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Speaking engagement becomes wellness event

| Sunday, Feb. 17, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

Apollo-Ridge School District administrator Chris Clark says that having a heart attack in 2011 at 37 years old saved his life.

It forced him to get his weight under control, and, in doing so, eliminated the high blood pressure and diabetes that had been plaguing him.

Clark wanted to share his story with others through a lecture series sponsored by the school district, but worried that a story from “an average Joe” wouldn't attract much of an audience.

His colleague Cristine Kostiuk, who coordinates community-outreach events for Apollo-Ridge, suggested turning the speaking engagement into a full-blown wellness event.

The Winterfest & Healthy Heart Expo will be from noon to 4 p.m. Saturday at Apollo-Ridge High School. Health-and-wellness vendors will be on hand to introduce people of all ages to fun ways to incorporate fitness into their lives, such as Zumba and belly dancing. There will even be an expert to analyze your golf swing.

“Attendees are expected to come in their sneakers and sweats to actually try the various activities and find one that can help them meet their individual fitness goals,” Kostiuk says. “Many of the activities target children to help them make healthy lifestyle choices that can become lifelong habits.”

With an entrance fee of $5 (no charge for students), participants can take as many free lessons as they can fit into the event's four-hour time frame.

“The fitness vendors will let you ‘try before you buy' and participate in various fitness activities to see if they are compatible with your lifestyle,” she says.

All of the activities can be tailored to participants of any age.

“The Healthy Heart Expo is a wellness fair to educate the public on ways to maintain a healthy heart,” Kostiuk says.

Presentations from heart-attack survivors and health care professionals are designed to help people understand the warning signs of heart disease and inspire lifestyle changes.

Participants also can sample healthy options from local restaurants, and learn how to choose fresh fruits and vegetables when grocery shopping.

They can learn bystander CPR and how automated external defibrillators (AEDs) can be used to save lives.

Proceeds from the event support STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Math) education and Advance Placement courses in the Apollo-Ridge School District.

— Jill Henry Szish

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