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Senior exercise routine offers health, laughs
A-senior center class pic 1
Ladies in the range of motion class at the Dawson County Senior Center work with hand weights during last weeks class.

Open the door to get to the downstairs level of the Margie Weaver Senior Center in Dawsonville on a Tuesday or Thursday morning and the sounds of music and laughter will greet you in the stairwell.

The classroom full of students is brimming with energy and even some giggling.

"We have so much fun," said instructor Janet Duffy, who has been teaching classes at the center for three years.

Duffy and her students turn up the music and work out together and at their own pace.

"They are laughing at themselves and laughing at each other," said Becky Drew who's recently begun attending.

As much as the group enjoys their time on Tuesday and Thursday mornings, the results have been encouraging.

Multiple women have told Duffy that they have seen great results from participation.

"It has been fantastic," said Drew. "I had this heart problem and had surgery. The lady down the street from me mentioned going to exercise class.

"In the beginning it really tired me out. After a couple of weeks, I saw a tremendous difference."

Carolyn Thomas, a retired nurse, has seen significant improvement in the use of her left foot that had been injured a couple of years ago.

"I have regained balance, increased strength and my foot is back to total normal," Thomas said. "It's amazing."

"Things like that make it all worthwhile," Duffy said.

There are two classes offered on the Tuesday and Thursday schedule, a 9 a.m. cardio class that uses hand weights, a ball and band.

In the 10 a.m. class participants focus on range of motion. Some of the exercises are done sitting and some standing. They also use the same tools as in the cardio class.

Some of the seniors choose to do both classes back to back so they can get the effects of the cardio and the stretching.

"I have seen a tremendous difference in my ability, balance and walking. And the ladies in there are just precious," Drew said.

The center also offers senior water aerobics on Monday, Wednesday and Fridays at 10 a.m. at the Veterans Memorial Park pool.

The classes are free to seniors, but if participants will apply for a SilverSneakers Fitness card, they are able to scan it at the door and the center will receive $3. Those funds help offset the cost of the class.

The class is open to anyone 55 and older.

SilverSneakers cards are a part of the Healthways SilverSneakers Fitness program that is an insurance benefit included in more than 65 Medicare health plans. Membership includes many perks like gym memberships. To check for eligibility, seniors can go online to silversneakers.com to get more information and register.

For questions about the exercise programs offered at the center, please contact the director, Dawn Pruett at (706) 344-3700.