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Benefits of exercise for back health to be focus of Thursdays at the U

| Linda Tollefsrud

Photo caption: Nancy Keeler (left) and Pam Carlson are the featured presenters for the Nov. 16 Thursdays at the U lecture at UW-Eau Claire – Barron County.

“Oh, my aching back!” is a common complaint. According to the Centers for Disease Control, in 2019, 39% of adults had back pain.

On Nov. 16 from 12:30-1:30 p.m., the Thursdays at the U series at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire – Barron County will welcome Pam Carlson and Nancy Keeler to talk about the role of exercise in strengthening core muscles, thus making everyday activities easier to accomplish while putting less strain on one’s back.

The presentation will be in the Blue Hills Lecture Hall in Ritzinger Hall and will be livestreamed at

Carlson has been a personal and team trainer and has taught group exercise classes for the past eight years. Although she loves assisting people in achieving their fitness goals, she also refers to her backyard full of shade-loving annuals and perennials as her “happy place.” As a gardener, she knows the importance of maintaining a strong core as there are always weeds to pull, rocks to move and transplanting to be done.

Keeler was diagnosed with severe scoliosis (curvature of the spine) at age 12 and wore a back brace during many of her teenage years. She now is 68 and has mastered her lower-back pain through regular exercise and healthy eating as an alternative to back braces and surgery. Other people with scoliosis may continue to worsen and require wheelchairs in their elder years.

The Thursdays at the U weekly series is free and open to the public thanks to support from the UW-Eau Claire – Barron County Foundation. Neither seating reservations nor parking permits are needed for campus guests.

In addition to the livestream option, the recordings are archived on the Thursdays at the U webpage.

The next lecture in the series will be Nov. 30, with Richard Terrill presenting “Writing the Outdoors.”

For more information about the series, call the campus at 715-788-6244 or email Dr. Linda Tollefsrud, the series organizer, at