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Young at heart


Seniors flock to Fitness Day at ACC

by: REVIEW PHOTO: VERN UYETAKE - National Fitness Day was a big hit at the Lake Oswego Adult Community Center. Shaping up here are Kay Kerr, in front, Larry Brown and Karen Brown."Reach tall!” instructor Nancy Bantz commanded the senior citizens in her aerobics exercise class.

They did. Some had to sit down while they exercised. Others had difficulty moving. But they all followed Bantz intensely and did what they could with great enthusiasm. They showed plenty of heart.

That was just one of the success stories at National Senior Health & Fitness Day, which was held at the Lake Oswego Adult Community Center on May 28. More than 200 participants came to exercise and gain knowledge about senior health, and that was just what Kelliegh Bradley was hoping for.by: REVIEW PHOTO: VERN UYETAKE - Nancy Bantz was all smiles and grace as she led senior citizens through some fun aerobic exercises. Bantz, a former ACC director, has been getting seniors in shape for many years.

“It was a smashing success,” said Bradley, who directed the event. “It was a very inspiring day for myself and the Parks & Recreation Fitness Day team. There is nothing better than seeing our community of 50-plus adults come together with the incentive to live a healthy and happier lifestyle.”

The ACC fitness and health program has grown a lot since Bradley became its director a year ago, but exercise has long been on the agenda at the center. Bantz, who led her Fitness Day aerobics classes with amazing grace, is a former director of Lake Oswego Parks & Recreation and served as director of the ACC in 1995. Of all the things Bantz did in her career with the City of Lake Oswego, leading elder citizens in exercise was her favorite.

“I’ve been doing this a long time,” Bantz said. “It’s my passion. I’ve been working with senior citizens on exercise since I was in my 20s.”

Early in her career, Bantz went on home visits to senior citizens and she noticed something.

“I saw how these older adults needed to be stimulated,” Bantz said. “They needed to get moving. I read a book called ‘Fitness After 50’ and I thought, ‘I can do this!’ They just needed to free their body up and move with joy.”

A former dancer, Bantz has helped countless senior citizens get moving with joy over the years, and if her performance last week is any indication, she’s lost none of her zest for the job. She got her pupils smiling, too.

“I’ve got some performers here,” Bantz told her senior exercisers. “I’m going to take you out on the road.”

It turned out to be a perfect day at the ACC, which made Bradley very happy.

“This event just adds fuel to our passion for providing quality services to the Lake Oswego community,” Bradley said. “I’m already looking forward to next year’s Fitness Day.”

The main purpose of Fitness Day was to inspire elder citizens to start exercising. They were easy converts.

“It’s harder than I thought,” said Ann Shankland of Lake Oswego after finishing her session with Bantz. “I’m no dancer.”

But when asked if she was going to continue exercising at the ACC, Shankland said, “Oh, I am!”

For information about Kelliegh Bradley’s fitness classes at the ACC, go to ci.oswego.or.us/ACC or call 503-635-3758.