CORNELIUS – Bad weather didn’t sway more than 100 people from participating in the Lake Norman Senior Fun and Fitness Day to promote fellowship and healthy living.
The Mecklenburg County, Huntersville, Cornelius and Davidson parks and recreation departments and Charlotte Mecklenburg Senior Centers organized the eighth annual event, which had 140 registered participants. It took place April 15 at Jetton Park, featuring health vendors, a fitness walk, exercise class demonstrations and lunch.
“Seniors love it,” said Joey Bruce of the Cornelius department. “It’s nice to be able to come out and enjoy the park, meet people in the community and feel out the classes.”
Among classes demonstrated were chair exercises, line dancing and tai chi, which are available through the senior center or towns’ programming.
North Mecklenburg Senior Center Director Joanne Ahern said keeping active helps adults stay healthy, safe and independent, plus events like Senior Fun and Fitness Day “give them a chance to get out for fresh air and not be so isolated.”
Sandra Hoyt and Agnes Babboni, of Cornelius, have been attending the event for years.
“You see the same people and meet new people,” Hoyt said. “It’s very informative for seniors. It’s important to know things that are going on that you don’t hear about, and it’s a positive event for seniors.”
The pair doesn’t limit themselves to only the fitness day to be involved. Both have found other ways to stay active. Hoyt prefers taking advantage of senior center offerings, adding that when she moved to the area, she couldn’t join fast enough. Babboni has found other programs, including pickleball and garden club.
“The Y has OWLS that comes and does programs and you can meet oodles of people and you fall into other things,” she said. “There is so much to do in this area that is free or inexpensive.”
Jessica Boesmiller, healthy living coordinator for the Y, said the Older Wiser Living Stronger community outreach program at area churches offers trips, lunches and classes for seniors. Plus the Y has another program that allows attendees to exercise and meet with a dietician and nurse.
While at her booth, Boesmiller had attendees playing balloon volleyball.
“Their heads and hands are up the whole time and it’s good physical activity they don’t event realize they are doing,” she said. “They are engaged. It’s sneaky fitness.”
Other vendors offered games and prizes while giving out information.
“There are a lot of resources for the community and this lets them know what’s available,” Dr. Seth Moliver, of Moliver Chiropractic, said of the event.
His office provides a way to take away some of the pain to improve the overall quality of life.
“If they stay healthy, they can live longer and be able to care for themselves,” said Chantal Bilodeau, fitness specialist for Huntersville Family Fitness and Aquatics. The facility offers senior programs with exercises, water aerobics and other activities. They also have a group that goes out to lunch each week.
Huntersville police offered information about avoiding identity theft.
Members of the Cornelius police department also gave safety information, getting people involved in a program where people put medical and medication information in a specified canister in their freezer for emergency personnel to have access to if they ever have to respond to the home. Those interested in participating can call Officer Ronnie Messer at the police department.
“It’s good for police and seniors to get together and share information,” Messer said of the importance of participating in senior day events.
Plus, residents are able to get out and have an enjoyable time being together.
“Seniors think they can’t do things, but this is evidence of all that they can do,” said line dance instructor Cindy Cook. “It makes them healthier, stronger, living and loving life.”