ClassiCare Helps Seniors Stay Fit - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

11/23/04-Longview

ClassiCare Helps Seniors Stay Fit

Conventional wisdom used to be that senior citizens should slow down and not engage in a lot of physical activity. But now we know activity, at any age, keeps your bones, muscles and even your mind strong. That's the idea behind Longview's ClassiCare program.

63 year old Rita Crossland is one active woman. "I take strengthening classes with Mark on Tuesday and Thursday mornings and then we have swimming at 12:30. Tuesday afternoon at 3:30 we take yoga exercise. Then we come back with Brandon over here at 6:30 with tai chi."

But Rita wasn't always able to keep up the pace of someone more than half her age. "I had retired at about a year and I had lost muscle strength and was losing balance. As older people get older they lose a lot of balance which creates falls," says Rita.

So back in April, Rita began the ClassiCare program. It offers tons of different activities to suit anyone's needs.

Specialist Mark Wisdom says many of his clients have medical conditions. "It's not hard. We have everything from cardiac rehab type patients, heart bypasses, they've had toe nail replacement, hips, a little of everything.

Russ and Sally Brown never miss a week. They believe exercising together keeps their marriage strong. "It helps the relationship because if I didn't come it would be not as well as it is," says Russ.

Since Rita's been working out, she's seen big improvements in herself. "I have more energy and there's the mental aspects of it. You have more pride in yourself. You stand taller because you feel better," says Rita.

ClassiCare is offered through Good Shepherd Medical Center. The fitness program includes water aerobics, strength training, yoga and even tai chi. For more information on the ClassiCare program, just call Good Shepherd in Longview.

Amy Tatum, reporting. atatum@kltv.com

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