Seniors get active with yoga, wellness

By NANCY WILSTACH / Community Columnist

Let’s say that you are old enough to go to the Montevallo Senior Center and get lunch and play dominoes … but, hey, you would rather be doing something a tad more energetic.

If that describes your situation, then you are one of those people for whom Montevallo has devised an “active seniors” program.

The Senior Center continues to function as a hangout for the over-55 set, but a few of them now are peeling off on Monday and Wednesday afternoons to go to the building next door for some “chair yoga” and a wellness program.

“These are the Active Seniors of Montevallo,” said Sue Tedford, an active “senior” herself. “Many of us don’t want to sit and look at a plate of green beans.”

Mayor Hollie Cost engaged Tedford to put an active seniors afternoon program together.

Cost tapped the right person because Tedford spent 28 years running Shelby County’s senior program.

Now retired, she is knitting together the kind of program she believes will attract many Montevallo seniors who find the activities at the Grady Parker Senior Center just a bit creaky.

The Monday and Wednesday programs are coached by Diane Landers and Dr. Jermaine Mitchell. Both are on the University of Montevallo faculty. Mitchell is an assistant professor of exercise and nutrition science. Landers is an adjunct in the same department.

They have put together a format that will help the participants stretch, while aiding them in strengthening muscles. And, an added bonus for those of us in the Social Security set, these exercises are done while sitting in a chair or standing behind a chair.

“That’s right,” Tedford said. “You don’t have to get down on the floor.”

That is an excellent selling point. I am not naming names, but some of us might have difficulty getting back up.

Besides the yoga and wellness classes, the city is looking at adding art classes, a walking group and monthly bingo.

Cost noted in her monthly column in Montevallo Chamber Chatter that many of the city’s most popular activities depend on retirees’ involvement to operate smoothly. “Each of the following local amenities and activities were founded or are sustained by energetic senior adults from Montevallo: Arbor Day, Montevallo Parks Trail, Shoal Creek Park, Montevallo Acceptance Project, Scout Lodge, Community Unity Church Services and the Montevallo Senior Center itself.”

On a recent Wednesday Mike Champion took part in the yoga and exercise class.

“I was always into the hard-hitting stuff,” Champion said. At 70, though, he realized that “what I needed was something that stretched my body.”

Mitchel coached the group on how to do just that—stretching muscles safely and gradually increasing their strength. Before long, he had the laughing students sitting in a circle while kicking a giant beach ball around.

The classes are free. To sign up, just call the city hall at (205) 665-2555 or email Mayor Cost at mayorsoffice@cityofmontevallo.com.