Fit City Success: Dancing the pounds away

TYLER (KYTX) -- As we get older, running and lifting weights becomes less of an option for staying in shape. But dancing seems to be a fountain of youth for the folks at the Tyler Senior Center.

"They're having a great time," Tyler Senior Center Supervisor Kay Odom said.

There's a spring in their step but a lot of years fill these dancing shoes. Maybe not what you'd expect from people in their late 50's into their 80's.

The class teaches dances from the waltz to the ragin cajun. Diane Nolen said the dances are helping her stay one step ahead of the aging process.

"Line dancing to me helps me keep my brain working, my muscles working," she said. 

Nolen suffers from arthritis in her knees and hips and noticed her muscle strength was deteriorating.

"I've found as I've grown older that I need to be active as much as possible so I won't be crippled up sitting in a chair and not able to move," she said.

Not only does dance work on seniors' flexibility, Odom said it also works on their cardiovascular health.

"Actually you are doing the brain aerobics when you're trying to decide if you're on the left foot right foot," she said. "Listening to the beat of the music is great brain aerobics."  

The seniors' smooth moves really add up. In one class, they danced the equivalent of four miles of walking.

Jane Praytor said even her doctor believes dance is a good prescription for fit city success.

"He said it's wonderful exercise,"she said. "It's good for the body mind and spirit and I am a testimony to that."

The dance class is so popular at the senior center, it's grown from eight people to more than 30. The dancers at the center say you don't have be an expert and that they all started as beginners.   

And one other positive -- It's all free. 


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