters™, which is a peer-to-peer program focused on improving the health of people with developmental disabilities. While 33 percent of all American adults are obese, people with intellectual and developmental disabilities have a higher chance of being overweight. In her class, Ann shares information about healthier food options, exercise and goal setting.

“In class, we talk about different ways to exercise and how it’s important to find something that you like doing and keep doing it,” Ann said. “You can bike or walk or if it’s too hot or raining, use a DVD exercise tape. I also remind everyone to drink water, not soda, and to exercise at least three times a week.”

Ann has been inspired by the messages of wellness and independence that she teaches throughout the program. She has made what she hopes is a lifelong commitment to being healthy and plans to continue sharing her personal lessons with her peers and friends in the community.

Ann has become a great health coach who loves to encourage others and celebrate results. And she is celebrating her own personal health results — since the program started Ann has lost more than 30 pounds.

“I feel better and have lost a lot of weight because of all of the things I’ve learned in the class,” she said. “Some of my friends have lost weight, too. They tell me that they really like the class and that I inspire them.”

Ann is helping her peers, caregivers and others in the community heal and make healthy choices. Find out how you can make a positive change in someone’s life.