Seniors ‘Sneak’ Up on Daily Exercise

When you think of Silver Sneakers, you probably think of a sporty pair of tennis shoes. However for seniors attending the Johnson Family YMCA, it means organized camaraderie and fellowship combined with fitness and a healthy lifestyle. Every morning Monday through Friday around 7:30 a.m., the seniors eagerly line up and await the SilverSneaker weekly exercise class. SilverSneakers is a fitness program for seniors provided to members at no cost by their health care plan. With SilverSneakers, you have a fitness membership with free access to all basic YMCA amenities including SilverSneakers classes and assistance from a designated staff member.  Members enjoy classes such as Cardio Circuit, SilverSplash, SilverSneakers YogaStretch, CardioFit and Weight Circuit. Linda White is the SilverSneaker Johnson Family YMCA Trainer. Linda was certified through the SilverSneakers Humana program. “I started working out in 2006 because my grandkids would sleep in the bed with me and fuss over who would sleep on the pillow. There were many pillows on the bed so I didn’t understand what pillow? Well I found out the pillow they were talking about was my stomach!” Linda was more than embarrassed and thus she began her quest to not only train seniors, but to guide them to a better healthier lifestyle. Linda lost over 20 lbs and continues to keep off the pounds. Eventually Linda landed at the Johnson Family YMCA and began training the SilverSneakers. The SilverSneakers have classes 5 days a week. Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 8 – 12 p.m. there’s the basic fitness class that consist of increasing motor skills. From 11-12 p.m. it’s fitness for handicap individuals. The handicap class teaches participants how to walk with a cane, pamper their joints, knees and arms. Linda also trains handicap members with memory loss to remember the names of each member in the class. On Tuesday, Thursdays and Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 9.am is water aerobics. Tuesday and Thursday from 10 – 12 p.m. is stroke wellness. On Monday and Wednesday evenings from 6 – 7 p.m. is Water Cycling. There’s no set age to join the SilverSneakers. Members range in age from 55 – 90 years old! SilverSneaker member Pat Sims eagerly to remarked, “Exercising has improved my physical well being lowering my blood pressure, cholesterol levels and improving weight loss and energy level.” One other benefit that SilverSneaker’s enjoy are monthly and yearly trips to destination locations around the country. Many of the seniors have not had the opportunity to travel and Linda wanted to make sure that “all work and no play” would not become their mantra. As a result Linda began coordinating vacations and short jaunts to destinations either not too far from Jacksonville or trips just a plane ride away. SilverSneakers have visited Washington, D.C. for the anniversary of the March on Washington, President Barack Obama’s Inauguration, Zora Neale Hurston Festival and more! The next scheduled trip which is sold out is a trip to Las Vegas, Nevada in September; following is a trip to the Mule Festival in Calvary, Georgia. If you are a senior or looking to join an exercise group or ready to travel and fellowship, then the SilverSneaker’s are your group!  SilverSneakers is a nationwide program, so you can take classes and work out when you are traveling. SilverSneakers members may use any participating location in the nation. For more information contact the Johnson Family YMCA at 765-358 and ask for Linda White. Pictured sneaking in exercise is Mattie Reddick (age 74), Norma White (age 80), Patricia Sims (age 69), Deborah Myhand (age 61) and Peggy Tillie-Campbell (age 55).

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