Here is the article copied from the Modesto Bee Article:
Five years ago, Gwen Tirell couldn’t reach down to tie her own shoes or cut her toenails.
Now, the 79-year-old instructs a Young at Heart exercise class three times a week at the Gladys Lemmons Community Center in Oakdale. With the vigor of someone a few decades younger, she helps lead a class of about 30 senior citizens in an hour-long stretching, marching and strength-training regimen.
“I was in bad shape,” Tirell said about the Gwen of five years ago. In addition to her stiffness, she suffered from headaches and backaches. She credits the Young at Heart program, offered free of charge through the Healthy Aging Association, with the change.
And she is great. According to Kim Viviano, director of health and wellness for the Healthy Aging Association, a recent evaluation found Tirell with improved upper- and lower-body strength and flexibility.
“She also indicated that she has less falls annually since participating, she can now tie her own shoes and cut her own toenails,” Viviano said. “Her headaches and backaches have all disappeared. She also said she has had an improvement in her arthritis, nutritional habits, energy levels, blood pressure and osteoporosis. She has reduced stress, less depression and is more social thanks to Young at Heart.”
The classes are designed to help seniors with their physical well-being, but they also provide a social outlet. That was evident during a recent class, where enthusiastic participants talked and laughed their way through the session.
Instructors also help participants work out their mental muscles; the class was punctuated with a variety of history questions.
And Tirell has no intention of slowing down anytime soon. She said she enjoys teaching others the valuable lessons she has learned through the Young at Heart program.
Five years ago, did she see envision herself in this kind of a situation?
“No,” she said with a laugh. “I had no idea.”
MISSION: To help older Americans live longer, healthier, more independent lives by promoting increased physical activity and sound health and nutrition.
PROGRAM LIST: Young at Heart group fitness classes, Green Bag, A Matter of Balance, health and nutrition education, and fall-prevention education.
▪ Current Young at Heart group exercise classes
▪ Expansion of Young at Heart group exercise classes
▪ A Matter of Balance – fear of falling program
▪ Green Bag – fresh fruits and vegetables and nutrition education for low-income seniors
▪ Expand Young at Heart program to reach low-income, isolated or home-bound seniors or people with disabilities through one-on-one exercise training.