'Makes you feel good:' Marquette nursing students team up with residents of St. Camillus

PALS program

MILWAUKEE -- Committing to a new workout program isn't easy -- but it's easier with some help. Marquette University’s College of Nursing is in its second cohort of its PALS program, helping to incorporate specific physical activities for the residents of St. Camillus in Wauwatosa.

For one week, three times a week, Irene Kurtz is working towards her goals.

"Increase the weights, increase the number or repetitions that I do," said Irene Kurtz, PALS participant.

PALS program

PALS program

When she first started the program six weeks ago, she could only do 18 chair stands in one minute. And now...

Kim Gretebeck

"With difficulty, but I can do 25," said Kurtz.

Marquette University students help run the circuit-style program at St. Camillus. The program developed and refined over 15 years to help with everyday tasks.

"Many older adults, they're not physically active and then their physical function goes down -- meaning it's harder to get in and out of a chair, in and out of a car, reach up in cupboards," said Kim Gretebeck, Associate Professor College of Nursing at Marquette.

"Use it or lose it. That's basically the philosophy behind coming here in the first place," said John Arakelian, participant.

PALS program

The "Physical Activity for Life for Seniors" is a 10-week physical activity program. Individuals participate in 60-minute sessions, three days per week, circulating through various exercise stations using equipment such as, steps, hand weights and medicine balls.

Participants also attend a 30-minute group class to learn strategies to stay active once the 10-week exercise class is completed.

"I feel as though I've achieved something even though I'm huffing and puffing, but I have achieved something. It makes you feel good," said Kurtz.