Senior Living: Fitness made easy

Published 6:30 am Wednesday, April 21, 2021

The YMCA at Austin Community Recreation Center offers much in the way of fitness for seniors


For those who are aiming for healthy aging, 30 minutes can make a big difference, especially when that half hour is guided and done in the company of peers.

The YMCA at Austin Community Recreation Center has plenty of ways to keep senior citizens on their feet and in the company of their peers. The Legends classes range from nordic walking to gentle yoga. There are also classes that help attendees deal with arthritis and mental health and isolation.

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Brigette Rambadt, Healthy Aging Program Coordinator at YMCA at ACRC, said that she wants seniors to feel welcome and instructors will make sure nobody is pushed beyond their limits.

“One of our favorite things to do is to meet people where they are. We want to get rid of that preconceived notion that you have to be in shape before you go to get in shape,” Rambadt said. “We’ve been getting more evidence based health interventions and we’re able to offer classes to members and non members.”

Besides moving on dry land, Rambadt said a lap swim or walk through the pool can do wonders for joint pain. No matter what the exercise is, every senior will advance at their own pace.

“People in the classes feel empowered to get through the rest of their day because they have that support system that gets them feeling better. Our classes are aimed at groups who have the same concerns,” Rambadt said. “They’re taught in sessions and they’re progressive where we meet every individual person where they are at and everyone progresses at their own level.”

While masks, appointments and distancing are still in effect in the YMCA at ACRC, the building is getting more and more open and vaccinated seniors have felt safe in the building. The simple process of getting out and exercising has brought out the best in all who have walked through the doors at the YMCA at ACRC, which had just opened shortly before the pandemic began.

“Being back has meant so much to people,” Rambadt said. “It has meant so much for their mental and physical health and it’s given them a sense of normalcy. They’re climbing out of that cocoon of COVID and it’s nice to see everyone again.”

The new building has given the staff much more room to work in and some classes will be moved outside again when the weather warms up.

The YMCA at ACRC also has an adjustable schedule. If a certain night or day works better, they’d like to know about it.

“We’re always adding new stuff and if there’s something that we’re not doing at the right time, that’s something we want to hear,” Rambadt said. “We love feedback.”

Other activities seniors can use to age well include: cycling, cardio equipment, pilates, personal training, the North Terrace Book Club, strength equipment and the walking track.