Senior Center's Fitness Room Rolls Out Red Carpet
Moore County residents who are 50 years old and more can keep their New Year's resolutions alive throughout the coming months of 2009, especially if they pertain to a healthy and involved lifestyle.
The staff at the Senior Enrichment Center, located on U.S. 15-501, just two miles north of the Pinehurst Traffic Circle, is rolling out the red carpet for the increasing number of county residents who participate in a variety of programs at the center or use its fully equipped fitness room.
Esther Zolman, the recently appointed fitness room coordinator, is an enthusiastic advocate of the countless benefits of boosting a person's physical activity.
"It's the best thing you can do for yourself to get out and get moving," she says.
Reduced stress, increased energy, improvement in range of motion, strength and endurance are just a few of the advantages that can be gained from regular use of the equipment in the fitness room.
"For instance, you can try a treadmill, or the seated stepper, or a recumbent bicycle, among the variety of machines," Zolman says. "There are also a stretching area and free weights."
Regular exercise classes have also been started this month. Choosing three classes that she believes would appeal to most people, Esther Zolman has scheduled a class in "Better Balance" for all fitness levels; one called "Strong Bodies," teaching beginner to intermediate level resistance training; and finally, "Core and More," focusing on balancing strength and flexibility in the abdominals, lower back, hips and shoulders.
Zolman got her start in the fitness field by taking a step aerobics class 12 years ago.
"My instructor suggested I learn how to teach the class, so she would have some back-up during her absences," she says. "I began to study the various aspects of physical training, progressed through Pilates and yoga and got my certificate as a personal trainer."
Problems of inoperable equipment over the course of the last several months coupled with a lack of supervision discouraged some former users of the room.
"Now everything is in good working order, and I am delighted to be on staff as the coordinator of the fitness room, so I wish everyone who dropped out would give us another chance," Zolman says. "In addition, I welcome newcomers to come and see the variety of machines we have to offer."
The procedure for using the fitness room includes permission from an individual's medical provider as well as attending an orientation session, which is scheduled weekly on a pre-appointment basis. During the orientation, everyone has the opportunity to try out each piece of equipment. The cost for using the facilities of the fitness room is a moderate $2 a day, including participation in the classes.
Opportunities for Older Adults
Exercise classes are not the only instruction that is offered by the Senior Enrichment Center. The list is impressive and encompasses ballroom and line dancing, two art classes a week -- one in drawing and watercolors, the other in oil painting. One of the most popular is a monthly cooking class, and for those who like to work with their hands, there are rug hooking, knitting and quilting with the Sandhills Quilters Guild.
Another popular group is called "A Trip Down Memory Lane," in which participants learn how to document treasured memories in a memoir-writing session. And then there are the people who have always wanted to learn how to play an instrument, or want to revive their long-forgotten talent. The New Horizons Band rehearses at the center and is open to all seniors who want to express themselves musically.
Social opportunities are also on the schedule, with weekly or semi-monthly gatherings for canasta, cribbage, pinochle, social bridge and mah jongg players. Jill Sherman, program coordinator and Medicare counselor at the center, oversees the scheduling of all these events, as well as the special presentations that are worked into a full program of activities.
The presentations during the month of January included a health screening and lecture on osteoporosis by a physical therapist and a doctor from FirstHealth, and a session on living wills, led by Archie Stevens, chaplain with Liberty HomeCare and Hospice. Karen Backall of Appalachian Physical Therapy in Olmsted Village gives a presentation every other month. This month she will focus on stress and relaxation with tips on unwinding and de-stressing.
Emphasizing that all of the instructors or presenters are volunteers, Jill Sherman says, "A good number of them have come from the tours of the center that we have given to interested people. It amazes us that a year and a half since we opened, there are still individuals who come for a tour. During the course of their visit, we always invite people who would be willing to share a skill or special knowledge to sign up."
And then there is the 15-year-old local Boy Scout who is also a volunteer at the center.
Sherman mentions that recently a Wii video game was added to the friendly atmosphere of the lobby where there are magazines and newspapers for reading as well as a challenging jigsaw puzzle waiting to be solved.
When the Wii was installed, she was approached by the youngster who was working on a merit badge and in that connection offered to teach seniors to play the game. Even though he has completed work on the badge, he still volunteers to give instruction on a monthly basis.
According to Terri Prots, the Senior Enrichment Center was used by more than 550 people each week during 2008. In addition to the programs, classes and presentations that attract Moore County residents from ages 50 to 100, the center, which has been certified as a Senior Center of Excellence by the North Carolina Division of Aging and Adult Services, also offers important services to the senior population.
Caregiver support, a Diner's Club program which provides a hot noonday meal and interesting activities, and home health care delivered by a staff of aides under the direction of two registered nurses, are some of the other ways in which the needs of the senior population are met. In addition, the local office of RSVP (Retired Senior Volunteer Program) is housed at the center.
"It's not just a building, it's the people inside that make all the programs successful," says Prots. "Our mission says it all: 'To provide services that promote the well-being of older adults.' I think we are attempting to meet that goal every day. It is a pleasant environment, and each member of the staff is committed to making the center a cheerful and positive experience for the seniors of Moore County.
"We have a 1.6 million-dollar budget, of which half comes from the county, and the other portion from federal and state grants. Certainly a lot of gratitude must be given to the county and the Board of County Commissioners for their continued support of our efforts."
For more information on the services and programs of the Moore County Senior Enrichment Center, call (910) 215-0900.
Contact Pinehurst freelance writer Mary Elle Hunter at email@example.com.
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