Senior exercise programs ongoing

Sunday Times Newspapers

Fitness is a big part of staying healthy, especially later in life.

Both Allen Park and Melvindale offer exercise options for seniors to make the fitness process both fun and beneficial.

Throughout the week, both cities offer exercise classes for seniors – ages 50 and up – at their respective community centers.

Melvindale seniors can stop by the center at 4300 S. Dearborn St. 10 a.m. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays for a recurring class with instructor Debbie Madden.

“They’d do leg stretches, tension rings. Pretty much sitting in the chairs or holding the chair,” said Ryan Massolia, Melvindale senior/recreation coordinator. “It’s just such an exercise getting out every day for it.”

Massolia said the class has members as old as 100 and averages about 20 seniors per session out of the pool of 30 registrants. Cost is $2 per day or $10 per month, and drop-ins are welcome.

“They all have a lot of good stuff to say. One lady had said she had a lot of difficulty walking, pain, and that’s gone,” Massolia said.

Many of the seniors who attend the hour-long Melvindale classes stick around for the Wayne County luncheons that follow at 11:30 a.m.

“It’s a lot of socializing, too,” Massolia said. “They each have their individual coffee cups afterward.”

Allen Park Recreation/Senior Specialist Jennifer Hughes said the social aspect is a relevant part of the program for seniors.

“The exercise programs keep the seniors active, moving, as well as offer a social outlet,” Hughes said. “They sit around in the lobby for an hour talking. It’s good for both body and mind.”

Mary Cieslak teaches Allen Park’s exercise class 9 a.m. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at the community center, 15800 White, but the program is on hiatus temporarily.

“My instructor has broken her leg,” Hughes said, adding that the class likely would return about Sept. 27 unless the center can find a substitute instructor beforehand. “As of now, it’s canceled indefinitely.”

The classes averaged about 10 seniors per session before the cancellation Friday.

“It’s a smaller class, but that helps with one-on-one instruction,” Hughes said.

Without the exercise class on the calendar, Hughes said she hopes seniors will check out the tai chi classes taught by Barb Reynolds at 10 a.m. Mondays and Fridays. She said those classes help with developing better balance.

The Allen Park Community Center also has a fitness center and offers free monthly health screenings and seminars.

The free screenings are usually the first Tuesday of every month, but the Aug. 3 date is canceled due to the election. The next screening is Sept. 7; each is for all ages.

For more information on Allen Park’s senior events call (313) 928-0771. To learn more about Melvindale’s senior events call (313) 429-1089.

(Contact Chris Jackett at