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Healthy aging at the senior center

Strong Women meets each Thursday at 2 p.m. and is one of the largest exercise classes at the Mid-Columbia Senior Center in The Dalles.

Photo by Derek Wiley
Strong Women meets each Thursday at 2 p.m. and is one of the largest exercise classes at the Mid-Columbia Senior Center in The Dalles.



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Strong Women meets each Thursday at 2 p.m. and is one of the largest exercise classes at the Mid-Columbia Senior Center in The Dalles.

Director Scott McKay said the mission of the Mid-Columbia Senior Center is “to promote healthy aging by providing opportunities for people to explore, connect and contribute.”

With five different exercise classes, a Brain Fitness Club and many more activities like table tennis and Wii Bowling, the senior center has accomplished that mission.

“All of the classes are important because they keep individuals engaged and connected to other folks,” McKay said. “I tell people anything you do here you can do by yourself but here you’re doing it with other people so you’ve got that social aspect but also they motivate you because if you don’t make it, they want to know where you are, so it encourages you to actually continue. All the classes give you that physical benefit, that social connection and exercise is also good for your cognitive skills. It’s a good package.”

The exercise classes, which last from 45 minutes to an hour and take place on Tuesdays and Thursdays, include chair yoga, strong women, Zumba gold, Tai Chi and Seniorsize.

McKay said both the largest and youngest class is chair yoga. Strong women, taught by Fern Wilcox, has a good group each week as well, including two men that are regulars, despite the name. While most of the classes are full of women, there is at least one man in many of the sessions.

“It’s fun because each group has its own dynamic,” McKay said.

According to McKay, the average participant is over 65 years old but the senior center is open to all ages.

“Because we’re during the day, it’s primarily older adults who are retired but there’s no age restriction,” he said. “It all depends on what you feel comfortable. It’s nice because in a class you can have somebody who’s 65 and somebody who’s 85. You get a variety of ages, even generations.”

At the Brain and Fitness Club, which has been at the senior center for about five years and currently meets on Mondays at 1 p.m., people can learn more about the different aspects of improving brain function and memory by watching and then discussing a video. The club also plays games.

“We’ve been focusing on a course on mindful meditation,” McKay said. “Our focus is the mindfulness, the reduced stress and to be focused. You can’t remember something unless you actually see it and pay attention.”

The senior center also has computer and iPad classes to help older adults with technology.

“We really want to be open to the community,” McKay said.

For more information, including a class schedule, go to midcolumbiaseniorcenter.com.



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