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Flex and Strengthen Your Muscles

September 24, 2015

Carole Loescher will challenge and motivate you to stay fit

“March in place four. Touch two right. Two left. March in place four. Touch two right. Two left. Single, single, double. Bicep curl.”

It was a hot, humid summer day, but the weather was comfortably cool in the North Shore Senior Center gym. Lively music played in the background. And with seriousness of purpose, 25 members of a Monday morning Muscle Movers class followed instructions as Carole Loescher cheerfully called out the steps.

The specialized exercise class for older adults focuses on muscular fitness—strength, flexibility, and balance. Carole said that they came up with the name “Muscle Movers” because of its focus and to make clear that it’s not an aerobics class. “Participants can take themselves for a walk, but people don’t typically do exercises for strength, flexibility and balance by themselves,” she commented.

Carole is a fitness specialist who has a master’s degree in exercise physiology and extensive post-graduate training in exercise therapy. She has been teaching at the Center for 20 years and loves the camaraderie she sees among those who attend her classes. Carole is convinced that the class’s positive energy and socialization are beneficial to health and as important as the exercises they do. “Some have been attending faithfully for 10–15 years, which flabbergasts me,” she said.

Though she combines familiar exercises with new routines, each class follows a similar format: standing warm-ups; gentle stretches in a chair; leg strengthening—seated and standing; other exercises to hit major muscle groups; isometrics against the wall; weights—while seated; abdominal work; and “dynamic balance,” a.k.a. dancing! And then of course there’s the cool-down and relaxing stretch to end the hour.

Nearly all the exercises are done while seated or standing nearby. “Whatever muscle group you want to exercise, I can figure out how to strengthen it in a chair without overstressing you,” Carole laughed. “I want everyone to have perfect posture and form, of course, but what I really want is for everyone to have fun.”

Jan McLaren is one of the enthusiastic class participants who have found Muscle Movers a great way to stay fit, “After knee surgery and back difficulties, I was thrilled to find an activity that is great for the body, soul and mind. One where I would not injure myself while exercising. I look forward to attending every class!”

Muscle Movers is part of the North Shore Senior Center’s Lifelong Learning programming that emphasizes fitness and health. The class meets on Mondays and Wednesdays at 9:00 a.m. and 10:15 a.m., and on Fridays at 9:00 a.m. Feel young again! Sign up now for this vigorous—but not strenuous—chance to keep your body flexible and strong.