Exercise lowers health risks

Jan. 23, 2014 @ 05:23 PM

The Ellen Fitzgerald Senior Center in Monroe has a variety of fitness classes to help seniors stay active. 

Studies have shown that regular exercise can help lower risk for certain diseases, build strength, increase stamina, improve balance, prevent loss of bone density and other benefits. 

The Fitzgerald Center offers various classes including yoga, aerobics, seated range of motion and tai chi. 

“(They are) extremely popular,” Director Julia Mitchell said. 

Mitchell said the response has been “very positive.”

“It keeps (seniors) active and moving,” Mitchell said. “It just improves your general health.”

Mitchell said they always recommend that someone speak with their doctor before joining a fitness class. Seniors are welcome to try a class or come and watch one if they are not sure whether or not it is the right thing for them. 

For Monroe residents, classes are free of charge, residents outside of the city pay a $25 yearly fee. 

“I can’t say enough about our fitness classes,” Mitchell said. “I’m just really proud of what we have to offer.” 

The classes are taught by certified instructors and the courses are geared toward people who are older than 55. They can be modified and instructors encourage participants to listen to their bodies. 

“(Seniors) seem to enjoy being with peers,” Mitchell said. “It also seems that every individual that is in the class is here strictly for their health.” 

Tai Chi classes are offered on Mondays and started recently. Tai Chi has been shown to enhance cognitive functions in older adults. It also provides moderate aerobic and agility training.

The schedule is available on the Monroe website, under the Parks & Recreation tab. 

“We’d love for (seniors) to come and try it a couple of times,” Mitchell said. “(They are) welcome to come to see if it’s what they’re expecting and what their level is.”

She said they do not like to mail brochures, but recommend people come by and pick up a schedule and then return to look at a class or activity.