Home News Local News A workout that starts when you sit down
A workout that starts when you sit down
Lovers of Latin dance pop would have recognized some of the music playing at the Baker City Senior Center one morning last week:
“Waka Waka (This Time For Africa),” “El Amor, El Amor” and (what some consider a club classic) Lou Bega’s 1999 version of “Mambo No. 5.”
People in the kitchen preparing lunch for the regular weekday crowd of seniors took turns coming out to the dining room-exercise area. They enjoyed listening to the music and watching the ladies kick, tap and march to the beats — often without getting up from their chairs.
“You can do everything seated,” instructor Shauna Coleman told the participants about 20 minutes into the session. “It’s up to you.”
The recent two-week trial of Chair Zumba at the Senior Center is considered a success. Everyone was smiling broadly and chatting enthusiastically.
“This is great fun,” said Sally Hewitt. “It’s lively. Energetic."
“I’m addicted. I’ll be here!” Yvonne Pought exclaimed as soon she heard from Coleman, who directs the Baker County Family YMCA, that it’s likely Chair Zumba soon would be available at the Senior Center once or twice a week.
“It’s the most fun I’ve ever had in an exercise class,” Pought said.
Participants alternated between sitting and standing during the 30-minute session.
The routines are a little slower but provide ample leg and upper body movement even for those who stayed seated throughout. There’s no jumping, high kicking or other bouncy moves that could cause pain in an older or injured person’s hips and knees, Coleman said.
“The basics are similar,” she said. “Especially remembering to breathe and to sit up straight and suck in your belly button. I tell people that in the regular class, too.”
Zumba has been around for more than a decade and has numerous variations so people of all ages and physical conditions can enjoy the music and movement.
It was invented out of necessity. An exercise instructor in Colombia, Alberto Perez, forgot his mix tape for class one day and substituted it with his own favorite salsas and meringues. The exercise movements were improvised to go with the music and it quickly became popular around the world, according to Zumba informational material.
There also is a Zumba Gold session at the YMCA. It’s a low-impact dance and exercise class for Baby Boomers and those with sensitive joints and hips, as well as regular Zumba classes available through the YMCA.
Coleman was giving out guest passes to the senior center participants so they could see if they want to join the YMCA. Seniors only pay about $30 a month and the price includes use of the pool at Sam-O Swim Center.
A strength and conditioning class using resistance bands, stretching and yoga moves is being tested now at the Senior Center. It’s also created and paced for seniors.
Cost for these outreach classes at the Senior Center still needs to be determined. The benefits are numerous and only begin with improved physical well being, however, Coleman said.
“Coordinated arm-leg movements are good for the brain,” she explained. “So is trying something new.”
The social aspect of taking classes such as these also improve one’s mental health because it provides opportunities to meet with others to “talk about their lives, their day and anything else,” Coleman said.
Anyone interested in improving their health by exercise could modify any YMCA class offering so its best suits their needs and capabilities, she emphasized.