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Hip Gliders, Bicep Curls and Quick Feet: Members 55+ Muscle-Up with Prime Time Fitness

By Cori Mattli, YWCA Strategic Communications Specialist
August 3, 2018
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“You might not like this one!” says Group Fitness Instructor, Theresa Currie. “We’re going to do hops side to side. Like jumping over a hump.” Throughout the week, Theresa leads Prime Time Fitness classes, specialized classes at YWCA Minneapolis for members who are 55+.

Theresa gets the class started by turning up the pop music and everyone begins marching it out. This particular class works in a circuit – the participants move from block to block, focusing on different areas of their body. They do shoulder rolls, knee ups, air punches and work with resistance bands. “It looks easy, but it’s not easy!” says one member.

Smaller Classes, More Individualized Attention

Theresa is attentive – she watches each participant and suggests modifications or adjustments as they move. “OK, your leg is a bit wiggly,” she offers one participant during a hip glider move, “I want it to be set.”

YWCA Midtown launched the first Silver Sneakers class in the Twin Cities Metro area over 15 years ago as a class geared toward older adults. Back then, the classes drew a crowd of 10-15 participants on a good day. Those same classes now draw over 400 people a week.

Theresa says she recognized the need for a new class while teaching Silver Sneakers: “It started because I was seeing up to 60 people in each class and they weren’t doing the exercises correctly. And I really don’t like seeing someone doing a squat incorrectly.” But with such a big group, it was hard to be observant of each and every person. So in April this year, YWCA Midtown started offering a series of new classes – Prime Time Fitness – where participants could get more individualized attention.

Guided Strength Training

The classes have been a hit. “It is a very dedicated group on Fridays,” says Cathy, a member who is a regular at Prime Time Fitness classes. After she retired four years ago, Cathy had knee surgery and recovery has been slow-going. “The Prime Time Fitness classes are another day of the week I can go and do strength training,” she says. “Which is nice, because I can’t do it on my own.”

Helping Members Meet Their Goals

Cathy says the classes have been crucial in helping her maintain the activities she loves to do in her retirement, like gardening and looking after the children next door. “It’s really helped me meet goals to be who I am, and who I’ve always been. Just because I’m 68, doesn’t mean I have to be less strong or capable or have less endurance,” says Cathy. Now that her knee rehab has gone well, Cathy wants to get out and do even more. Through these classes, she’s built up the muscles to do that.

No More Aches and Pains

Theresa says she has members telling her stories all the time about how much stronger they feel. One member mentioned she didn’t feel the aches and pains anymore she used to have after shoveling heavy snow. Another member said she’s getting so strong that “her husband lets her do the heavy lifting!”

Strong Enough to Lift Overhead Luggage

One member shared an experience she had while boarding a flight. She was getting ready to stow her luggage in the overhead bin and another passenger asked if she needed help. Her response? A firm “No, thank you!” She was strong enough now to lift it herself.

Theresa says she loves to see people feeling better: “The classes are strength, core and balance focused. It helps people feel confident in the exercises they do, so when they go back to Silver Sneakers classes, they are able to do them better.” The members say each class makes a difference to help them feel stronger and more resilient. “It’s nice to have the strength,” says Cathy. “For a long time, I had no muscle, but now I can say: Yes, I can pick that up!

Learn More about Prime Time Fitness