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“Keep Moving For Life”

L’Observateur / March 21, 1998

There may be snow on the roof but there’s still fire in the furnace, and St. James Parish senior citizens active with the Council on Aging have the opportunity to feel the burn.

“Keep Moving for Life” is an exercise program jointly sponsored by the COA in cooperation with Cajun Health Club in Vacherie parish’s own Health and Fitness Center in Lutcher. _ In this program, seniors participate in up to two sessions per week of erobics and weight training, bopping to the oldies and crunching on the Nautilus.

On Mondays and Wednesdays at the West Bank club, an average of 20 seniors build their muscle tone, coordination and flexibility under the guidance of Cajun Health Club’s professional instructors. On Tuesdays and Thursdays it’s the East Bankgroup’s days at the St. James Health and Fitness Center, building heart strength andextending their lives, Michelle Octave of the St. James Council on Aging added the program is freeand participants get a free workout T-shirt.

During a recent class in Vacherie, instructor Mabel Oubre drilled her group of 20 through 45 minutes of low-impact aerobics, moving to a relentless musical beat.

“Take it out! To the sides Up to the ceiling! Four-three-two-one, now march it out” Oubre commented, “When some of them frst began, they could barely walk.”That’s not evident as the seniors sweated, many with huge smiles on their faces as they occasionally scrambled to keep up with the dance-like steps.

Mabel Falgoust, 77, added, “I thought I would feel worse at this age!”, Instead, she was on the front row, keeping the pace and watching the group’s workout in the floor-to-ceiling mirrors.

After the aerobics session the group adjourned to the weight room and eagerly began working out, stretching muscles and learning proper breathing while lifting weights.

Verna Amedee, at 84, was the eldest in the group. She moved quickly to the treadmill and walked for a short time, showing her broad smile to everyone.

The program began in September and has proven itself popular. There was someinitial advertising, but most of the participation has grown by _ word of mouth, Octave said.

It’s not only the exercise, she added, but also the good fellowship with their friends.

“None would still be here if they had come on their own. In a group, they stick withit,” she said.

For further information about “Keep Moving for Life” in St. James Parish contact Octave at 562-2372.

Photo: PUMPING THOSE HAND WEIGHTS during aerobic exercises is Joyce Folse of Vacherie, putting those muscles back to work and feeling more healthy.

Photo by Leonard Gray.

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