Healthy social activity for seniors

Nick Seebruch

Published on February 3, 2017

Pam Lamarche demonstrating for her Friday morning Senior Fit class at the Benson Centre (Nick Seebruch/ TC Media).

CORNWALL, Ontario - Marilyn Parisien, Deb Laundrie and Pam Lamarche are keeping Cornwall's aging population fit, active and connected to their community through their Senior Fit classes at the Benson Centre.

Senior Fit's class sizes vary day to day, but in total they have around 52 regular participants.

"I want to keep myself moving now that I'm retired," said Pauline, one participant who's been taking Senior Fit classes for a year-and-a-half. "I like the group atmosphere and the music."

All of the Senior Fit instructors are Can Fit Pro FIS and CCAA certified to teach older adults.

"This program is geared towards baby boomers seniors," said Senior Fit founder Marilyn Parisien. "Most participants are in their 60s or 70s and a handful are in their 80s. We try to make it possible for low mobility and high mobility seniors to participate in the same classes."

The Senior Fit program focuses on strength training, cardio training, balance training, mobility training and fall prevention.

"Its a good way to get the old body going and its good fun," said Bodo Schimidt, a 10 year Senior Fit participant. "The teachers are fabulous and they make it fun and get you going."

Not only does Senior Fit provide a venue for seniors to improve their physical health, but Senior Fit also contributes to their social and emotional health as well.

"They come here because no one feels intimidated because we cater to their age group," said instructor Pam Lamarche. "We put a lot of emphasis on getting to know our participants, the social aspect is just as critical. A lot of seniors register on their own and after a few months, they know everyone in the program. If they feel welcome they will keep coming back."