The YMCA has always strived to offer programs and activities for its participants, and with its Enhance Fitness classes geared toward older members’ needs, the Parkland Y has allowed that mission to be accomplished.
Ken DePew of Parkland, a World War II veteran, is happy with his experience with the program, as it has positively changed his overall well-being.
“I used to walk by the Y every day and go inside to get a drink of water while I took a rest. Then one day, they had suggested that I sign up,” said DePew, who was an aircraft electrician during the war. “It’s helped me build muscle strength, feel better overall, and coordinate my hands and feet better. I feel very good, so I guess what I’m doing is working.”
But DePew, who no longer takes medication for diabetes and high blood pressure since his consistent exercise regimen, is not the only beneficiary of the Parkland Y’s Enhance sessions.
Jacqueline Mintz of Coconut Creek, 57, has also reaped some benefits in her short time with the local program.
“I asked about it one day because my friend suggested it to me, but at first I was concerned because I’m still a beginner. But it’s been a great starting point for me, and I’m sure I’ll want to do more,” Mintz said about the 3-days-per-week Enhance Fitness program.
And while DePew and Mintz participate with approximately 20 others in the Parkland program, there are plenty of others involved within the 34 other Enhance Fitness programs throughout Broward County.
“This program is proven to work through scientific research for participants to get healthier and stronger with a nice sense of community,” said Gabriel Ochoa director of Senior Health Innovations for the YMCA of Broward County. “It’s a great way to make friends with a nice emotional and social component while having the opportunity to exercise three times a week.”
According to the YMCA, Enhance Fitness is a nationally recognized evidence-based senior fitness program endorsed by the Centers for Disease Control and the Health Foundation of South Florida, in which the classes are taught by certified fitness instructors who have additional experience working with older adults.
“I think it’s an incredible way for them to develop and improve their health. It’s results-driven and helps them be able to live healthier lives,” said Maryalicia Johnson, vice president of communications for the YMCA of Broward County. “They can learn how to make better food choices, have more social connections and combat some health issues that are out there.”