Yoga for the young-at-heart

Senior fitness classes at Marine Park
Feel the burn: Senior citizens 60 years old and up are eligible to enroll in the City Parks Seniors Fitness Program for six-week classes in yoga or tennis in Marine Park.
Photo by Justina Wong

Senior citizens on a tight budget have a way to break a sweat without breaking the bank with free fitness classes this spring in Marine Park.

Locals age 60 and older can get fit for free with twice-weekly tennis and yoga classes offered by the City Parks Senior Fitness program, an eight-week series that gives residents a chance to increase their fitness while socializing with other local seniors in the fresh air, according to the foundation’s sports director.

“Exercise is so important at all ages, but it is especially important for seniors who typically lead more sedentary lifestyles,” says Mike Silverman, the director of sports at City Parks Foundation. “We’ve found that exercising even just once a week helps participants feel better mentally and emotionally. Seniors Fitness is a great opportunity for seniors to be social and meet new people in their neighborhoods, while getting outside and having some fun.”

The citywide program, now sponsored by Airbnb, began in 2006, and more than 7,000 seniors have participated in the fitness frenzy. A young-at-heart yogi who attended the classes in previous years said the stretching sessions helped heal his bad back.

“I started upping my yoga classes and I found it was all I needed — I dropped the chiropractor,” said Joe Casino, who lives in Midwood and has participated in the yoga classes for the past two years. “I don’t get all those backaches anymore.”

The class is ideal for both yoga newbies and gurus, according to Casino, who said individuals move at their own pace.

“You’re always instructed not to try something if you don’t feel comfortable,” he said. “It is a matter of just making an effort.”

And the program isn’t just about exercise — Casino said the fitness classes always improve his mood.

“It is just something special,” he said.

City Parks Seniors Fitness Program in Marine Park. Yoga at the Salt Marsh Nature Center (Avenue U and E. 32nd Street). Beginning April 27. Mondays and Wednesdays at 9 am. Free. Tennis at the tennis courts (Avenue S and E. 32nd Street). Beginning April 28. Tuesdays and Thursdays at 11 am. Free.

Reach reporter Vanessa Ogle at vogle@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260–4507. Follow her attwitter.com/oglevanessa.

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