Former PdC student develops mind and body fitness website

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Alison (Brady) Weinlaeder spent a good portion of her childhood in Prairie du Chien. She’s now a speech language pathologist in St. Paul, and has developed a new brain and body fitness website: Cardiomelon.

Cardiomelon trainer Suzy Levi demonstrates alternating leg lifts and practices her balance in one of many cardio, balance and strength fitness and brain challenge videos available to subscribers of Cardiomelon.

By Correne Martin

 

A speech language professional who spent part of her childhood in Prairie du Chien has developed an innovative new brain and body fitness website named Cardiomelon. 

Alison (Brady) Weinlaeder, 35, who currently lives in St. Paul, Minn., is a speech language pathologist at a hospital-based outpatient rehabilitation clinic in the city. She cares for patients who suffer from complications due to stroke, brain injury and degenerative diseases like dementia. 

Finding that many of her patients earnestly wanted to improve their brain vitality and strength, and knowing how beneficial cardiovascular exercise can be for dementia patients, Alison was inspired to start the website. Cardiomelon pairs thinking exercises with cardio workouts to support adults in keeping their minds and bodies strong. There is a specific focus on aging participants. 

“Members are reporting that the website is particularly helpful right now when many may not feel comfortable going out for exercise or are missing social and physical activities that are so vital as we age,” she remarked. 

Alison was born and raised in Prairie du Chien, and went to school here until the age of 10, when her family moved to River Falls. She is now married with two young children. 

The spark for Cardiomelon ignited for Alison last September, in fact. But, then the COVID-19 pandemic hit. She wasn’t sure about launching her concept until she realized that, because of coronavirus-related health concerns, people who needed help were stuck at home. So it made sense that this was the right time. 

“A lot of seniors have been isolated. If they’re unable to go exercise at gyms, that can lead to cognitive decline as well as physical issues,” Alison said. “Keeping the brain healthy is so important at any age, but especially for seniors.”

After age 40, people start to use 5 percent less of their brain volume each decade, Alison noted. 

Cardiomelon.com officially launched the second week of April, offering mind and body fitness videos anyone can do at home. It pairs cardio, balance and strength exercises with brain activities that challenge the memory, attention, problem solving, math and language. The website is accessible via any internet-compatible device. 

Becoming a member requires completing a simple form and a minimal per-month subscription. Basic and advanced memberships are available. As a basic member, users receive three, 20-30-minute brain and body fitness videos each week to be watched any time, as often as desired. With advanced, people will have unlimited access to all the videos, past and present, plus they will receive select videos meeting specific needs for intensity, preferred trainer, workout length, etc.

“There’s also a free 10-day trial, which is a nice way to see if you like it first,” Alison shared. “But it’s really affordable, because I didn’t want cost to be a barrier.”

Alison herself is not a physical trainer, so she hired three physical trainers from St. Paul who, she feels, physically reflect the average types of patients who will be doing Cardiomelon. She developed the website herself and superimposed brain challenge prompts over the cardio exercise videos. 

For example, while a trainer demonstrates and leads you through alternating leg lifts and balance practice, you are asked to test your brain power by listing as many countries as possible that start with the letter “S.”

“With every exercise, we offer modifications. Whether you can only sit in a chair or you’ve had knee problems, there’s a modification. We’ve been very mindful of safety,” Alison said. “We also have more advanced moves for those who want them.”

Thanks to a program at the college Alison graduated from, the University of St. Thomas Middlebury College, in Vermont, she has also acquired two small business-focused interns to assist her in this venture.

So far, during the first two months of Cardiomelon, Alison said it’s on track to reach 100 members very soon. The feedback given thus far, on the Cardiomelon Facebook page, has all been very positive, she added. 

“Most members are between 45 and 65. There is an 85-year-old woman and she said she really enjoys the exercises,” she shared. 

Though the numbers are satisfying, it’s not exactly about that for Alison, who still works as a speech language therapist. 

It’s more about helping others: “I have empathy for my patients. I just hope this can be a resource for people to keep their brains sharp.”

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