Carroll County Community College plans to expand senior fitness program Walking, aerobics to be offered

August 25, 1993|By Katherine Richards | Katherine Richards,Staff Writer

Carroll Community College plans to expand its fitness offerings for senior citizens into a comprehensive program dubbed the "Senior Fitness Institute."

"It's a program organized and proposed by the community college, but carried out through the entire community," said Carrie McFadden, a fitness consultant hired by the college to organize the program.

Kathy Menasche, coordinator of community services in the college's Office of Continuing Education, said the college currently reaches only a small fraction of Carroll County's senior population. Many active, healthy residents 55 and older are not being served, she said.

The institute, Ms. McFadden said, is "targeting healthy seniors, aged 55 and up," including people who are still working, and the recently retired.

The Senior Fitness Institute will offer walking, water aerobics, weight training, aerobics, fitness screening and educational programs. There will also be social programs, such as a monthly lunch at Fenby's Restaurant, Ms. McFadden said.

She said studies show that an exercise program can improve one's health, regardless of the age at which the program is begun.

Ms. McFadden said her goal is to have 200 seniors signed up for the program by Oct. 15. The classes are scheduled to begin Oct. 18.

The nonprofit, self-supporting program will have a one-time enrollment fee, probably $35, and monthly dues, probably $20, she said. Members will be asked to commit to the program for one year.

The Senior Fitness Institute will be based at Four Seasons Sports Complex near Hampstead, but will use facilities throughout the county, such as the pool at Western Maryland College.

Carroll Transit will offer some transportation to institute activities, she said.

On Aug. 10, the institute's organizers convened a meeting of local groups interested in seniors and fitness. Ms. McFadden said that in addition to Carroll Community College, representatives of the county Bureau on Aging, Carroll County nTC General Hospital, the county health department, Carroll Transit, the Carroll County Family YMCA, Western Maryland College, Four Seasons Sports Complex and Fenby's Restaurant attended.

Ms. Menasche said the organizers want to avoid duplication of existing programs, and instead fill gaps.

"We're only focused on wellness and fitness and health," Ms. McFadden said. "We're not competing with the senior centers."

One of the institute's instructors will be Susan Mowbray, a fitness instructor who teaches water aerobics and armchair aerobics for seniors through the county Bureau of Aging,the Carroll Community College and Fairhaven retirement community.

"I think it will be a better quality program," Ms. Mowbray said, because it will offer the seniors more choices of activities.

She said there are many active, healthy seniors in the county who could take advantage of such a program.

Ms. Mowbray said she used to worry over her students, thinking, "I don't want to hurt them."

Now, she said, she is "shocked" at the level of fitness some seniors have reached -- including some people in their 80s.

"They're in fantastic shape," she said. "They literally do things that many 40-year-olds can't do."

Ms. Menasche said there is interest in the program.

She said one woman who had heard about the institute came to her office, hugged her and said, "This is the most exciting thing I've ever seen in my whole life."

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