February 20, 2013

Senior Vitality designed to promote active lifestyles

Wellness Center offers activities to stay active, healthy


---- — PLATTSBURGH — At 72, Maureen DeCarlo remains dedicated to an active lifestyle and promotes regular exercise as a way to stay healthy and in good physical shape.

DeCarlo is a member of the Wellness Center at PARC and has been participating in the center’s Senior Vitality Program for the past 2½ years.

The program promotes routine activities through a variety of exercise techniques.

“I didn’t like the treadmill and other machines,” DeCarlo said of her decision to switch from the center’s cardiovascular equipment to a more hands-on light muscle-toning program.

“I like to be with a bunch of people (while she works out). I have enjoyed the friendships that have developed.”


Light muscle toning, which is run by fitness expert and certified instructor Ian Passino, is one of several choices members have as part of the Senior Vitality Program. Other activities include aqua aerobics, Zumba gold, and Aoninagi karate programs.

“We focus on cardiovascular health as well as an overall increase in fitness and well-being,” Passino said of the light muscle-toning program. “We also emphasize the use of proper form to prevent injury while exercising.”

The class, which is held three times a week for one-hour settings, offers a balanced program for experienced participants like DeCarlo as well as basic routines for newcomers.

“We like to keep the activities fun, but we also want participants to feel the benefit in the exercises,” Passino said.

People who have not been exercising regularly can establish a routine they will be able to continue to grow with as they become more confident, he added.

“Fitness isn’t something that comes quickly. It can take up to 12 weeks before someone starts to notice improvements, but we’re dedicated to helping people” reach their fitness goals.

Light muscle-toning exercises are perfect for seniors who are looking for ways to help stay active, he added.

“It does a wonder of good for me,” DeCarlo said. “If people are having problems, Ian is great at working with them to help them learn how to do things properly.”


Mike and Ila Daley have also been involved in light muscle toning for about 2½ years. They were also originally using the cardiovascular equipment but noticed the toning group that was using the facility’s gym and decided to give it a try.

“It’s been excellent,” Ila said.

“It’s much more structured (than the cardiovascular area),” Mike added. “Each period is organized in a way that we both find beneficial.”

The couple have both noticed improvements in their overall health since first beginning with light muscle toning.

“It helps me keep up with my 5-year-old grandson,” Ila said with a laugh.

Mike emphasized his improved balance since he began.

“Every day is a little different,” he added. “Ian prepares lesson plans that bring new things to class each time. He’s always addressing different areas of wellness.”

They also appreciated Passino’s expertise in correct forms of exercise, which help improve results and reduce injuries, Mike noted.


The Senior Vitality Program is free to members, but the Wellness Center at PARC is expanding the program to invite non-members into the facility to give vitality programs a try.

“These programs are all designed for seniors to participate in, and we’d like to give the public an opportunity to check them out,” said Ted Santaniello, fitness manager for the center.

Non-members can sign up for any of the programs and receive 10 classes for $60. The classes could all be light muscle toning or aqua aerobics or a mixture of the different options, Santaniello added.

“Aqua aerobics involves some higher-intensity exercises that are great for seniors and easier on the joints,” he said.

Zumba gold is a lightened version of the traditional Zumba program that allows seniors to enjoy the advantages of the dance-based exercise with reduced exertion.

Aoninagi karate is a martial-arts program that promotes wellness through self-defense techniques.

“Any movement is crucial for seniors,” Santaniello said. “Working with any of these programs will improve posture, strength and mobility.”

Email Jeff Meyers:

TO SIGN UP The Wellness Center at PARC's Senior Vitality program is available to non-members for a fee of $60 for 10 one-hour sessions. For more information on the Senior Vitality program, call 324-2024 or visit the Wellness Center at 295 New York Road in Plattsburgh or visit