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Keeping pace with healthy living on WHISH and a prayer

Salvatorian Sister Georgene Faust is one of nearly 22,000 participants from across the U.S. who signed on for the Women’s Health Initiative Strong & Healthy (WHISH) trial. It’s part of a larger initiative launched in 2015 by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI).

The WHISH trial is led by physicians from Stanford University, University of California at San Diego, and the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle. It tests whether moving more and sitting less will reduce heart disease and stroke in older women. Study or no study, Sr. Georgene just might be living proof. She’ll only admit to being 90+ years of age.

“For many years, I’ve made body/spirit balance my priority to stay healthy. One place I find this balance is on my daily walk; the other is in the swimming pool.” Living in Phoenix with Salvatorian Sister Letty Regala, Sr. Georgene makes time early in the morning for her daily blessing of Vitamin D and exercise before she begins her tutoring sessions for adults with learning disabilities.

“I swim 30 minutes seven days a week, and track my daily walks with a goal of 9,000 steps a week. My exercise routine is a time to be present to body and spirit, and a gifted time to be in touch with the Lord. Often, I pray simply, “Lord, be present to whomever is in need of you now, today.”

As a WHISH study participant Sr. Georgene receives educational and motivational materials. They include an exercise and physical activity guide aimed at adults 65+ from the National Institutes on Aging. WHISH trial participants are encouraged take part in more endurance-focused activities, upper- and lower-body strengthening exercises, and activities that improve balance and flexibility. WHISH also provides study subjects with pedometers, resistance bands and tracking tools, such as activity logs, a website tracking program, and an interactive voice system to help motivate them. The main goal is to be as physically active as possible considering overall health and physical function.

If you’ve ever met Sr. Georgene, you know this statement to be true: “I don’t need the WHISH trial to stay motivated, but I’m a curious, lifelong learner so the WHISH findings are of great interest to me.”

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