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Active Aging program promotes healthy lifestyle
new slt exercise class
Megan Hammeke from the Great Bend Recreation Commission holds two flyswatters that will be provided for Swat Aerobics, during a free fitness program for senior citizens. The eight-week Active Aging program is sponsored by three area agencies and starts Feb. 2 at the Great Bend Recreation Center. - photo by Susan Thacker/Great Bend Tribune

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Three area agencies will pool their resources to offer people 50 years of age and older a free wellness program.

The Active Aging program starts Thursday, Feb. 2, and runs for eight weeks. Participants will meet from 9:30-10:45 a.m. Thursdays at the Great Bend Recreation Center, 1214 Stone St. Sponsors are Elder Care, the Barton County Extension and the Great Bend Recreation Commission.

Donna Krug from the Extension office said the agencies received a $400 grant from the Katey Walker Foundation at Kansas State University to create this promotion for an active and healthy lifestyle. From Feb. 2 through March 22, participants will engage in games and challenges, walks and other group exercises. That includes an introduction to the GBRC’s Cavanaugh Wellness Center, where an instructor will show participants how to use the exercise machines. There will also be some "Swat Aerobics," as an instructor shows how to use fly swatters and other common items in an exercise routine. There will also be chair exercises, Zumba dance and exercise using resistance bands.

"There’s going to be healthy snacks and refreshments at every session," Krug said.

Each week will feature a healthy lifestyle presentation, Elder Care Director Janet Splitter said. The first program will be about MyPlate, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s new food icon.

"The Pyramid (nutrition icon) hasn’t gone away," Splitter said. However, MyPlate is tailored to specific groups, such as older adults, and resembles a place setting, with a 9-inch plate to represent a meal. "Basically, half of your plate should be fruits and vegetables," she said.

Other presentations will deal with "portion distortion" and eating in moderation; label reading in the grocery store; carb counting; sodium/salt; whole gains and fibers; and the DASH diet (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension).

Diann Henderson from the GBRC said there will also be door prizes, including step counters, books on living well and a membership to the Cavanaugh Wellness Center. And people will be able to use the indoor walking track at the Recreation Center when it’s cold outside.

"The program is free, but they’ll need to sign up and register," Henderson said. For more information call the Barton County Extension Office, 793-1910, or the GBRC office, 793-3755, ext. 2.

Krug said this program is also a good lead-in to the 2012 Walk Kansas program, which starts March 18.