Posted by  //  February 20, 2012  //  Local Business

Today, millions of older Americans are experiencing a higher quality of life by taking a responsible approach to their personal wellness. The Arthritis Foundation recommends that starting with short amounts of exercise will actually help reduce the effects of arthritis. Daily movement will keep the body limber, and help prevent falls or other injuries. Check with your physician before starting an exercise program. They may have suggestions as to what type of exercise would be best for you.

The YWCA of Cortland offers an array of fitness activities for seniors, and recently became a site for the Healthways® SilverSneakers® program. SilverSneakers is a benefit for many Medicare supplemental insurance plans. Enrollees of these plans may use the YWCA exercise programs free of charge. Many other health insurance companies provide an exercise benefit as part of their coverage. To find out if your policy offers SilverSneakers®, or other compensation for exercise, call your insurance carrier’s customer service department.

If your insurance does not provide an exercise benefit, the programs at the YWCA are very affordable due to a senior discount. Two week passes are available free of charge to allow you to sample our programs before purchasing anything.

For those who enjoy the water, there are several different aquatic exercise programs to choose from. They include; Water Works, a one-hour light intensity class that includes aerobic activity with muscle toning exercises, and Joint Venture, a specialty class that follows the recommendations of the Arthritis Foundation to keep all the joints of the body limber. For those who prefer a more vigorous intensity level, Splash Aerobics and Aqua Zumba® are available as well. The pool at the YWCA is maintained at 87 degrees, and there is a pool lift to assist anyone who finds it difficult to get in and out of the water. The YWCA also is equipped with an accessible dressing room for our members in wheelchairs.

For those who prefer to exercise on land, the SilverSneakers® group exercise class is designed to increase strength, range of movement, agility, balance and coordination and to improve participants’ functional capacities, physical fitness level and sense of well-being. This class is appropriate for individuals who are fit and active as well as those who are sedentary, intimidated, unfamiliar with exercise, and/or those who enjoy a positive social environment. SilverSneakers® meets Monday and Thursday from 10:15-11:15 am. Visitors are welcome to come try a class at any time. The YWCA offers many other fitness classes including Yoga, Zumba Gold® , and more. To improve balance and core strength, Tai Chi classes for beginners and advanced levels are offered on Tuesday and Thursday in the late-morning and early afternoon.

Recent studies have shown that weight training for seniors has been very beneficial for increasing strength and bone density. Weight Training exercise programs can be adapted to an individual’s needs and fitness level. The YWCA Weight Training program includes an appointment for assessment and fitness testing. A health history is taken, and any special needs are discussed before beginning a program. Once a new member has started their program, the Weight Room staff monitors their initial workouts until they feel comfortable exercising on their own. The YWCA’s new state-of-the-art Co-Ed Fitness Center is slated to open in April, and our Women-Only Weight Room is moving to a new location on the 2nd, floor.

The YWCA is adding program space, due to open in April 2012. This new space includes a large room for aerobics and other functions, and a gymnasium. The gymnasium will offer time slots for safe, indoor walking, pick-up basketball, volleyball and more! In addition to more changing areas in the pool locker room, a new locker room is opening for men. Both locker rooms are equipped with accessible showers and bathrooms.

Physical fitness aside, the social aspect of the YWCA is very important to our members. Many friendships have been formed over time, and there is a real sense of family among our members. For more information on the YWCA programs, visit the YWCA at 14 Clayton Ave., or call 753-9651. Program information is also available on line at www.cortlandywca.org.

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