Fitness for everyone

The push to help people become more active and physically fit is spreading and people of all ages are working to be healthier.

To get fit today there are many ways to do so and offers many options other than lifting weights and running.

There are a series of programs that encourage senior citizens to stay fit. They do aerobics, some light weightlifting and stretches that can improve their dexterity and balance. Alpena Senior Citizens Center Program Director B.J. Sander said the fitness programs help to build core, upper body and lower body strength in seniors and as a result it helps them to have better balance and avoid falls. She said if they also are taught how to get up after a fall properly, so they don’t fall a second time and hurt themselves worse.

Sander said many of the people in the classes are 90-plus years old. One woman, Edna Manning, just turned 104 years old. Sander said despite their age the seniors are dedicated to their fitness regimen and enjoy it.

“They are here faithfully, three times a week and we do see improvements in them,” she said. “Plus it get them out of bed, out of the house and give then some social time. They absolutely love it.”

People of all ages work out and take classes at Bay Athletic Club.

According to Communications Director Sarah Morrison, there are a lot of high school students, middle-aged men and women and seniors. She said a trainer helps to come up with a workout plan and outlines changes to their lifestyle that need to be made to get the full benefit of the health programs.

Morrison said besides treadmills, stationary bikes and weightlifting equipment, there are also classes and bootcamps that are popular. She said the biggest key to getting healthy and more fit is to follow through on the plan and be committed, even when it becomes challenging.

“You need to have the right mindset going into it and accept the fact that this is going to change your entire life, no matter what age you are,” Morrison said. “You’re never too young or too old to be more fit and we have a variety of ways to help people do that.”

Making sure children are getting the required amount of exercise is a goal of local schools and the Alpena Boys and Girls Club. At school, students have physical education classes, as well as an option to participate in sports programs as fitness options. The Boys and Girls Club has programs and events that encourage the members to get fit and eat healthy. When combined with the education they receive as to why exercises and a healthy diet are recommended, it set the kids up to be more healthy as they get older.

Club Unit Director Jennifer Digna said while at the club the kids play in the gym, but some of the other initiatives are voluntary. However, staff urges the members to take part in them.

“They get in the gym once or twice a day and we try to have activities that are fun for them,” Digna said. “It is crucial they have fun because if their not they aren’t going to be invested and see the positive outcomes.”

Digna said the club is looking for new members to take part in the various programs. She said parents can call the club or stop by to register their children.