Thanks to a new program at the Community-Senior Center, dozens of local residents have a better sense of how to eat healthy and exercise – and the results, organizers say, have been impressive.
People who completed two months of classes have seen on average an 18 percent increase in strength and 33 percent increase in flexibility.
“It’s hard to physically change people,” said Josh Rosenfeld, owner of Fitness Together, which is helping run the program. But, “the response has been overwhelmingly positive. ... People finish most of the time and say, ‘I want more.’”
Joan Hill, who runs a nutrition consulting business and offers instruction on healthy eating to participants, said she has also seen positive results.
“People are feeling that they’re making healthier choices (and are) more confident in their ability to read a label and understand what they should be looking for,” Hill said.
The program, in which participants meet in small groups twice a week for a month, costs $40 for people under 60 and $25 for people 60 and older. Community Services Director Dick Cugini said the program is intended for people 30 to 80 years old, but most participants have been 50 to 70 years old.
MetroWest Health Foundation awarded $25,000 to help cover costs of the program and $85,000 for equipment at the Community-Senior Center, which opened last fall.
Foundation President and CEO Marty Cohen said it is unique to have a facility and program that caters to adults and seniors, rather than just one demographic.
“Members of the Leonard Morse Grants Panel, the group that made the funding decision, thought it was an opportunity to expand services to a wider population,” Cohen said, noting the foundation has an interest in improving people’s health and wellness and getting them active.
Cugini said paying for the program also gets a participant six months of access to the fitness room. Six-month fitness memberships cost the same as the program for six months, he said, noting membership has grown to 300 people, exceeding expectations.
“As they go through the building they see the room, stop and look back and say, ‘What’s the deal in this room?’” Cugini said.
Cugini noted users of fitness equipment adjust the level of difficulty through hand controls rather than by adding or removing weights.
Financial assistance is available for people in need, he said.
Rosenfeld said they designed two different sets of classes so people can participate in the program for two months and learn different things.
Last week, as she took a break from exercises, Ellie Holmes said she is enjoying the classes.
“It’s something I’ve wanted to do to improve my health,” said Holmes, 73, of Natick.
Larisa Mirvoda agreed.
“I’m 75,” Mirvoda said, who lives in Natick. “I’ve stopped working. It’s just wonderful for my health to be active.”
Cugini said next two sessions will be held on Tuesdays and Thursdays from March 5-28 and April 2-25. Classes of no more than six people will be held at 10 a.m., 11 a.m., 6 p.m. and 7 p.m. at the Community-Senior Center. For more information, call 508-647-6540.Read more: Exercise program takes aim at an unusually wide age range - Natick, Massachusetts - Natick Bulletin and Tab