Seniors are getting fit at the YMCA - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Seniors are getting fit at the YMCA

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Weight training is a part of the Silver Sneakers routine. Weight training is a part of the Silver Sneakers routine.
Silver sneakers group members stretch as part of a chair yoga class. Silver sneakers group members stretch as part of a chair yoga class.
An instructor helps the Silver Sneakers group through a session of chair yoga. An instructor helps the Silver Sneakers group through a session of chair yoga.
Weights are in motion as a Silver Sneakers group member does leg lifts. Weights are in motion as a Silver Sneakers group member does leg lifts.
Weight training for seniors can add flexibility - and help seniors be able to lift the grand kids! Weight training for seniors can add flexibility - and help seniors be able to lift the grand kids!
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ALBANY, GA (WALB) -

As the American population ages, health care costs to treat the elderly continue to climb.

But one way to cut down on those costs is to not have to treat diseases such as diabetes. And the best way to do that is through exercise.

Dolores Presley is no relation to the King of Rock and Roll, but she was born the same year.

"I'm 77 years old," she said.

She's been exercising for about three years.  Today, we found her in the chair yoga class at the Albany YMCA.

"I have a lot of friends here at the Y," she said.

She's part of a program called Silver Sneakers.  Silver Sneakers involves both the chair yoga that you see here as well as weight training.

Donnette Lewis, a Senior Fitness Associate at the YMCA said, "they come up here and they learn how to use the Nautilus machines and then we have an instructor who shows them how to use the hand held weights."

The program is for people over 65 and in the last month or so, there's been an upswing in the number of people who are part of it.

"We usually average about 25 people to a class," said Lewis.

Back upstairs in the weight area we find Carey Hatcher - 72 years young. He's been working out for many of those years and has a set routine.

Hatcher says that he tries "to walk 45 minutes out there, and do some machine work in here, do the rowing machine down stairs.  I try to do something different every day."

Everyone knows about the health benefits of working out for younger people, but even for those that are elderly, working out every day can have some real benefits for their health and for their life.

Both Presley and Hatcher say that working out has made them feel better.

According to Presley, "it helped me tremendously to do exercise.  I recommend it to men, women.  I think it's the answer to old age."

Hatcher said that working out and staying fit offers him: "more flexibility...more stamina."

Going to the gym and staying off of the couch could help keep seniors in their own homes a little longer.  Being able to do the basic things means independence that seniors might not otherwise have.

According to Lewis, independence means things like: "carrying in groceries, playing with grand kids, taking care of your house."

While working out may not make seniors feel quite THIS young, it can still make them feel golden in their golden years.

As with any age group, seniors should check with their doctor before starting an exercise program.

The Census Bureau estimates that there are more than 41 million people over 65 in the U.S. That's more than 13 per cent of the population.  Both numbers are expected to grow in the coming years as the baby boom generation ages.

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