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Weekly Exercise Class Keeps Seniors Moving
Joyce Noble, center, one of the leaders of the twice weekly Senior Gentle Exercise Class, helps guide participants through movement to music at the Escalon Library on Thursday. Co-leader Virginia Ferreira is at right. Marg Jackson/The Times


A new location, same vitality.

Escalon senior citizens are now meeting at the Escalon Branch Library on Second Street for their twice-weekly exercise classes, moving recently from the Community Center. For most participants, the move has been a good one, as they offered praise of the open, airy location.

Started several years ago, the long running Senior Gentle Exercise Class focuses on movement and staying limber, keeping bones strong and muscles toned. Leading the class this past Thursday were current co-leaders Virginia Ferreira and Joyce Noble. Nine were in attendance, which was down slightly from the norm, but Noble said there are many regulars who enjoy the class each week.

“The exercise and the association with others, socialization,” participant Robert Lassos said of what keeps him coming back. “I think we all unanimously like it.”

Added participant Mary Renfroe, “It keeps me mobile and the socialization is great, better than watching TV.”

Mary attends with husband Jim and both said they appreciate the class and the opportunity to both exercise and connect with friends. Also attending the Thursday class was Dora Jensen, who agreed with the goals of staying active and getting out to socialize.

Noble said she has been involved with the class for about a dozen years and most of that time it was at the Community Center. Now, Tuesdays from 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. and Thursdays from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. are the class times, with the exercise group meeting in the Ekholm Room at the library.

“We do mainly the same songs, the same exercises” from week to week, said Noble, with different paces for warm ups, exercise and cool down periods.

Among the music the seniors exercised to at their recent session were such diverse selections as “YMCA” to “The Macarena” and even “The Hokey Pokey.”

Missing the class on Thursday was one of the longest tenured participants, 94-year-old Zola Pritchard. She was, according to other class members, having a new washing machine delivered that day and had to stay home.

Once a month, the group also has a potluck lunch following their class and they often share some coffee and cookies after a workout as well, continuing the socialization aspect.

Jetty Hartgrove, 95, who attends with son Richard, said it has proven beneficial.

“It keeps me moving,” she said. “I’m not going to just sit on the couch and get stiff. Keep moving.”

Longtime local resident Dorothy Girling attended on Thursday, noting that she had seen information about the new location in the paper and wanted to try the class.

“I marked it on my calendar,” Girling said.