By JAMES BELL
The Cottonwood Extension District’s Stay Strong, Stay Healthy program is set to return in 2023, offering area seniors an opportunity to increase their fitness levels in a relaxed group setting.
“We're officially getting rolling this year on classes,” said Cottonwood Extension District Family and Community Wellness Agent Monique Koerner. “Stay strong, stay healthy is an evidence-based strength training program. It's designed for older adults, so it'll be twice a week, about an hour-long class. And it'll go for eight weeks.”
The program is set to kick of Jan. 26 with an orientation class.
“If you just want to come see what it's all about, see what exercises we do, we'll do that and fill out some paperwork,” Koerner said. “And then the first class will start February 7, and we'll go on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 10 a.m.”
The classes will be held in the back room of the Cottonwood Extension District office, 601 Main.
“During the about hour-long class, we'll start with some warmup exercises just to kind of get the blood flow into our muscles,” Koerner said. “And then, we'll do eight strengthening exercises. And again, those will be with or without weights, depending upon the level that you're at. And then, at the end, we'll do some cool-down stretches. So it's really geared toward increasing flexibility, strength and balance.”
At the start of the classes, she said exercise would be performed weight free and added as the weeks progress. The most important aspect of the course, rather than quickly working to build muscle, is to increase movement.
Whatever the goal of participating in the class, she said, the exercise can be adapted to fit their ability and desire.
“This class is really designed to meet people where they're at and also meet them where they want their goals to be,” Koerner said. “We can adapt exercises based on the needs of the participant as well.”
But as the participants move through the classes, she said even small gains can have a significant impact.
“One of the other goals of the program is to not only prevent falls but just help people continue living independently,” Koerner said. “I think that's important to a lot of people.”
While the program is not new to Hays, the 2023 sessions will be the first for Koerner. As a new instructor, she said the class would be limited to only 10 participants, but at least five must sign up to offer the program.
Cost to participate is $20.
For more information, call the district office at 628-9430.
“Just give us a call if you have any questions and get signed up,” Koerner said. “I'm excited to do this for our community. And I think it'll be fun to watch the progress that's been made with individuals that participate.”