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Barb Metzel teaches during an aerobics class Monday November 26, 2012 at the Stewartstown Senior Center in Stewartstown. YORK DAILY RECORD/SUNDAY NEWS - PAUL KUEHNEL
On a regular basis, Barb Metzel sees the positive impact exercise makes — physically, emotionally and socially — on the aging population.

“I'm a senior (citizen) myself,” she said.

Metzel, 77, of Shrewsbury is an aerobics instructor who works with the senior citizens group at Stewartstown United Methodist Church.

“As I got older . . . the senior classes were really important,” she said of teaching aerobics to older men and women.

Students in the classes also form friendships, she said.

“It's an opportunity for a social life for seniors,” she said.

Stewartstown resident Sue Hopple, 68, started taking the aerobics class about two months ago in a “desperate need for exercise,” she said.

“It's a safe place to go,” she said, adding she made new friends at the exercise group who drive her to the senior center for the aerobic classes. “It's just one of the nicest groups of people I've ever been around . . . That is a real blessing.”

Hopple said the exercise classes nurture her physical and emotional health.

“You just feel great,” she said.

Hopple also said Metzel inspires her to stay physically fit.

“Barb . . . is just lovely,” Hopple said.

“Barb is very motivational,” said Hopewell Township resident Debbie Roberts, 55, of Metzel. Roberts started taking Metzel's exercise class, which includes strength training with weights, over two years ago.


“It's a really good all-around class,” Roberts said. “Barb is very motivational. She's in phenomenal shape.”

The regular group workout helps build energy, Roberts said.

“I feel so much better after I go to the class,” she said. “She keeps us moving.”

Other local senior centers also offer group exercise classes.

Steve Newport has been instructing a fitness class at Northeastern Senior Center in Mount Wolf for about

12 years.

“In 1995 I started going to senior centers to teach classes,” Newport said via email. “Two years later my mother passed away far before she should have. (I) redoubled my efforts to make sure the seniors I was working with were going to remain independent as long as possible, to have mobility, a sense of strength and well-being, regardless of their shape and the condition of their bodies.”

Newport said he bonds well with seniors and enjoys instructing the group at Northeastern.

“They're a whole lot of fun, quick witted and eager to laugh while

they learn,” he said.

Programs at your center

SENIOR CENTERS ACROSS THE COUNTY offer a variety of fitness programs including:

· September House, 1251 W. King St., West York, features an exercise room — which includes bicycles, treadmills, elliptical machines and weights — that's open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays.

· Heritage Senior Center, 3700-4 Davidsburg Road in Dover Township, offers Sun style tai chi for arthritis, a Strong Bodies program geared to improve health, a Healthy Steps In Motion class help seniors reduce falls and a Zumba Gold course that offers a complete body workout.

· Red Lion Area Senior Center, 20-C Gotham Place, York Township, offers video lead aerobic classes on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, the center offers a video-led chair dancing class.

The center is looking for a volunteer Zumba Gold instructor, said Heather Hawkins, program coordinator, via email.

“Many of my seniors get their exercise by different activities that are provided throughout the day,” she said. “We also play charades, balloon pop, indoor horse shoes and many other interactive games. I love to play along with them. Watching their faces and hearing them talk about how much fun they have is so rewarding.”

Hawkins said group activities at the senior center help members “make up a unique family.”

· “We offer a variety of programs for our older adults,” said Tammy Miller of Windy Hill Senior Center in Spring Grove, via email.

Zumba Gold — a slower version of the regular Zumba — meets at 9 a.m. Mondays. Line dancing is held at 1 p.m. Tuesdays and polka dance happens at 1 p.m. Thursdays.

“In addition, we have a class called Healthy Steps in Motion, which meets on Wednesdays at 11 a.m.,” she said. “This class focuses on strength and balance to prevent falls. We have several 90-something members who participate in this class. I feel very strongly that they are as healthy as they are because they stay very active.”

· The South Central York County Senior Center, 150 E. Main St., New Freedom, offers line dancing, dancersize class, Zumba Gold, daily isometric exercise class and “daily walking in our gym area,” said Sandra F. Wehr, the center's executive director. “We are restarting our tai chi chih class in January.”

Learn more

TO LEARN MORE about fitness programs for senior citizens, call 717-771-9610 or 800-632-9073 or visit

THE SENIOR LIVING PORTION of the Lutheran Social Services of South Central Pennsylvania offers opportunities for senior citizens to stay active. To learn more, visit or call 717-854-3971.

Senior Games

THE 12TH ANNUAL YORK COUNTY SENIOR GAMES will be June 17 to June 22.

The 2013 National Senior Games will be July 19 to Aug. 1 in Cleveland. Learn more at