New Fitness Programs for Seniors

Two new fitness programs—one designed to help improve balance and the other aimed at helping those with arthritis stay active—will be offered to older adults at the Peggy and Philip B. Crosby YMCA Wellness Center, as a result of a grant from the Winter Park Health Foundation.

The $13,920 grant will enable instructors at the Crosby YMCA Wellness Center to receive training in the two evidence-based programs–Enhance Fitness and Tai Chi: Moving for Better Balance.

(Evidence-based prevention programs closely replicate specific interventions that have been tested through randomized-controlled clinical trials with the results published in peer-reviewed journals. As a result of this rigor, evidence-based pro-grams translate into practical, effective community interventions that can provide proven health benefits to participants.)

Through the Enhance Fitness program, exercise instructors will teach simple, easy-to-learn movements that motivate those with arthritis to stay active throughout their lives. Each hour-long class will include cardiovascular, strength training, balance, and flexibility exercises and the fostering of strong social relationships between participants. Classes will be held three times per week for 16 weeks.

Classes are tentatively scheduled to start in May at the Crosby YMCA.

The Tai Chi: Moving for Better Balance program uses the principles and movements of Tai Chi to help older adults improve their balance and increase their confidence in doing everyday activities. The pro-gram includes eight Tai Chi forms, derived from the traditional Yang-style Tai Chi, that emphasize weight shifting, postural alignment, and coordinated movements. Synchronized breathing aligned with Tai Chi movements is also integrated into the movement routine. Each one-hour class will include instructions in new movements as well as review of movements from previous classes. Classes will run for 12 consecutive weeks and progress from easy to more difficult. Modifications can be made to accommodate participants with mobility issues.

During the one-year start-up period, both programs will be offered at the Crosby YMCA Wellness Center to older adults regardless of their membership status. The goal is to create a model that can be replicated in community settings outside of the YMCA.

Up to 100 people per program will be served with this initial funding. However, once instructors are trained and certified, they are equipped with the credentials to continue serving additional people in future sessions. In addition to funding training and equipment, the WPHF grant will initially subsidize the program for non-members.