Health & Medical Guide

St. James parish nurse promotes walking for health

By Linda Scherer, Staff Writer

St. James parish nurse Darlene Lind believes walking significantly lowers blood pressure and cholesterol, improves general body health, and makes people just feel better.

Lind is so sure that it works, she has started two walking groups at St. James Lutheran Church in Howard Lake. One group walks in the morning and the other in the evening. Lind sometimes walks with the evening group.

The St. James walkers started during the winter months, but did not have to worry about the weather because the St. James School offered them the use of its gym.

Currently, the morning group is still using the school for their morning walk. The evening group has switched to the outdoors for the summer.

All participants were given the opportunity to have a blood pressure and cholesterol screening to establish a baseline to monitor changes to their health as result of their exercising program.

Some of the walkers have found their blood pressure has gone down and Lind has seen her own cholesterol drop.

The results are different on each individual. Heredity plays a big part. Some of the walkers showed improvement in just one month if they were exercising consistently.

Lind includes another reminder, “It is necessary to walk three times a week in order to show some results and at least 30 minutes.”

“And it’s the whole general body health. Just people feeling better. There really isn’t any test for that,” Lind said.

As St. James parish nurse, Lind volunteers her time to promote health education and prevention of illness. “It does not duplicate anything that is out there. Home health, clinics, and hospitals, actually fit into another notch,” Lind said.

Having worked in hospitals, home health nursing, and as a public health nurse, Lind never really felt fulfilled. She always felt there was something missing in her career. When she became a parish nurse, she discovered that she is “able to work with the body, mind and spirit. In hospital settings or any of the other settings, you can’t talk about spirit. Parish nursing filled that little spot that was always missing,” Lind explained.

Through the parish nursing program, blood pressure screening is done every other month in between weekend services at St. James Church.

Cholesterol screenings are done through appointment four times a year. During screenings, Lind has the help of LPN nurses that are members of the parish, too.

Lind is available on Wednesday mornings from 9 a.m. until early afternoon since she began the program September, 2005.

Anyone can stop by and see her about any health questions they might have or to just get their blood pressure checked.

Lind, an RN which is a requirement of the program, received her parish nursing certification in the early 90s.

She started the parish nurse program at her church in Litchfield, where she grew up, and when she moved to Cokato, decided that she would like to start the program in Howard Lake.

Lind is also pleased with the recent placement of the heart defibrillator at St. James Church. Training has already taken place for many in Howard Lake, with more free public trainings planned in the near future.

Published August 2006

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