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May Movement Challenge – Free adaptive and accessible online exercise

Pilates, yoga, tai chi, gyrokinesis, strength training, hand drumming, breathwork, and all types of dances for seated and standing participants.

MENDOCINO, CA – April 1, 2023 – Sparked by her experience of therapeutic movement, and the pandemic, Leslie Krongold, Ed.D., podcast host and patient advocate, launched the inaugural May Movement Challenge in 2021. The impetus was Identifying great movement instructors with a specific emphasis on reaching the needs of persons with chronic health conditions and/or physical disability.

Now in its third year, the goals remain the same – introduce fun movement practices to online participants and encourage instructors to be more inclusive with their instructional practices. During the month of May, most weekdays include an online movement class with Saturdays reserved for one-hour informational sessions featuring personal movement journey stories and interactive presentations by physical therapists and Sundays highlighting the importance of getting out in nature.

Krongold, diagnosed with myotonic dystrophy in her mid-30s, has benefitted from a yoga practice she began shortly after college. “My early experiences with exercise, were not joyful. Physical education in elementary school was torture. I grew up in South Florida where I never quite acclimated to the subtropical climate,” she explains; “…years ago I was in a longitudinal research study at the University of Rochester Neurology department and the physical therapist was impressed that my range of movement was remaining steady during my visits over the four years. It was due to my yoga practice.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), more than 25% of Americans between the ages of 18 – 64 years old have a disability impacting their mobility, vision, hearing, or cognition. This population is also more likely to have heart disease, stroke, diabetes, or cancer as compared with adults without disabilities. Numerous studies have shown that an accessible and online exercise program can decrease pain and improve strength, be an effective treatment strategy for symptoms of both anxiety and depression, and enhance mental well-being, improve sleep quality. and exercise motivation.

Natalie Graniela of New York City, professional dancer and Gyrokinesis trainer, has participated in the two previous May Movement Challenges as an instructor. Graniela shares, “Working with people who have specific problems has made me more sympathetic to me, but also more sympathetic to what people can do. And I’m grateful that I’m not the kind of person that only wants to train wonderful young dancers. I think I’ve been more successful because I’m happier working with people my age and people who are not movers, or just beginning to be movers or not dancers. And it’s much more rewarding to me and satisfying when I see that something that I am doing makes sense to all kinds of bodies.”

Registration to participate in the May Movement Challenge is open to all bodies with or without a chronic health condition or disability. Once registered for Saturday information sessions, participants will receive links to the weekly online classes. The event website includes video excerpts from previous years.

The May Movement Challenge is a project of the Glass Half Full with Leslie Krongold, Ed.D. podcast which launched in 2016. After her diagnosis of myotonic dystrophy in 1998, Krongold began facilitating support groups for adults with neuromuscular disease for the Muscular Dystrophy Association and the Myotonic Dystrophy Foundation. As a patient advocate, she has been a staunch promoter of a healthy diet, movement practice, and positive attitude.

Locally in Mendocino, CA Krongold has partnered with the Mendocino County Blue Zones Project and is leading a series of Walk & Roll Movement Moais. Shortly after she relocated to the coastal town in 2021, Krongold joined the Mendocino Land Trust’s Outdoor Social Club and realized that the beautiful natural world is not always accessible.

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