Senior exercise class aims to prevent falls, extend flexibility

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According to Aging Care, 1.6 million senior citizens were sent to the emergency room for fall-related injuries in the United States. Experts say exercise is the ultimate way to prevent falls.

Patrick and Amy Carpenter are owners of Anytime Fitness locations in Columbia City, Churubusco, Bluffton and Huntington.

Columbia City’s and Churubusco’s facilities are accredited for SilverSneakers, a group for senior citizens to exercise together with a certified trainer.

The Carpenters have been passionate about exercise ever since they dated back in high school. Thirty-five years later, their love of exercise is still a driving force for them.

“It’s our calling, so over the years we have picked up a lot of knowledge,” said Amy Carpenter. “It’s our way of helping people.”

The senior classes primarily focus on strength, balance and cardio. Many senior citizens can often get free courses through their health insurance.

“Balance is so important for seniors to prevent falls. So, we do quite a bit of balance exercises. We also work on flexibility so that they stay mobile,” said personal trainer Chris Neireiter.

SilverSneakers members like the results and atmosphere they’re getting as well.

“What I like most about the classes are the comradery,” said Don Denton, 78. “We have some fun. I also walk better and balance better. Falling is a great killer to people our age. So, these exercises prevent these things from happening.”

Anytime Fitness pushes healthy lifestyle choices in the classes, but leaders also encourage smart choices outside the class too.

“Senior health is all about moving,” said Carpenter. “It’s about taking the stairs instead of elevators. It’s walking to their mailboxes on a regular basis. Of course, nutrition is important as well.”

According to Carpenter, not just seniors, but people in general claim to struggle to find time to do daily exercises.

“Don’t let obstacles or excuses get in your way of your health,” said Carpenter. “We just have to take time for the priorities we have.”

SilverSneakers classes in Columbia City are held every Tuesday and Thursday at 10:15 a.m.

The facility is located at 462 W. Plaza Drive, Columbia City.