New Plum YMCA classes allow participants to be active at any age | TribLIVE.com
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Michael DiVittorio

Burt Kennedy knows he needs to stay active if he wants to keep up with his wife, Marsha.

“A lot of people my age are already in a nursing home,” said Burt Kennedy, 83. “I feel good today. I don’t (keep up with her).”

The Wilkins Township couple has been together the past 41 years, and worked out at the Sampson Family YMCA in Plum the past few years.

They recently participated in new group classes that are part of the YMCA’s Active at Any Age program.

“It’s more fun,” said Marsha Kennedy, 69. “You don’t really know it hurts until you get home. (People) have got to come and try it. It’s good. It’s fun. It’s not too hard. We walk at the (Monroeville) Mall. We just needed to expand what we were doing.”

Active at Any Age is the rebranding of the YMCA of Greater Pittsburgh’s senior programming since it discontinued the Silver Sneakers fitness program in January.

The organization, which oversees the Plum branch, decided to stop offering Silver Sneakers due to changes in reimbursement rates for its participants.

“It was an association-wide decision,” Sampson Family Executive Director Kelli McIntyre said. “Our contract (with Silver Sneakers) ended Dec. 31. Around here it was a big deal because we have more of that age group than any of our other branches do. As time progressed everything became OK … I think people love it. Our classes are just as full. We look at our programs quarterly to see what’s popular and what’s not.”

McIntyre said her facility had an uptick in participation as a result of the rebranding.

Active at Any Age resulted in the restoration of a senior discounted membership.

People ages 62 and older can join for $40 a month compared to the regular $55 monthly adult membership.

Senior couples can join for $55 a month. Only one has to be at least 62 years old for the deal. An adult couple membership is $78 per month.

McIntyre said insurances are still being accepted and financial aid is available.

Instructor Coleen Bortz said people ages 20 to 101 participate in the Active at Any Age programs. The two new classes are circuit and strength training courses.

“It’s become very inclusive,” Bortz said. “At some point, you get to an age where it’s not all about being thin. It’s more about being strong and living independently longer.”

Bortz, 58, of Lower Burrell said she teaches “functional fitness” and shows how the exercises can help with daily living such as opening a jar, getting in and out of chairs and carrying groceries. She also keeps things light with a few jokes.

Bortz said you can predict the weather when doing ankle rolls in her classes.

“If we hear click, click, click, we know it’s going to rain,” Bortz said.

The Plum YMCA’s other group exercises include SeniorStix, a class where people can drum on big stability balls, pickleball, water aerobics and spin classes.

Sampson Family YMCA at 2200 Golden Mile Highway in Plum primarily serves people in the borough, Monroeville and Murrysville.

Call 724-327-4667 or go online to ymcapgh.org for more information.

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