September 12, 2012

Fitting in fitness


---- — PLATTSBURGH — Barbara Eldredge’s motivation to get out of bed is exercise.

She has attended the Plattsburgh YMCA’s Enhanced Fitness Program since 2000.

“It keeps me moving,” said Eldredge, who lives in the Town of Plattsburgh. “I have diabetes. It helps me. If I wasn’t coming to this, I think I wouldn’t be moving now.”

The Enhanced Fitness Program is a national program designed for active older adults.

“It’s an evidence-based program,” said Patti Warner, senior program director. “Testing is done on individuals every six months to measure progress. It focuses on strength training, aerobic fitness, flexibility and balance.”

Participants need a written doctor’s recommendation before embarking on the program.

“They can observe it and give it a try to see if it’s something doable for them. We encourage them to go at their own pace and work within their abilities. It’s a fun group.”

Classes are held 8:30 to 9:15 a.m. Mondays through Thursdays and are led by Warner, Teresa Landry and Rafaela Provost.


“We are certified Enhanced Fitness instructors,” Warner said. “We were taught the way this program is to be conducted. The class involves a warm-up, some mild cardio exercises to music. They get into it. We have a little cool-down.”

Some exercises are conducted with weighted cuffs, she said.

“Little half-pound weights are inserted. As they make progress, they can add more weight. Likewise, if they need to work within a limitation, they can remove it.

“We go through seated exercises working the upper body and standing exercises with the weighted cuffs down to the ankles. We do stretching. And that’s the class.”

The class is free for YMCA members and a suggested donation of $1 per session for non-members age 60 and older.


A senior water-exercise class is held from 11 a.m. to noon Wednesdays.

“It focuses on range of motion, balance and general muscle strengthening and mild aerobic activity,” Warner said. “That is led by a nationally certified water-fitness instructor Desiree Monroe. Once again, you don’t have to be a YMCA member. It’s suggested donation.

“It’s great. Like the gym program, it’s an excellent way for others to meet new people and for socialization. They do activities outside their swim just as we do in our gym program.”

Seniors have taken shopping excursions to Burlington and are contemplating a ride on the Adirondack Scenic Trail or Whiteface gondola.

“It’s a nice way for people to meet others and share experiences,” Warner said. “They are very interesting and exciting people to be around.”


Attendance drops during the summer with many grandparents providing child care for their grandchildren.

“It’s also been so hot. They prefer to go out walking in the evening. We have a little side program, a walking program. You wear a pedometer. At the end of the month, they tally up how many steps they made.”

One 87-year-old man walked 20,000 steps in one day. A mile averages 2,000 steps.


Joints in Motion, a water-fitness class, targets seniors, who exercise in the pool’s shallows. The class is held from 11 a.m. to noon Tuesdays and Thursdays.

“A lot of people, seniors or not, they’re not comfortable in the deep water,” Warner said. “It’s gentle movement. We want to promote a healthy lifestyle and improve your lifestyle so you can continue with your daily activities — picking up bag of groceries, bend over and tie your shoes, play with your grandchildren and get out and enjoy life.”


H2O Circuit Fitness is offered 11 a.m. to noon Mondays and Fridays.

“It’s more a step up from the Joints in Motions with a more toning aspect and a little more aerobics. It can be in the shallow or deep end (of the pool). We don’t force anyone.

“We have a lifeguard on duty, and all our water-fitness instructors are certified.”

Joints in Motion and H2O Circuit Fitness are free to YMCA members. The cost to nonmembers is $65 per session or they can purchase a $50 punch card, which has no expiration date.

“Every time you come, they punch your card,” Warner said. “You’re not locked in. You can share a punch card with someone else. You can mix it up according to your schedule.”


For more information on classes geared toward senior citizens, contact the YMCA, 17 Oak St., Plattsburgh, phone 561-4290.


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