Barbara Parker does leg lifts
Adults of all ages stay active at the McBurney Y
By Judith Stiles
An exercise program at the YMCA for active older adults might suggest a regimen where senior citizens huff and puff as they slowly try to touch their toes. This kind of class conjures up images of the elderly swaying to and fro while listening to elevator music.
Elderly? Yes, a class of septuagenarians is considered a tad elderly, however 79-year-old student Ilse Hoffman easily aced an intense and vigorous aerobics routine where she stretched her body nonstop for 40 minutes before the water break. To the tune of jazzy disco music, she met the challenge with a smile on her face, barely dropping a few beads of sweat by the end of the class. Looking fit as a 40-year-old, with her hair in a fashionable French twist, wearing a black outfit accented with lovely gold earrings, Hoffman declared with a flourish as she sipped her water, Doing this has lowered my blood pressure and now my bone density is perfect! Then she scooted back to the floor for some work on the mats to Cole Porter songs, adding, This is a great stress reliever too.
Leading a lively class was Leslie Howitt, an instructor who for over a decade has been with the McBurney Y, now located at 125 W. 14th St. Howitt earned her certification from the National Association For Fitness Certification, but more important, she earned her kudos from the students who were riveted to her warm and energetic instructions. With a small microphone on a lightweight headset, she was able to lead the group with an animated running commentary that sometimes broke out in song, helping to steer the ladies and gents into a brisk cha-cha. Then without missing a beat, Howitt moved the class in unison to a modern dance-style leg lift, calling out to them, Hello abs and thighs! Move that gluteus maximus, better known as your bum.
Barbara Parker, a longtime resident of Bank St. in Greenwich Village, enjoyed the work on the mats where Indian music was the background for lifting the upper body and the legs off the mat simultaneously, then holding, holding, holding the position midair, without a single droop or collapse in the class, until Howitt finally commanded them to release.
Then it was on to leg lifting, neck rolling and pretzel-like positions that seemed to give every muscle a workout. At the end of the class, 71-year-old Sally Stone pointed out that many of the students attend several exercise classes a week, adding that Leslie is a fantastic teacher. Give me more!
Coming up in the winter schedule is Razz-Ma-Tazz, a tap dancing class for active older adults and for the exercise challenged there is Body Toning and Sculpting, a non-aerobic workout designed to tone while building strength. Also housed in the McBurney Y is SeniorNet, nonprofit organization for adults ages 50 and older who are relatively new to computers. This class is great for those who want to learn computer fundamentals in an enviroment that makes navigating the Internet fun and just about as easy as using a rotary phone.
Workshops and lectures take place monthly. So if you want to attend the Dont Settle for Weakness - Beat Osteoporosis seminar, contact Anne at BuildYourBones.com. This lecture on Thursday evening, Dec. 2, will be informative for anyone over 30, whether or not your bones are brittle or bouncy.
For information on monthly seminars and adult services, try and catch up with coordinator Barbara Parker during her water break in the Friday morning exercise class. However if you dawdle and she bolts out of the class too fast, e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org and she will update you on the latest events for active older adults, especially for the Village septuagenarians who hang out at the Y and are fitter than fiddles.