PEPPERELL — The Pepperell Senior Center’s New Years resolution is: Get active!
Starting in January, a schedule of fitness events, some new, some tried and true, will be available for all ages. A new yoga dancing class is also being offered. Traditional exercise classes and some with more foreign flare, such as the Latin Zumba Gold, Indian Yoga or Chinese Qi Gong are all ways to stay fit and healthy.
“Our fitness and dance classes are some of the most beneficial offerings at the senior center,” Council on Aging Director Marcia Zaniboni said.
“And they are the most popular, especially with younger seniors.”
Benefits go beyond fitness as well, Zaniboni says, learning dance steps are also a workout for the brain, they improve memory and stem dementia. Of course, January is a good time to start fresh and get into a new routine as well, said Activities Coordinator Bethany Loveless.
“We hope people of all ages come and take advantage of these new programs,” she said.
Programs at the center are all taught by certified instructors. Louise Dorian, who leads a popular belly dancing classes at 4:30 p.m. on Wednesdays, will be adding a third yoga classes during the week on Wednesday at 3:30 p.m. in addition to Tuesday at 10 a.m., and Thursday 9 a.m.
“Yoga really is a wonderful warm up to dancing,” she said. “One gets stretched out, their mind is focused and they’re relaxed, along with belly dancing, it is two different modalities back to back.”
Her yoga instruction focuses on posture, always returning to Tadasana, or Mountain pose, Dorian says, which promotes additional postures throughout a session. Belly dancing and yoga both provide relaxing, gentle physical activity. Her new program, line dancing, will be on Fridays at 1:30 p.m.
“I was asked to teach this by popular request,” Dorian said. “The choreography of it gets it into their body and mind and allows participants to have some fun with it, to really move to the music.”
Line dancing does not require a partner, instead dancers line up in rows and dance a wall, or direction, in unison, then turn to face another wall. The program will feature country western dances and music as well as some popular dances like the Electric Slide.
“The fantastic thing about the programs is you get to dance to beautiful music, it lifts your spirit,” Dorian said. “Pepperell was my first experience working with seniors and I am totally enjoying it, now I’m teaching at two others as well.”
“Let Your Yoga Dance,” another new program, begins Monday Jan. 9, at 1 p.m. This joy-filled movement class combines singing and dancing movements with relaxing yoga.
According to Instructor Jan Cunningham, no yoga or dance experience is required to participate and anyone can do it, no matter age or physical limitations. The class can also be modified for participants who wish to sit.
Qi Gong is a low-intensity practice of aligning breathing and movement to bring about healing and meditation. The more well-known Tai chi is a type of Qi Gong. Class begins at 12:30 p.m. on Tuesdays.
Thursday mornings at 11 a.m. is the Latin-infused dance workout of Zumba Gold. Massage appointments can be scheduled on the second and fourth Wednesdays of the month. Fees are $30 for a half hour and $45 for a full hour. All other classes are $2 per session for Pepperell Seniors and $3 per session for other participants.