Will exercise for chocolate and friendship
Exercise is good for your health: physically, emotionally, mentally and don't forget socially! Just ask Alice McCarthy and Jackie Garvin, who have been exercising together at the Westlake Center for Community Services for about 15 years now. The widows first met each other in exercise class and have been great friends ever since.
Alice, who is 85, and Jackie, 78, find the classes at the Westlake Center "just right" for them, as the instructors work to their abilities. "We don't get on the floor," notes Alice, adding that it is very helpful to have chairs for some of their exercises. "We work with weights, exercise balls, bands and do some mild aerobics suited to our age groups."
Jackie likes that "the exercise is also very affordable and, since we meet at the Community Center we also do some of the other activities and trips together too. Everyone gets to know each other, and the wonderful people that I meet makes me keep wanting to come back." And they both do, faithfully, every Monday and Wednesday from 8:30-9:15 a.m. There are other offerings on other days/times as well, including therapeutic chair yoga, yoga for flexibility, tai chi, Asian exercise and Arthritis Foundation Exercise.
The complete schedule can be found in the Plus Fifty newsletter located on the city's website: www.cityofwestlake.org under the Community Services Department tab. Don't let the "Plus Fifty" scare you away though, these classes are offered to any adult regardless of age. The idea is that these classes can be offered to people in an "age-friendly" and "ability-friendly" environment. If you are someone who is a little intimidated about going to a traditional gym or group exercise class, this is a great alternative.
"Embracing Balancing" is another new class (this one is a six-week series) that is starting up. According to instructor Rob Shulman, this class will involve an energetic series of leg conditioning sequences. All experience levels are welcome!
Alice and Jackie will definitely be there. For Jackie, keeping in shape has meant that she can still do her own yardwork and shovel her own snow, and that is important to her. For Alice, she likes the regular schedule and social aspect. Both hope to recruit more men and women to their class. The more the merrier! And who knows, maybe there will be some chocolate involved as well (as suggested by their matching T-shirts).
I am the Director of the Community Services Department for the City of Westlake. I am also a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor.