Berna Veach

Going Above And Beyond to Change Lives

Berna Veach, age 76, has been active her whole life, starting with tap and ballet as a young girl and moving onto running and biking as an adult.

“It seemed like I was always physical. It was just a way of doing things. It got me to venture out,” she said. “I was like the energizer bunny, going all the time.” Then everything changed. A series of traumatic injuries and a health scare took a toll on Berna’s body and left her in extreme pain all the time. But she wasn’t ready to give up. With support from Sun Health Wellness, Berna got connected to strength training classes at Sun Health Center for Health & Wellbeing and Wellness Specialist Alex Stark M.S.

Today, she enjoys an active lifestyle and has learned to manage her pain thanks to her work with Alex. She credits the strength training program and wellness team for boosting her quality of life.

“Everyone here has been so nice to me…they always make me feel like I’m special,” Berna said.

Staying healthy

Moderate physical activity can help ensure healthy aging, and has been proven to prevent age-related diseases, increase energy, improve sleep quality and maintain a healthy weight.

Without regular physical activity, bodies tend to grow weaker in four areas that are essential to everyday living: strength, balance, flexibility and endurance. This can make it more difficult to engage in daily activities and manage self-care, which is necessary for maintaining independence.

Berna was used to living a full and independent life. At a time when many choose to retire, Berna continues working at Trader Joe’s doing cooking demonstrations and managing her health issues. When inflammation from the injuries set in, Berna decided to take action.

“Being so athletic as a child and into my teen and adult years, I knew I had to do something,” she said.

Increasing quality of life

She became aware of information about strength training in Sun Health’s LiveWell magazine and figured she should give it a try. After an exercise class one day, a meeting with Alex changed her life.

They discussed her health issues and Alex introduced Berna to a stretching technique called PNF, or proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation. PNF involves the stretching and contracting of the muscle group being targeted.

“A lot of the pain is caused by imbalances between the sides of the body, so what we mostly did was stretching,” Alex said. “You can see a lot of improvement in a short period of time.”

With guidance from Alex, Berna began doing stretches at home. At the same time, she continues with the strength training classes led by DeAnn Straw. She has increased her range of motion and decreased her pain.

“As long as she’s staying active, she shouldn’t need to come back (for PNF),” Alex said.

Berna was thrilled to connect with Alex.

“After eight years of suffering, I couldn’t believe that he was able to help me,” Berna said with happy tears in her eyes. “He went the extra mile.”

Sun Health Center for Health & Wellbeing prides itself on its staff who go above and beyond to ensure their clients feel welcome and get the help and support they need to live healthier, happier lives.

Berna looks forward to her weekly classes at Sun Health Center for Health & Wellbeing, saying, “I’m so thankful to have found Alex and the strength training classes at the Center. They’ve done so much to alleviate my pain.”

To view our current list of class offerings including strength training, please visit


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