YMCA staff encourages seniors to get active

Published 9:56 am Wednesday, May 26, 2010

The Atmore Area YMCA wants seniors in the area to get up and get active.

Today is National Senior Fitness Day and as a part of the day, seniors are encouraged to visit the Y and get in shape.

One option seniors have for exercise is the YMCA’s SilverSneakers® Fitness Program, which is covered by 30 health plans nationwide to those who are Medicare eligible.

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The SilverSneakers® Fitness Program offers physical activity, health education and social events to seniors looking to get active.

There are a variety of classes offered through SilverSneakers® including Cardio Circuit, YogaStretch and SilverSplash® and Muscular Strength & Range of Movement, which is the lone class offered by the Atmore Area YMCA.

Ross Terry, the youth programs director for the Atmore Area YMCA, said the class offered in Atmore is a chair exercise with simple stretching.

“They do a basic stretch,” Terry said. “It’s a chair exercise where they can work at their own pace. They are able to do the exercises standing or sitting. There are several different levels.”

The program incorporates the use of stretch bands, balls and hand weights in the hour-long exercise class.

SilverSneaker® instructors focus on increasing participants strength, range of motion, balance flexibility and coordination.

Terry said not just anyone is able to be a SilverSneakers® instructor.

“The instructors for the program go through a special certification process with the different exercieses and equipment,” Terry said.

Each exercise is unique in that it enhances independent living skills and improves general health conditions.

“As long as a person can do something on their own without help, they need to do it,” Scott said. “There are daily things that everybody has to do. We need to get our feet up to get in and out of the car, step up and down on curbs or steps and get in and out of the bath or shower. We want to do those things by ourselves and these exercises can help seniors with those things.”

Aside from exericse, the program encourages socialization among the seniors that participate.

Terry said that SilverSneakers® is great for seniors to get active and involved with one another.

“We push for those involved in SilverSneakers® to get together and have potluck dinners or Christmas parties,” Terry said. “We want them to do things together. It’s a great program for socialization.”

Scott offers her class personal attention paying close attention to participant’s special needs and providing them with a fun, an engaging social atmosphere.

For more information regarding the SilverSneakers Fitness Program contact Theresa Scott at the Atmore YMCA by calling 368-9622.

SilverSneakers® instructor Theresa Scott works through exercises with Elsie Nall. | Photo by Chandler Myers