Program brings aerobic exercise to seniors through music

By By Warren Arceneaux / American Press

A group of seniors at the Foreman-Reynaud Community Center are mixing music, exercise and fun through the Senior Lighthouse

Program’s zydeco aerobics classes.

The classes run 5-6 p.m. Mondays and Wednesdays and are led by physical therapist Gerald Victor.

“I have been teaching the class for a couple of weeks and have been in physical therapy for the past 25 years,” he said.

“I have always done groups at the different facilities I have worked with and have always enjoyed doing it. I talked about

doing a Sit and Be Fit group where some people can exercise from a chair. Participants are ages 50 and up.”

He said the program includes breathing exercises.

“We do cardio and a lot of breathing exercises,” he said.

“We do a lot of ankle pumps, work on

different parts of the body such as quad exercises, try to keep the

cardiovascular system

going and on the breathing exercises, which are just as important

as the physical exercises. It is good for the cardiac system.

We have some participants who are dealing with diabetes, so

exercise is so important for them. I like to see it because a

lot of times people don’t exercise until something happens to

them; they may break a hip or hurt a knee then have to go to

rehab. I like to see them be able to exercise before something

like that happens.”

The classes can be a bit challenging, but not so much as to not be enjoyable. More advanced participants do more difficult

exercises. Feedback from participants has been positive.

“After they first started it they saw that they liked it. We do a lot of the exercises that we do in therapy — a lot of diagonal

exercises, some weight-shifting exercises,” Victor said.

“They tell me they really enjoy it and

have been surprised at the different types of exercises that we do and

how they benefit

them. They thought it was going to be easy because they would be

sitting in a chair, but it was exhausting. They still enjoy

it. It is still fun and that makes it easier for them. We hope to

be able to grow.”

The program also brings in guest speakers to address a variety of topics.

“It gives us good information on how to keep healthy,” said Stephanie Chretien, executive director of the community center.

“We are excited to stay healthy and get

different groups. So far we have had Home Health 2000, Memorial

Hospital, Johnson

Funeral Home, King’s Funeral Home and various organizations and

given input on and health and other topics. The program has

been going on for five years. Our ladies get to socialize with

each other and go to health workshops in the area. They enjoy

keeping healthy.”

For more information, call the community center at 436-2500.