Sunday, September 14, 2014

Exercise keeps seniors moving

By KATE SHELTON, Herald Staff Writer | 8/13/2014

RICHMOND — It’s more than an exercise session, class members said. It’s a move toward a more healthy life.

Seniors in southern Franklin County are strengthening their bodies twice a week in an hour-long exercise session organized by the East Central Kansas Aging and Disability Resource Center. The sessions for seniors start 10 a.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays at the Richmond Community Building, 205 E. Central, Richmond.

RICHMOND — It’s more than an exercise session, class members said. It’s a move toward a more healthy life.

Seniors in southern Franklin County are strengthening their bodies twice a week in an hour-long exercise session organized by the East Central Kansas Aging and Disability Resource Center. The sessions for seniors start 10 a.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays at the Richmond Community Building, 205 E. Central, Richmond.

Jesica Steele, intern and health and wellness specialist for the agency, leads the class of about 10 people and teaches seniors different exercises. Her favorite part of leading the group is to see how excited seniors get about the sessions, she said.

During the summer when Steele leads the group, the two days are split between a video routine and an exercise routine she brings to class.

On the days that she brings an exercise routine, she said, the class sometimes plays chair volleyball, a crowd favorite. The seniors sit in a chair and use a beach ball to play.

“If they could do that every day, they would,” Steele said.

When there isn’t a leader in the other seasons, the seniors still gather at the Richmond Community Building and follow a video routine both days.

Patriots Bank recently donated a new monitor to the class for the exercise routines, Phyllis Rossman, a class member, said, which has proven helpful.

Seniors typically participate in armchair aerobics and light weights, working on mobility and range of motion, Leslea Rockers, special projects and Senior Health Insurance Counseling for Kansans coordinator, said. Armchair aerobics give seniors a way to get their heart rates up and perform several types of aerobic exercises without the risk of falling down.

“One reason I came here, it was 21 years ago last Friday that I was in a bad wreck, and the doctors told me I’d never walk again,” Ron Ball, 77, Princeton, said. “I think this has really helped me.”

Ball has been attending the exercise class for about eight years, he said.

Seniors can stand up if they are able and perform some exercises, but a chair always is nearby, Steele said.

The classes also work with resistance bands and consist of memory exercises. Sessions are intended to improve balance, memory and problem solving. The class also can provide a sense of belonging, by being with other seniors, and can help fight depression and loneliness, according to the agency.

“We work on brain exercises for mental sharpness,” Steele said. “We also work on arm strength, leg strength, as well as coordination.”

The aging agency also offers health and wellness classes at Burlington Senior Center, 202 Neosho St., Burlington, Osage County Senior Center, 604 Market St, Osage City, and Sunflower Plaza, 701 S. Poplar, Ottawa.

Herald Staff Writer Clinton Dick contributed to this report.

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