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Health and Humanities Launches with ‘Aging and the Arts’

Health and Humanities Launches with ‘Aging and the Arts’

Interactive program promotes healthy aging by improving physical and mental well-being.
UArizona staff and students learn about the Feldenkrais Method, which uses movement to increase self-awareness and improve function. The method will be taught during the “Aging and the Arts” series.

To launch its new Health and Humanities programming for the campus and community, the University of Arizona Health Sciences is offering a free education and exercise series to promote better health and wellness for an aging population.

Andrew Belser demonstrates movement techniques from the Feldenkrais Method to a group of students, faculty and staff in the Forum at the Health Sciences Innovation Building.Co-hosted by the university's Arizona Arts division, “Aging and the Arts” will take place on eight successive Tuesdays, starting Jan. 12, streaming live from the Forum at the Health Sciences Innovation Building in Tucson. This is the first series to be featured as part of Health Sciences’ focus on health and the humanities that will explore the connections between health care, science, art, literature, music, philosophy and other cultural aspects of human society.

"Aging and the Arts" will demonstrate awareness through movement with mental and physical exercises from the Feldenkrais Method, led by Andrew Belser, certified Feldenkrais instructor and director of the School of Theatre, Film and Television at the College of Fine Arts.

Wellness through movement

The Feldenkrais Method uses small and methodical body movements to promote flexibility, coordination and overall wellness, Belser said. He will demonstrate all of the movements, which can easily be done at home.

Andrew Belser, certified Feldenkrais instructor and director of the School of Theatre, Film and Television at the University of Arizona College of Fine Arts.Belser is a former high school and college distance runner who has been using the method for pain management since the 1980s. He completed a four-year certification to be an instructor in 2018.

“After looking for relief in many other practices and physical therapies, Feldenkrais was the only thing that alleviated my pain,” said Belser.

He’s since witnessed the many physical and mental benefits of paying closer attention to posture and movement, and the profound impact this self-awareness has had for clients and himself. “I sleep better, I think differently, I am sitting and typing this from a different position.”

Focus on aging

The “Aging and the Arts” series builds on Health Sciences’ commitment to humanities-focused programming to inspire the next-generation of health care leaders, practitioners and researchers to be holistic problem solvers who are able to form meaningful connections with patients. That commitment extends to health and humanities offerings for the community.

Jennie Greb and Alex Murillo practice a motion stretch, using their eyes to follow their hands. The exercise demonstrates how much further we move when we use all of our body. “Our goal is to provide unique and accessible programming that enables the public to participate in health-related education and research in an interactive and engaging setting,” said Julia White, assistant director of engagement and events for UArizona Health Sciences.

In addition to promoting the new series on campus, White will tap into community partners to promote the new series, including the Tucson Center for Aging, the Pima County Health Department, the YMCA and the Tucson Museum of Art.

“With our virtual ‘Aging and the Arts’ series dedicated to improving your health and quality of life, we can continue practicing physical distancing while remaining connected as a community and improving our collective wellness,” said White.

"Aging and the Arts” will livestream weekly on Tuesdays at 10 a.m. from Jan. 12 through March 2. See a full list of session topics and register here.

Anyone interested in attending a session in person should contact Julia White at Parking passes will be provided. All attendees will be required to follow the university’s COVID-19 campus safety protocols for physical distancing and gathering in small groups, as well as the university’s Administrative Directive on the use of face coverings.