The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

The Danville News

December 31, 2013

DACC Silver Sneakers 10th anniversary celebration Jan. 15

DANVILLE — Jim and Lois Kishbaugh are originals when it comes to Silver Sneakers.

They joined the program when it started 10 years ago in the Danville Area Community Center.

The center was the first in Montour County to begin the program which will celebrate its anniversary Jan. 15 with cake, coffee and tea.

The Kishbaughs, of Mahoning Township, participate three times a week. “It certainly helps maintain my ability to stretch and move about,” said the 76-year-old retiree of Associated Insurance Management.

He enjoys the cardiovascular workout, stretching and “using muscles I would not normally use kicking and dancing for 45 minutes.”

“It’s lots of fun and I feel good. The camaraderie is great. I wish there were a few more men,” he said.

He said the oldest guy in the program is Sam Harrison, who at 90 comes so he can stay in shape to continue umpiring Little League baseball.

Joann Gray, the center’s director of senior programs, was teaching Monday morning classes in the gym with the group doing some seated exercises to a Michael Jackson song and later working their arms and legs to the tune “Devil in the Blue Dress.”

Gray also got them up on their feet to work on cardiovascular strength, muscle strength, range of motion, flexibility, balance and coordination.

Their tools include a small ball, light weights and a resistance band.

“It’s a heck of a lot of fun to help them in daily living and functional activities,” said Gray, who is also certified to teach fitness, yoga, Zumba and Pilates.

Silver Sneakers classes are held four times a day Monday through Friday with Gray teaching 80 percent of the classes. Jeannie Ford and Lynn Dempsey also teach. The three have been Silver Sneakers instructors for 10 years.

Instructors recommend participants come three times a week. “We have a huge population who come five to seven times a week and a lot who have been here 20 to 25 times a month over the last 10 years,” Gray said.

”It wasn’t normal for them to exercise. Growing up, exercise was a luxury — it is so beneficial for their health and well-being,” she said of the seniors.

Besides being part of the Silver Sneakers exercise classes, other seniors participate in swimming aerobics and use the center’s fitness room.

Carole Dalton, of Danville, does water aerobics along with Silver Sneakers exercises. A participant the past three months, she said a neighbor convinced her to start after she had a knee replaced. “I come twice a week. I feel good when I’m doing it,” Dalton said.

Bonnie Cromley, of Mayberry Township, has been exercising at the center the past four years. She tries to participate five days a week. She also goes to a couple other classes at the center.

“A couple years ago, I was quite ill and in the hospital. Attending classes helped me rehab. It made a big difference for me,” she said.

In February 2004, Silver Sneakers started at the community center with more than 300 members registered the first month. About one-third were already members with the others new to the center.

By the end of that year, 250 seniors had become active members of the Silver Sneakers program.

Today, there are 600 Silver Sneakers members with about 425 of them active members.

The program at the center is managed by Healthways which contracts with GHP Gold, Highmark Blue Shield and AARP, Gray said. That supplemental insurance seniors purchase includes the Silver Sneakers fitness program, she said.

Gray also serves as the “social director” for the program where she coordinates events which include picnics, dancers, suppers, 5K walks and the Christmas luncheon.

Email comments to kblackledge@thedanvillenews.com.

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