Fitness program ‘nice way to serve seniors’

By LEANN BURKE
lburke@dcherald.com

DUBOIS — Senior citizens looking to add a little exercise to their days will have a new opportunity for fitness starting in January.

Beginning Jan. 16, the Dubois Branch Library will offer twice a week Geri-Fit classes as part of a national study by the video workout company to test libraries’ ability to bring services to senior citizens. Other nearby participating libraries are in Owensboro, Kentucky, and Shelbyville, Indiana.

As a host for the study, the Dubois Library received the Geri-Fit DVDs free of charge and will be able to use them indefinitely once the study ends. Murphy said if the program is popular, she expects to continue hosting the workouts.

“Because we don’t have any fitness programs up here in the Dubois area, I thought this would be a nice way to serve some seniors here,” said Anita Murphy, manager of the Dubois Branch Library.

Geri-Fit is an evidence-based health program designed to help adults age 65 and over rebuild strength that has been lost through the aging process. To complete the workouts, participants follow along with a video. Most of the exercises are completed while sitting in chairs using light dumbbell weights and a stretch band. Some exercises can involve standing and using the chair for support, but participants don’t have to.

Although marketed as a strength training program, studies found that Geri-Fit also improves balance and fall prevention, as well as aiding in managing chronic disease such as diabetes, weight loss and arthritis, the company’s website said. Murphy said the program is geared toward people of various skill levels, so people who use walkers or wheelchairs shouldn’t hesitate to sign up.

“You don’t have to worry about already being flexible or anything like that,” she said.

To participate in the study, seniors must be age 65 or older, not be doing any other strength training program — walking, tai chi and yoga are OK — and have their own two- or three-pound dumbbells and stretch band. Participants also need to be able to make the majority of the sessions, which will be held from 9:15 a.m. to 10 a.m. Wednesdays and Fridays beginning Jan. 16. At the end of the 12-week study period, participants will be asked to fill out a survey where they rate their progress.

To sign up for the study, interested persons should call the Dubois Branch Library at 812-678-2548.




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