The right choice of music is very important in Adriana Carr's classes. The students in her "Strength and Endurance Training for Seniors" get a lift from John Philip Sousa but not hip-hop, said Carr, fitness director at the Fountains at Washington House, an Alexandria retirement community.
What class members like best, said Carr: marching band numbers, for their steady but slower beat. The exercises in her twice-weekly class, attended mostly by people 70 to 80 years old, move a little more slowly, too.
For example, during the warm-up, Carr may lead the group in modified jumping jacks: Participants stand and wave both arms, as if making snow angels in the air, but their legs remain stationary. The exercise is accessible to virtually all, although "most are pretty spry," said Carr, who is certified through the American Senior Fitness Association.
The weight lifting portion of the class involves special machines developed at the California-based Keiser Institute on Aging. Compressed air provides the resistance, and members adjust settings by pushing a button. Participants take turns at 13 stations, doing such exercises as leg presses and leg extensions, while being closely monitored by Carr.
Ann Glennon, a retired elementary school teacher, praised the program and its "wonderful" instructors.
"I really feel much more flexible and psychologically better, because I know I'm exercising," she said. Any senior in the area can participate in the classes. To register or learn more, call 703-845-2964. Register by 4 p.m. Friday, July 30, for a 10-week session of two 30-minute classes per week at Fountains. The program costs $70 and begins the week of Monday, Aug. 2. Participants must also bring a doctor's consent form.
-- Samantha Ganey