Courtesy of the Canarsie Courier:
By Jason Linetsky
With the government cracking down on trans-fats foods, schools being mandated to provide healthier meals, and statewide programs to help make for a thinner America, Millennium Development’s Abe Stark Senior Center began promoting the wellbeing of their members through an intensive eight-week program. A fitness boot camp, cardio workout, dance classes, Tai Chi, and Yoga, among other exercise opportunities, are all part of the local program.
The idea for the program was generated by Abe Stark Senior Center coordinator Marianna Hernandez’s sons, Damian and Sean – who were recently the youngest to win the Presidential Lifestyle Awards.
Hernandez then suggested the creation of the Presidential Lifestyle Active Award Plus Nutrition (PALA+) awards program for the seniors. She enrolled the seniors, in their 60s and older, who would use treadmills, cross-trainers, ellipticals, and exercise bikes provided by the center. There were also walks around the area available for those who wanted to work out outside the gym.
“I love to walk and exercise outside,” said 66-year-old Elverta Campbell, who felt it would be good for her to join the program as a supplement to her usual workout routine. “I did the treadmill, bicycle, the cross trainer, and worked on my abs. It made me realize I can do more than I did before.”
For 73-year-old Lorel McSweeney, exercise was already part of her daily routine, but recent health issues required a reevaluation of how much she was doing.
“I was enrolled at a local health club as a Silver Slicker, so I was already working out,” McSweeny said. “I recently had a near-death experience and I had to be put on a ventilator for three days. But God is good and kept me going. I need to do cardio and walk on the treadmill to get my momentum back.”
At 60 years young, Diane Mosely joined the program to stay fit and participated in everything offered throughout the eight weeks.
“It was hard to keep up with the older members,” she said with a laugh.
Mosley has a few older participants to keep up with, including Catherine Ricardo, who is still very active in her early 90s, and Monty Garcia, the oldest participant at the age of 96.
Sixty-three-year-old Rudolph Taylor lost 85 pounds – the biggest weight loss among the seniors.
Taylor used to weigh 375 pounds. Utilizing lessons learned from watching Jillian Michaels and the rest of “The Biggest Loser” trainers while watching his diet, walking, doing weights, biking, using the treadmill, and doing various aerobic exercises Taylor has lost over 85 pounds. He also credits Hernandez and Abe Stark Center Director Nathan Williams as being great motivators throughout his time in the program.
For information about the Abe Stark Senior Center, call (718) 272- 9515.