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Keeping seniors in balance

Growing Stronger program keeps seniors in balance Senior Fitness is the key to Growing Stronger Allegany County. Based on Tuft’s University’s Growing Stronger curriculum, one-hour strength training sessions occur two times per week at ten sites across Allegany County. 

Strength training is an important activity for everyone. The National Osteoporosis Foundation states that osteoporosis is a major public health threat for an estimated 44 million Americans or 55 percent of the people 50 years-of-age and older. In the U.S. today, 10 million individuals are estimated to already have the disease and almost 34 million more are estimated to have low bone mass, placing them at increased risk for osteoporosis. Allegany County Growing Stronger is an initiative started in 2005 by the Wellness & Prevention Committee of the Community Partnership on Aging; a collaboration of health and human service organizations, community members and governmental agencies. Its purpose is to help combat the health issues that often affect seniors; including osteoporosis. The program is endorsed by the Arthritis Association and the Osteoporosis Prevention Association. 

 Participating in the Growing Stronger program can help reduce the signs and symptoms of many chronic diseases such as arthritis and improves the ability to stay in balance which will help reduce seniors’ risk of falling. 

Can you be too old to start such a program? Never!  Allegany County residents as old as 104 have achieved success from participating in Growing Stronger. Participants 55 years-of-age and older are encouraged to join the program.    

New participants are welcome at anytime but must complete a New Participant Registration Packet prior to enrolling in the class. If you are interested in participating in the FREE Growing Stronger Program, please review the schedule below to identity the class that best meets your needs:   

Site    Days    Time  
Alfred - University Church Center  Monday & Wednesday   10:30am
Agelica – United Methodist Church    Tuesday & Thursday   4:15pm 
Belfast – Methodist Church  Tuesday & Thursday     10:30am
Belmont – American Legion    Tuesday & Thursday   10:00am 
Bolivar – Fire Hall   Monday & Wednesday   10:30am
Canaseraga – Fire Hall   Tuesday & Thursday    8:00am
Cuba – Community Center    Monday & Thursday   10:30am
Fillmore – Fire Hall     Monday & Thursday    10:30am  
Friendship – Community Center   Tuesday & Thursday   10:45am 
Wellsville – Congregational Church  Monday & Wednesday     4:30pm  

As an added benefit, program incentives are awarded to participants through a point-based system. Participants earn one point each time he/she completes the following; attends class, increases weight(s), brings a friend to class, attends a health and/or wellness workshop, has monthly perfect attendance, completes annual self-assessment, and/or participates in the annual Senior Fitness Test. Incentive Points are accumulated throughout the year and then tallied in September. Growing Stronger participants then have the opportunity to redeem their points for wellness prizes. In October of each year, participants are invited to attend the Senior Gala hosted in Allegany County. Refreshments, entertainment and an awards ceremony provide each participant an opportunity to celebrate their achievements and receive recognition.   

Thank you to the Allegany County United Way for continuously co-sponsoring the Growing Stronger program. With the support of United Way, the Growing Stronger program has expanded and continues to grow across Allegany County.   

 Here’s what participants say about the program: 

“So far, I have participated in the “A Matter of Balance” class and the Allegany County Growing Stronger strength training program. The balance class taught me to get up and down off the floor again. Then I began the Growing Stronger class. In the six months I have been participating in the class, I have noticed excellent changes in my strength. I can turn my head better while driving. I can walk up the stairs properly. I can go horseback riding again after not being able to do that for twelve years. I can also do sit-ups again without holding my feet down. I am so grateful for this opportunity, as I feel so much stronger and confident of my physical abilities.” – Fay Billings 

 “I feel better! My family is proud of me! I definitely need the exercises! The Friends I made are wonderful. Yesterday was my 80th Birthday!” – Connie Jordan*   

 Photo Caption: Connie Jordan from the Bolivar Growing Stronger site

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