Curious older adults were awed by Patriot Hall when they gathered for the fourth annual Extraordinary Living Conference at Clatsop Community College. Entering at upper street level, the oval indoor track circles a three-story view down to the gymnasium floor.
A commanding panorama of the Columbia River and Astoria can be seen through north- and west-facing windows that stretch from floor to ceiling of the state-of-the art building. Extraordinary Living focused on fitness this year because of the new fitness center, said Leslie Morgan, one of the organizers.
The conference held in September, attracted 50 to 60 participants, who could choose three out of 12 breakout sessions. Choices included life-enhancing topics such as how to create a happier body, genealogy, the ship report, hiking and paddling trail opportunities, how to live with pain, dancing your way to fitness, smart phone apps, palliative care and senior care living options.
Attendees enjoyed a sandwich buffet by CCC’s Bandit Café. Sponsors gave out information and swag during the event.
One of the highlights of the event was sampling some of the activities.
RiversZen Yoga co-owner Peggy Stevens asked the Happier Body and Acupuncture class if anyone had pain, scar tissue, joint replacements, headaches or posture issues. Hands went up to every question.
She and instructor Wendy Hensley demonstrated the use of yoga therapy balls for massaging the connective tissue between muscles, called fascia.
“We focus on what you do so you can live better in your body,” said Stevens. “None of us came with an instruction booklet on how we should be doing what with our body.
“Our goal at RiversZen is for you to learn some techniques for you to take home and do on your own.”
Using small rubber therapy balls can improve circulation and help with plantar fasciitis, sciatica, jaw and shoulder problems, Hensley said.
As she demonstrated, participants joined in rolling the balls under their feet. They also tried leaning on the balls against the wall, while their rolling the shoulders and other exercises.
A positive, good stretch is what both instructors encourage. They stressed that their exercises are never meant to cause pain and that you should always be in control.
Partnering in this session was Karen Kaufmann, an acupuncturist with a degree in psychology. She helps people with stress management and depression as well as pain at her acupuncture clinic in Astoria.
Stressors are a detriment to physiological, mental, emotional and behavioral health, Kaufmann said.
As a relaxation exercise, she had everyone place their tongue on the roof of their mouth, behind the teeth and breathe in through the nose to the count of four; hold for a count of seven; and exhale through the mouth for a count of eight; and repeat three more times.
She said this is a good exercise to do when you are feeling stressed or before bed. She cautioned not to do it while you are driving.
Acupuncture helps regulate and balance the nervous system, which relieves stress she said.
Kaufmann also will be seeing patients and caregivers at the new OHSU-Columbia Memorial Cancer Center. She said caregivers benefit from treatment because they are often overtaxed and feel guilty when they are working on themselves.
In a mirrored, third floor studio, Marco Davis led an exercise class. Seeing themselves in the mirror helps participants check and adjust their movements. Women and men enjoyed the routine that focused on stretching.
The Northwest Coast Trails Coalition hosted a section on water trails, edibles, bird watching and State Parks and National Park activities.
Living Well Self-Management Workshops were discussed by Alissa Dorman of Columbia Memorial Hospital, which sponsors interactive workshops for chronic conditions, diabetes, chronic pain and cancer.
Sponsors included Clatsop Community College, ENCORE, FamilyCare Health, NorthWest Senior and Disability Services, Providence Seaside Hospital and Columbia Memorial Hospital
Cannabis was the subject of a panel discussion, featuring Caren Eling, GNP, and Oscar Nelson, co-owner of Sweet Relief Dispensary. Both stressed the importance of being honest with your primary caregiver if you are using marijuana, because it could interact with other pharmaceuticals.
Patriot Hall exercise facilities are open to the public from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday and Sunday. Several options are available for classes, membership or punch cards. For information, call 503-338-2408 or visit firstname.lastname@example.org