Taking ‘virtual’ steps to boost health

The North Zone was one of the first zones in Alberta Health Services to offer Alberta Healthy Living Program workshops online. Conducted via Zoom, the workshops help individuals develop skills to live healthier lifestyles. Members of the team who make it happen are, clockwise from top left: Kathleen Arnold (coordinator, AHS self-management and diverse populations, North Central, chronic disease management), Krystal Smith (coordinator self-management and iverse populations, North West, chronic disease management), Denise Boulerice (team lead, chronic disease management, North East) and Larysa Sylvestre (health promotions facilitator, Bonnyville).

Logan Clow
For South Peace News

For Linda Good, taking part in Alberta Healthy Living Program [AHLP] workshops has helped her to make easy, positive improvements to her health.

The Peace River resident, who’s participated in several free AHLP workshops in recent years, says the workshops now offered virtually online by Alberta Health Services [AHS] to North Zone residents have given her important tools and skills that she uses to live a healthy lifestyle.

“Over the years, I’ve been struggling to lose weight and get more exercise,” says Good.

“AHLP workshops have helped me make positive health improvements in my life.”

“I’m sleeping better, controlling my weight better and making healthier meal choices, all thanks to the new skills and tools I’ve learned.

“One skill I’ve found especially beneficial is learning more about food nutrition labels and what they mean for your body.

“I feel much more knowledgeable and confident in making healthy meal choices.”

Good says learning how to manage stress and finding new ways to exercise have also contributed to her well-being during the pandemic.

Most AHS zones are offering AHLP workshops on Zoom.

AHLP workshop topics and availability may vary.

North Zone workshops includes Better Choices, Better Health as one program and offers other topics such as adult weight management, managing emotional eating, heart and stroke, managing diabetes and minding stress.

For more information on AHLP workshops being offered in your zone, visit Alberta Healthy Living Program online.

The North Zone was one of the first zones to begin offering AHLP Workshops on Zoom, says Kathleen Arnold, coordinator, AHS self-management and diverse populations, North Central, chronic disease management.

“By offering our workshops online, we’re able to protect the health and safety of our staff and participants,” Arnold says.

“Any North Zone resident can access these workshops from the safety and comfort of their own home, or wherever they may be.”

“We recognized online delivery makes it more convenient and accessible for residents across the North Zone.

“It’s quite beneficial for parents and guardians who have children, as they’re able to participate in the workshops from home while their kids play.

“It also improves access for those who have mobility issues, do not have access to transportation or live in remote areas.”

Zoom workshops can be accessed by computer, tablet or phone.

Previously, workshops were held in-person in a classroom.

AHS staff facilitates sessions as days and times vary.

“We recognize that improving or maintaining a healthy lifestyle isn’t always easy,” Arnold adds.

“Our knowledgeable workshop facilitators support each participant to ensure they have the skills and tools to be able to take steps to improve their health.”

For her part, Good has already registered for another AHLP workshop this month.

“I feel motivated. I want to continue learning new skills that I can use to maintain a healthy lifestyle,” Arnold says.

“You never stop learning. I’m fortunate that I can access these workshops at no cost,” she says.”

Whitecourt resident Elizabeth Moore says she’s also benefited from the four AHLP workshops she’s taken over the past year.

“For me, as a mother of three, it got to the point where I wanted to live healthier — and I found that I didn’t have the resources or tools to make those changes,” Moore adds.

“I wasn’t eating enough during the day and then, by supper time, I’d eat everything and anything.

“I just didn’t know how to address that.

“Through the few AHLP workshops I’ve taken, I’ve really improved and developed better eating habits. I’ve been able to learn more about food triggers — including ‘want’ versus ‘need’ — and how to abstain from cravings.

“Now, I’m able to make healthier meal choices and follow a regular, more healthy and balanced meal schedule.”

Good and Moore both recommend AHLP workshops to people in search of ways to improve their health.

“In these workshops, you really do learn that you’re not alone and that there are others who are going through the same thing as you are,” Good says.

“It’s a really supportive environment.”

To register, or to find out which AHLP workshop is right for you, please phone 1-877-349-5711.

For more information, visit the website at www.albertahealthservices.ca.

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