Exercise program focuses on body, brain, beliefs

Photos by Marlena Sloss/The Herald
Peggy Lovell of Dale balances on one leg during the 3 B Program at Dale United Methodist Church on Monday. Lovell said she loves the music and getting together with others at 3 B. The free class, for anyone over age 50, meets twice a week and is designed for physical exercise, balance, breathing and activities that support faith and joy.


DALE — Steve Clark needs activity. The 72-year-old Dale man’s joints and muscles are aging, and he lives with the mental damage of a weakened memory that surfaced following a ministroke in early 2019.

Monday morning, he and about 20 others gathered at Dale United Methodist Church for a holistic exercise class that focuses on the body, the brain and one’s beliefs. Though it has been hosted biweekly at the church for only about two months, Clark has already noticed a difference in his quality of life.

“People have problems in their lives, and sometimes, it’s things like this that really kind of help straighten them out,” he said. “And it keeps your body toned up. And I do, believe it or not, feel a little bit different physically since the start of it.”

Designed especially for older adults, the trademarked 3 B Program focuses on moving muscles, using the mind and nurturing faith. It is hosted through a joint ministry by Rev. Dr. Martha FrizLanger, pastor at Dale Presbyterian Church; Mike Turner, pastor at Dale United Methodist Church; and Bonnie Moesner, missions chair at Dale United Methodist.

After launching a senior center at the Methodist church in November, leadership felt that the class was needed in the community. It has far exceeded their expectations since its launch — between 25 and 30 people usually attend the free, hourlong sessions.

“I know that as I get older and aches and pains start in, instead of working that, we just start to become more sedentary or just don’t move as much,” FrizLanger said. “And there are parts of our body we just don’t think about moving.”

Added Turner: “I’ve seen too many people who retire, and they go and sit down, and before long, they can’t do anything.”

The 3 B gatherings give those who are ages 55 and up a safe place to buck that way of life, while also sharing in fellowship and conversation with their peers.

June Lovell of Dale, left, Ray Striegel of Dale, Joyce Phillips of Ferdinand and Mary Striegel of Dale stretch with bungee cords during the 3 B Program at the Dale United Methodist Church in Dale on Monday.

Meetings start with stretches and low-impact exercises that get their bodies moving in methodical ways. They are all “easy enough for anybody to participate,” FrizLanger said.

“It doesn’t look like we’re doing anything, but we are,” she explained. “A lot of it is just keeping movement of all the joints. So we do things with our fingers, our wrists, our knees, our ankles, our toes, our hips, arms and shoulders.”

The spiritual aspect of the workout blends the word of the Bible with physical movement. Mentally, the group uses “cross-brain training,” which facilitates communication between the left and right hemispheres of the brain. Jokes, riddles and health tips are part of the programming, as are scripture readings.

“I would really call it a 5 B program, because we also work on balance and deep breathing,” FrizLanger added. “We teach people how to breathe deeply for relaxation, decreasing the blood pressure.”

A gym is available in the nearby community center, but the 3 B program offers an organized setting for older Dale residents to work out their bodies and minds while tapping into their faith. The Smock Foundation provided training for FrizLanger and Moesner, as well as a program book and equipment like foam balls and ropes that are used for resistance exercises.

“All the people that come are from all different Christian denominations in the area,” FrizLanger said of the class attendees. “And it’s just wonderful. This is what we should be doing. Building bridges and enjoying each other, and focusing on what we have in common. And how we can help and encourage one another.”

Ridy Schaefer of Dale stretches fingers and joints during the 3 B Program at the Dale United Methodist Church in Dale on Monday.

More on DuboisCountyHerald.com