It may not be a super-aerobic calorie-burner, but it does help participants feel better.
Each Thursday, senior citizens gather at the Liberty County Senior Activity Center for a weekly workout that involves weights, flex bands and good health.
“We were trying to exercise with a TV program, but we couldn’t keep up with them,” said Charlotte McGregory, who volunteers as assistant program director for the Senior Center’s exercise program. “So, Herlyn (Rogers) came up with a program for all of us.”
During the May 3 session, while McGregory and other senior volunteers set up chairs in one corner of the main room at the Senior Center, Rogers handed out rubber flex bands, rubber balls and 1-to-3-pound weights. One by one, senior men and women slowly moved from their card tables to the exercise area, some of them depending on walkers to get them there.
At 10 a.m., with all participants seated, Rogers welcomed everyone and led them in the first of many stretching exercises: arm, wrist and leg stretches, leg lifts and neck rotations. After a few minutes of stretching in a seated position, she told everyone to pause.
“Rest,” she said. “Now take a deep breath.”
After the short rest, the stretching exercises continued while the participants were seated. They used their bands in a variety of exercises, and then used the weights. Some participants used larger weights than other, pumping them high over their heads, or they lifted the weight with straight arms to their side and front.
After another break, the seniors made use of the rubber balls, first rolling them between their palms, and then tossed and caught them. They finally placed the ball between their knees, squeezing it through several repetitions. Soon, they were on their feet doing more leg lifts and squats. A few had a difficult time with the squats, mumbling comments that caused Rogers, McGregory and others to laugh. It was time to stop anyway.
Senior Center site manager Chrislene Taylor held up a large, wrapped box. The box represented the gift of good health that the program was all about. The box was passed among the participants. No one wanted to miss out holding the box; some shouted from across the room to let them touch the box.
In addition to the weekly exercise program, Taylor said many of her seniors walk around a large track.
Taylor pointed out a gentleman who at first wanted nothing to do with it but now is a regular. Another lady, who depends on a walker, cannot do all the exercises but participates in the weekly program, Taylor said.
Those interested in donating equipment or money to the Seniors Center can call Taylor at 977-0056.