Fitness class improves seniors’ health, energy

After a warm up of walking around the room, seniors start with some light cardio.

Fitness instructor Jackie Tate said it’s good for seniors to keep moving. But those in her Silver Sneakers class say it’s much more than just moving. The class has improved their lives.

Balance, stamina, strength improve, as do emotions, they said.

Ken Paulsell, who moved from Chadds Ford to Birmingham Township, is a two-year veteran of Tate’s class He said it’s brought him positive changes.

“I’m part of the 81 percent of the population that didn’t prioritize exercise until a few years ago. And now I miss it if I don’t do it. It’s been transformational for me,” he said.

That transformation includes the fact that, “I simply feel better. There are more things that I can do more easily,” said the 79-year old Paulsell.

Delaware residents Sandy and Steve Scheinberg, 75 and 76 respectively, have been working out with Tate for more than three years. Sandy Scheinberg said they used to be couch potatoes, but are now in great shape.

Jackie Tate has seniors use resistance bands for a pushup type of exercise without the need to get done on the floor.

Jackie Tate has seniors use resistance bands for a pushup type of exercise without the need to get done on the floor.

“We come three times a week, and our kids are very proud of us because they know so many elderly people who haven’t done much in a long time and now can’t,” she said.

They have more stamina since they began exercising, and Steve Scheinberg said he’s lost six inches from his waist in those three-plus years.

Others also recount improvements.

Carolyn Ginther is also approaching 74 years of age. She’s been working out with Tate for two years after leaving another exercise class.

“I’m more satisfied with this class because of the variety of exercises. Jackie knows what she’s doing and she varies things, which is good for your body,” Ginther said.

She added that the workouts have helped her emotionally.

“I have anxiety issues. The exercises definitely help with that. Absolutely,” she said.

Kathy Uschold, 74, said she had issues with falling before starting with Tate two years ago.

“Silver Sneakers has made a complete difference in my lifestyle. It’s improved my balance, my flexibility and the strength I have in my arms and my legs. Flexibility is the key to longevity.”

Tate — a nutritionist and fitness instructor — teaches at two locations, Darlington Arts Center in Concord Township and at Way Martial Arts, next to the Amish Market, in the Westtown Village Shopping Center at Routes 202 and 926. She said the impetus for the program came from Darlington Arts Center, who contacted her.

The average class size is about 16. She has the class warm up with a five-minute walk around the room; then she leads them through 15 minutes of light cardio, some strength training with light hand weights, another 15 minutes using resistance bands followed by a 10-minute cool-down period.

There’s always some music playing and the group was working out to old tunes from Dion and the Belmonts, Chuck Berry and Little Eva during a recent session in the Westtown location.

The Silver Sneakers program is free for those who have the program as part of their Medicare Supplemental insurance. Tate said people should call the phone number on the back of their insurance cards to see if their carrier covers the program. If not, classes are $8 per session.

For more information, Tate can be reached at 484-576-7690 or at tate4foodandfitness@verizon.net. Her website is www.tate4foodandfitness.com.

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About Rich Schwartzman

Rich Schwartzman has been reporting on events in the greater Chadds Ford area since September 2001 when he became the founding editor of The Chadds Ford Post. In April 2009 he became managing editor of ChaddsFordLive. He is also an award-winning photographer.

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