Band Together—Four Years Later

Band Together—Four Years Later

Band Together—Four Years Later
By Omar Zook

In November the Band Together Exercise Class celebrated its fourth anniversary. This class was initiated by Dr. Chris Sciamanna, a physician at the Hershey Medical Center. The idea of working with local churches to provide exercise classes using stretch bands was born out of his desire to see senior adults in better physical health, as he often observed in his practice the negative consequences of folks not keeping themselves in better shape. Hershey Free Church was one of the first churches he approached to provide this opportunity.

This class has not only provided its participants the opportunity to exercise, but it has also been a place for fellowship and encouragement. Russ Abbott said, “My wife, Marlene, and I joined up with the Band Together Class shortly after it started four years ago at Hershey Free Church. Meeting twice a week, we really enjoy getting together with friends not only from Hershey Free but also with others from the area. The exercises are not only good for us, but we have fun interacting with each other. Our instructors, Paul and Nancy Neumann, encourage us not only to exercise in class but to do exercises at home as well. If we didn’t get out for these classes and get moving, we probably would just sit at home and vegetate.”

Pat Nardone said, “I was told about your strength training class by my Internist, Dr. Chris Sciamanna. I talked to a girlfriend, Linda Tilley, and she agreed to join me… We joined in October 2016. I wanted to do this for two reasons: 1. I retired April 30, 2016. I have arthritis and had a knee replacement in 2015. I was basically sitting around and was so stiff when I got up. After just three weeks doing strength training, I could again walk up and down steps and curbs; 2. I became a widow in 2013 and lost my husband, my best friend, and the love of my life… Now being at home without him and without the people in my department, I became not only lonely but very depressed… I became almost suicidal, feeling like I was all alone. Then I met all the people in the class. They are so caring and loving. They’ve given me hugs when I needed them and shared prayers for me.”

Kit Ryan shared, “This month of November completes one year for me as a member of the Band Together group. I have no doubt that the exercises are very beneficial. Just as beneficial is the laughter and the concern we have shown for each other.”

Reflecting on these past four years, Dr. Sciamanna said, “What we’ve learned working with Hershey Free and other churches over the past four years is that when exercise can be fun and help people enjoy their time socializing, people come back. And it doesn’t hurt that, within a few weeks, people see that they’re getting stronger, that some things are easier for them to do, and that they often have less pain. We’ve been thrilled to work with Hershey Free over the years and consider them one of our ‘gold standard’ sites.”

It’s been a wonderful experience working with Dr. Sciamanna and his team. This class provides a great opportunity for anyone from Hershey Free and our community to participate. Anyone can join at any time. The class meets every Monday and Thursday at 11 AM.

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