Senior fitness: A new lease on life

Anne Lindell loves to garden. She had the green thumb; what she needed was the energy.

Lindell was just getting over a rare neurological disorder that had kept her largely homebound for four years. As her mobility improved, what she needed was strength and endurance, “because i hadn’t really been able to do anything for four years,” said the one-time tomboy who played tackle football with the boys in her neighborhood and can break down the x’s and o’s today with the best of them.

So it was that Lindell joined the Waynesboro Family Y last fall. Now finishing up her first year in the Y’s senior fitness programs, which offer training in yoga and low-intensity movement and strength training, Lindell has a new lease on life.

“It’s told me that I can do things. It’s really given me confidence to be able to do things that I never thought I’d be able to do again,” Lindell said.

Life is about confidence, and that’s even more so the case for seniors. “It’s definitely a matter of, if you don’t use it, you lose it,” said Mary Beth Robb, who teaches senior fitness classes at the Y and also at the Waynesboro Senior Center on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Robb tries to make it easy for seniors in her classes. “You don’t have to have a tool – a hand weight, a band, whatever. If you’re at home sitting in front of the TV, you don’t have to just be sitting there passively. Do knee lifts, shoulder presses,” said Robb, who emphasizes ways to get to the fundamentals in her programs.

A push from Robb is on strategies for improving lower-body strength.

“Your quality of life is so much based on your lower-body strength. If you don’t have lower-body strength, you can’t get out. You have to depend on somebody to get places. That lower-body strength is so key to your ability to really do anything,” Robb said.

Lindell cites that in discussing one other motivation that she’d had to get back up and moving again – her three grandchildren in Maryland.

“I’d never drive up there to see them if I didn’t have this class. If I had to get out of the car, I wouldn’t know if I could pump the gas, walk around the car, whatever. This class has given me confidence to be able to do that,” Lindell said.

Senior classes at the Waynesboro Y

Yoga Stretch

  • 11 a.m. to noon Tuesday and Thursday
  • A blend of three yoga styles to create a harmony of movement for the whole body. Yoga Stretch is taught from a seated and standing position to enhance the flow and energy created in combination with restorative breathing exercises. The class offers a variety of safe and effective options designed to increase flexibility and balance to improve each individual’s sense of well-being.

Senior Surprise – Low Intensity

  • Noon to 1 p.m. Weekdays
  • This low intensity class will provide benefits including greater range of motion, muscle strengthening, cardiovascular stimulation and fun social interaction.

Muscular Strength and Range of Movement

  • noon to 1 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday
  • Have fun and move to the music through a variety of exercises designed to increase muscular strength, range of movement, and activity for daily living skills. Handheld weights, elastic tubing with handles, and a ball are offered for resistance, and a chair is used for seated and/or standing support.

Click here for a full rundown of senior fitness programs at the Waynesboro Y.

Story by Chris Graham. Chris can be reached at
Photos by Mark Miller. Online at

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