New senior fitness activities in Anchorage

The Alaska Department of Public Health and Social Services has awarded two grants totaling $10,000 to the Anchorage Senior Activity Center to initiate new physical fitness programs for Alaska seniors - programs to keep seniors active both indoors and outdoors.

The grants include $7,000 to enable the senior center to offer the Go4Life Program, an innovative approach to developing an exercise and physical fitness program at indoor facilities, and $3,000 for an outdoor trail-walking groups project to be known as the Anchorage Senior Trail Program. The Senior Trail Program will be developed in cooperation with the Anchorage Parks Foundation, which provided funding for the trail-walking program.

The grant awards were announced by Dawn Groth, adult fall prevention program manager for the Department of Public Health and Social Services.

Ms. Groth also notified the Anchorage Senior Activity Center it would serve as a distribution center and activities coordinator for bicyclists. Participating cyclists will be provided helmets, vests, backpack, lights and related safety equipment with a total value of approximately $100. Those will be provided free of charge to cyclists completing a three-hour course.

Fitted for you

The Go4Life program was developed by the National Institute on Aging to provide guidance on how to develop an exercise and physical fitness program that is right for you. It is meant to deal with the problem that so much information is available on those subjects that the sheer volume can be overwhelming and confusing, serving as a disincentive to getting started and in doing what will do you the most good.

Most people know that we are supposed to exercise as a way to help maintain a strong and healthy body,

especially as we age. The Go4Life program provides fundamental guidance for seniors interested in starting or enhancing an exercise and activity program.

The centerpiece of the program is "Your Everyday Guide: Exercise & Physical Activity," an informative publication available online at http://www.nia.nih.gove/Go4Life and in print from participating organizations. The guide suggests simple ways to develop or improve your fitness plan.

The Go4Life program, the materials and education sessions are available free at the Anchorage Senior Activity Center, 1300 E. 19th Ave., from 2:30 to 3:30 p.m. on Thursdays. The education sessions focus on the program steps and offer strategies tailored to individual participants as they develop their own exercise and fitness activities.

Walking the trails

Under the Senior Trail Program, the Anchorage Senior Activity Center, in partnership with the Anchorage Parks Foundation, will be starting trail walking groups for people interested in getting some fresh air on area trails. Information on the trail walking groups will also be offered at the ASAC sessions from 2:30 to 3:30 p.m. on Thursdays.

For more information, contact Dawn Groth 334-5966 or

Bicycling opportunity

Beth Schuerman, project director of the Center for Safe Alaskans, said her group hopes to train 50 Alaska residents for a federally-funded bicycle program by Dec. 15, and would like to include a group from the Anchorage Senior Activity Center, hopefully with 10 to 15 participants.

The three-hour course portion of the program includes one hour of classroom work, one hour of bike maintenance and one hour of skills practice and group riding. Upon completion, each of the riders will receive $100 in bike safety gear. The courses will be conducted by instructors certified by the League of American Bicyclists. For information, contact Beth Schuerman, Center for Safe Alaskans, 562-4178 or

Brittney Mitchell is fitness manager and Patrick Curtis is health and wellness coordinator at the Anchorage Senior Activity Center.

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