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Our Elderly Residents

Getting a groove on at Forest Park Manor

Getting a groove on at Forest Park Manor

Elderly residents at Springfield Housing Authority’s Forest Park Manor are proving they can hit the dance floor with the best of them.

On Thursday afternoons, a dozen or so men and women can be found stepping and gyrating in sync in Zumba classes, held in the community room at the development for seniors and disabled residents. The sessions will last into the winter, courtesy of the Greater Springfield Senior Services office.

Forest Park residents agree that moving around quickly and in step, to lively Latin-based music is good for both the body and the soul.

“It keeps us moving, and it keeps us laughing,” noted Forest Park Manor resident Jane Sienkiewicz.

“I like to keep active, and this is a good way to do that. I join in whenever I can,” she added.

Springfield Housing Authority Resident Services Coordinator Candra Cripps and Forest Park Manor resident Jane Sienkiewicz getting ready for Zumba class.

Springfield Housing Authority Resident Services Coordinator Candra Cripps and Forest Park Manor resident Jane Sienkiewicz getting ready for Zumba class.

The sessions are run by April Marion, owner of Get Moving Zumba Fitness of South Hadley. She is contracted by the senior services agency. She guided the class through a series of movements and dances, urging some to use a chair for balance if needed.

The classes will continue into the fall, and are made possible thanks to a grant from Greater Springfield Senior Services.  The grant also funds a class at Gentile Apartments.

Marion underscored the importance of staying fit at any age.

“The whole point is to get people moving and give them some energy. We use music that everyone can have fun with. It’s upbeat,” she said.

Indeed, as soon as the recorded music started, participants began moving to the beat. Some grabbed chairs and took to tapping their feet on the floor, while others twirled around on their own.

“I love it,” said resident Lorraine Shaw as she kept time with the beat of the music. “I move around and get my heart rate moving.”

The Zumba workout has been described as a dance fitness party, and is a typical offering at many gyms and health-based programs around the world. It features catchy music and fast, in-step movements designed to stretch out muscles, speed up heart rate, and promote good health and serious fun.

At Forest Park, residents joked and talked as they kept up with Marion’s instructions.

Forest Park Manor Zumba class.

Forest Park Manor Zumba class.

SHA Resident Services Coordinator Candra Cripps said she has organized many exercise programs at Forest Park Manor and at other public housing developments. All are popular, including the outdoor walking clubs. But Zumba seems to bring out the sillies in people, she noted.

“It’s really fun. People laugh while they’re exercising. It’s good for them in so many ways,” said Cripps. “You’re working on your cardio, you’re working on your core, and you’re socializing and having fun. It doesn’t get any better than that.”

 

3279 days ago / Our Elderly Residents,Our Residents
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