The Center of Clayton offers a variety of classes for the people of St. Louis to participate in. These classes provide time to exercise and socialize with friends. Exercise is important for one’s health, and is known to help fight many diseases including Alzheimer’s and arthritis. It can also help prevent diseases such as type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure.
Oasis is a program which helps older adults stay healthy through exercise, volunteer programs and lifelong learning. Oasis offers classes and programs nationwide for older adults to participate in.
One of the classes that Oasis offers is a senior citizen exercise class, which meets three times a week at the Center of Clayton.This class consists of about 15 senior citizens who come from many different parts of St. Louis.
The senior citizens’ exercise class is special.
“I started teaching regular exercise classes, and they just were not fun. Everybody said, ‘If you can’t make me look like this model, I quit.’ Now we say; ‘we are here for our health,’” instructor Beverly Hayes said. Hayes plans the exercise routine beforehand, and she has different exercises ready every time the class meets.
“I think she is wonderful because she changes things and that is what I like: change. Change keeps us younger, and keeps our minds younger,” Carol Burkholder, a new member of the class, said.
The senior citizen exercise group meets every week on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at 10:30 for one hour. They rent a room located next to the track in the center. Two of the walls have big mirrors, and there is a lot of exercise equipment situated in the room.
“We use all the equipment in the room just to make things different. We use the weights, the bands, the balls, the benches: about everything we can,” Hayes said.
The people in the class have all become very good friends. They often go out to lunch after the class.
John and Jane Cross have been attending the class for about seven years.
“We have made a lot of friends in the class, and sometimes we go out for lunch after the class. People are very good if you are sick or anything,” Jane said. “People ask how you are doing. If something good happens, like if somebody has a grandchild, then everybody makes a big fuss.”
“Our teacher is very good, and she is always changing what we do. So, most of the changes are small changes, you have to pay attention, and the changes come rapidly and it is a real challenge,” John said.
Carol Burkholder joined in October. She has arthritis and said that the exercise class helps her.
“What I like about the exercise class is that it gives me more steps on my fitbit,” Carol said.
The people in the exercise class encourage more people to join. They believe that every senior citizen would appreciate the class.
Laura Schmink, a 15-year member of the class, said, “I enjoy the exercises and I like the people even better than the exercises”.