West End YMCA workouts get seniors moving – News-Herald


EDITOR’S NOTE: This is one of a series about classes and their instructors that cater to seniors in the area.

On a brisk fall day at the West End YMCA in Willoughby, dozens of active seniors lifted weights, pulled resistance bands and performed aerobic dance moves.

Leading the twice-weekly group is West End Y Senior Director of Healthy Lifestyles Margaret Warner, who has worked with the organization for over 30 years.

Warner shouts direction and encouragement throughout the 45-minute session while accompanied by upbeat tunes, many of which date from the 1960s and 1970s.

“Walk, move it, advance together towards me, go!” She instructed, while vigorously displaying the movements in front of the 32 class participants present that day.

Mentor’s Jeri Hopeck participates in several exercise classes at the Lake County West End YMCA. (Jean Bonchak – For the News-Herald)

One of the fun facets of the routines are the polka dots familiar to many.

With a playful tease and referring to a statistic regarding the number of seniors who qualify for healthy movement, she told the group “I know there are days when you prefer to eat donuts at home. , but thank you for being one of the 14%. “

Despite the Y’s mandatory shutdown due to the pandemic, Warner said people are returning regularly and the Silver Sneakers Circuit class is nearing full capacity. A distance of 3 feet continues to be maintained.

The use of resistance bands helps build strength among participants in a Silver Sneakers circuit class. (Jean Bonchak – For the News-Herald)

She notes that the demonstration of determination and strength shown by seniors during their
the workouts are awesome.

For example, the available dumbbells are stored in two baskets, one with lighter weights and another with heavier weights. Warner noted that the basket with the heavy weights is often emptied first.

As a former physical education teacher with years of experience promoting a healthy lifestyle, Warner is well aware of what it takes to stay in shape.

“Your body will often choose to press the ‘easy’ button, but as people get older they can get stronger if they work out and challenge themselves,” she said.

Lake West End County YMCA’s Senior Director of Healthy Living Margaret Warner comes alive as she leads a class session. (Jean Bonchak – For the News-Herald)

Wearing a ‘We’re Stronger Together’ t-shirt, Barbara Robertson of Willoughby Hills said the reason she’s taking the class is “it keeps me alive.” As a diabetic, exercise helps keep blood sugar levels lower and his knees, which have both been replaced, are working well.

Robertson describes the energetic exercise sessions as “positive, productive and enjoyable.”

Jeri Hopeck trains at the Y three to four times a week and says Warner is a good motivator who also makes the class fun with his vibrant personality.

Staying in shape is important to Hopeck, who lives in Mentor. She speeds up her workouts by riding the
stationary cycling and practicing yoga in addition to the circuit course.

“You feel good afterwards. You feel that you have done something right for yourself so you can
go shopping or watch TV, ”she said.

Warner argues that socialization and camaraderie among students is another value
benefit to. Often, before his arrival, many elderly people have already gathered, discussing and enjoying each
the other’s business.

“Exercise is what they’re here for, but socializing and friendships are what keep them here.
come back, ”she said.

When asked what she would suggest to those considering starting an exercise routine, Warner said, “People don’t think they can do it, but they can. Start by walking down the hallway or driveway. It’s just a matter of movement. It’s simple. You have to move. You have to do something.

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