MARQUETTE - Well, it might not be fitness in the purest sense, seeing the sessions begin with baked good treats, but that's just fine with the seniors who meet for exercise three mornings a week at the Marquette Senior Center.
"We need cookies for energy," joked Vi Dupras.
Twice a week, the seniors do an "armchair aerobics" session via audiotape. The third day is called Y Wednesdays.
From the left, Stella Mankowski, Vi Dupras and Virgina LaJoice follow along to an instructional tape during an exercise session at the Marquette Senior Center. Twice a week, the seniors use a recorded lesson and on Wednesdays, an instructor from the YMCA comes in to lead them in exercise. (Journal photo by Renee Prusi)
Donna Boyer works on flexibility during an exercise session Monday at the Marquette Senior Center. (Journal photo by Renee Prusi)
"That's when the girl from the YMCA comes in. And she cracks the whip," Dupras said, grinning as she added. "But we like to eat, drink and be merry."
All kidding aside, the exercise sessions are a hit with the seniors.
"We start at 10:30 and do an hour of exercise," Donna Boyer said. "Some are out the door then and some of us stick around to stretch and tone."
Senior exercise options
Jane Palmer, coordinator for the Marquette Senior Citizens Center, said there are several exercise options for seniors through the center:
- Fitness Class, 10:30 a.m. Monday and Friday. Seniors do "armchair aerobics" with the help of an audio tape.
- Y Wednesdays: 10:30 a.m., an instructor from the Marquette YMCA leads seniors through and hour of exercise.
- Tai-Chi, 10 a.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays, led by an instructor from Northern Michigan University. Palmer noted this class goes along with the semesters at NMU and when the winter semester begins, the class time will change to 10:30 a.m.
- Walking: the Baraga Gym is open for walkers from 7:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. Monday through Friday. Palmer said 13 times around the gym equals one mile and it's a good way to supplement other exercise programs, especially for those who prefer individual rather than group workouts.
For more information, call 228-0456.
The program has been offered at the center for many years.
"It has to be at least 30 years," Boyer said. "My mother used to come to the exercise program here and she's in her 90s."
The participants are mainly women, but a few brave men join in the fun as well.
"I just started about a month ago," said Don Constance.
"Herb, he's an oldtimer," said Dupras of Herb Anderson, the other male participant this gloomy Monday morning."
"The company's great," added Pat Day, another enthusiastic exerciser. "And the exercise helps me with my balance."
Boyer has been going to physical therapy and she her therapist was surprised by how much the class helped her along.
"This exercise really helps my range of motion," she said. "That floored my therapist. Even if you've been away for awhile, when you come back to do this, you find it comes back to you if you start gradually."
Stella Mankowski added: "You just feel better."
"You do what you can do. You need to keep moving," Day said. "One gal who comes here had a stroke a few years ago. She comes here regularly and it really helps her."
On any given morning, there can be as many as 20 seniors taking part in the exercise sessions.
A late arrival on this Monday morning was Judy Carlson.
"I don't want to miss it. I like the class," she said. "It gets my heart rate up. It makes you feel good."
Day said the class is a hit for a good reason.
"It's both something social and something healthy," she said.
For senior Norma Dobson, encouraging others to join in the fun is an easy recommendation.
"Come on down here," she said. "You will love it."
Renee Prusi can be contacted at 906-228-2500, ext. 253.