Seniors follow the movements on the big screen during the El Dorado Hills Senior Center class "You Think You Can't Exercise? Yes You Can!" Village Life photo by Shelly Thorene


Seniors buddy up, stay healthy

By From page A6 | July 04, 2012

What started as an idea to get seniors  active and mobile led to the development of “You Think You Can’t Exercise? Yes You Can!”

The class, hosted by the El Dorado Hills Community Service District, started in June 2009 and continues to simultaneously provide seniors a way to interact with others and improve their health. Seniors ages 60 to 90 years old attend the class to challenge their flexibility, strengthen their muscles and get active.

“It’s really important to keep exercising. Just the routines alone help with your mind,” said instructor Yvonne Griffin. “It’s just so important to keep fit, no matter what your age is.”

Griffin started the group and experimented with different routines, including a particularly challenging Jane Fonda workout DVD, until a class member brought in a DVD from the Arthritis Foundation. The exercises are specifically designed for seniors to ease into an increased range of movement. “We realized it was better than what we had been doing,” she admitted.

The class consists of three routines that get progressively harder. The warm-up starts with participants sitting down in chairs, slowly moving and stretching joints in the fingers, wrist, elbow, knees, hips, ankles and toes. Three “endurance” portions incorporate light dance moves like the “grapevine” and progress to quick-punches. The “strength” section implements stretchy exercise bands that provide resistance to maintain healthy muscles. Finally, a “relaxation” section encourages participants to rest, breathe deep and think positively about their health.

“It exercises every joint and keeps them fluid,” said 78-year-old Evelyn Weick.

Anyone can pop in a DVD and workout on their own but , Griffin said, “There’s something about the socialization — the buddy system. We’re all about trying to keep all of us healthy.”

Ninety-year-old Ursula Smith, former editor of Village Life, said the class motivates her to keep moving. “I thoroughly enjoy it and wish it was three days a week instead of two. It’s probably because of this class that I’m up and moving around.”

Every week, six to 12 seniors participate in these exercises on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. at the El Dorado Hills Senior Center, 990 Lassen Lane. There is a $2 drop-in fee per day.

For more information call (916) 358-3575.

Megan Donnelly


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