New exercise class for elderly taking off
A group of Merrittonians is getting fit while they sit.
The Civic Centre is playing host to Sit Fit, a new fitness class designed for seniors and people with movement challenges that uses chairs as props to aid with balance as participants perform strength and muscle toning exercises.
Instructor Lila Murphy said the 12 or so members of the first offering of the eight-week class range from relatively physically fit to people limited by operations.
“We’ve got people who’ve had hip operations, knee operations, shoulder operations, and arthritis, so there’s limited mobility for some of them,” she said, adding that others could probably run marathons.
Murphy said hers is one of the only exercise classes offered in Merritt that specifically targets the elderly or people with range of movement challenges. She got the idea from a fitness conference, and the ball started rolling when her mother-in-law brought the idea to Merritt’s Taking Off Pounds Sensibly (TOPS) group.
“Once it went to TOPS, they just all got super excited,” she said. “I went there one day and told them what to expect, and there were about eight ladies registered that night. And they just keep coming.”
Murphy said she tries to incorporate different exercises and formats in each class. Monday’s class used resistance bands, balance balls, and light free weights, as well as chairs in a circuit-style workout.
“Some days we do more sitting, but sometimes I do more standing and low-impact aerobics,” she said. “You can do all of these at home as well, and there are so many exercises out there, it’s just endless.”
Murphy said this class fills the gap in fitness and health awareness that is prevalent in an older generation.
“It’s amazing how many seniors are involved in exercise — but on the flip side, some of these women have never ever been to an exercise class in their lives. Back when they were young, nobody was exercising,” Murphy said, adding that the class is first-time exerciser friendly.
With only two of the eight classes to go, Murphy said it was a successful first run of a Sit Fit class, and the Civic Centre will be hosting another session in April.
For more information or to register for the next session, call the Merritt Civic Centre at 250-315-1050. The eight-week class costs $40.