CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- The music is upbeat and the atmosphere is fun. It is a morning exercise class at the Tyvola Senior Center in the Madison Park neighborhood.
The movements have purpose. There are shoulder exercises to help them carry in the groceries, or put a pot on the stove. Lower body work is done to strengthen balance and flexibility. Most of all the classes are designed to help the participants avoid injury from a fall in the home. The classes are part of Mecklenburg County’s effort to keep its aging population moving.
Jean Franklin is having a great time.
“At my age, I'm 87, and I feel like I need all the help I can get. We don't do as much as we should at home."
Carol Schmauch is here to keep up with her husband as they go on hikes through nature. After attending these classes for a number of weeks, she has more energy, feels stronger, and her blood pressure is lower.
"I used to huff and puff a little bit going up the hills and I don't do that so much anymore."
April Pinkney has a master’s degree in Clinical Exercise Physiology. She is the program assistant here. Talking with senior's everyday she's learned their biggest fear is a fall in the home.
"A fall can just set somebody back so much. Once they have a fall their quality of life decreases so much. They've broken a hip-- just scared to do things, but they’re more likely to have a second fall."
Pinkney herself has seen the benefits of seniors taking small steps to improve their health.
"My great-grandmother is 93 and I gave her three exercises that she does every morning and she always calls me and says, I just notice I can get out of the chair easier."
The Senior Center, on Tyvola Road near the Marion Diehl Recreation Center, also offers nutritional education, and arts and craft classes.