Tuesday, February 21, 2017

TOP STORY >> Balance tips at senior center

Leader staff writer

The Jacksonville Senior Wellness and Activity Center will hold classes to help older adults improve their balance.

The eight-week program will be held at 9:30 a.m. on Wednesdays starting March 20 through May 8. The location is yet to be determined. It is free to senior center members. Membership at the senior center costs $20 a year. To register for the program, call Connie Evans or Christy McMillon at 501-982-7531.

“The Focus on Balance program is in a classroom setting. People learn about the importance of balance. They will share stories. It has an exercise program that goes with the class. Physical therapist Nancy Much, with Baptist Health Therapy Center in Jacksonville, will teach a class about things that effect balance and how to correct them,” the senior center’s activities instructor, Betty Seals, said.

Joyce Deeter of Jacksonville said she took the balance classes.

“I had a bad fall. I might not have fallen since I took the class,” Deeter said.


The senior center offers tai chi exercise classes on Tuesday and Thursday mornings. Standing tai chi is at 9 a.m. and seated tai chi is held at 10:30 a.m.

Tai chi is a gentle exercise with fluid movements. Classes average 45 minutes.

“Tai chi helps with posture, breathing and flexibilities of joints. It is slow and encourages balance. People use it as a mediation time. The background music helps,” Seals said.

“It is very relaxing,” said Sue Stiles of Cabot.

“It is peaceful,” said Lucia Tamashiro of Jacksonville.

The senior center’s tai chi classes are specifically designed to improve arthritis. They have been offered for seven years.

“New members can start at any time, and we will catch them up. Any exercise is going to help with balance as you age,” Seals said.

“A couple years ago I fell from the bed. I broke my ankle and a bone in my foot. I could not stand. Exercising with Betty, I got back walking again. The pain has subsided, and I’m off the medications,” said Gladys O’Brien of Jacksonville.

Lee Kelley of Austin said his physical therapist told him to do tai chi. He practiced tai chi 10 years before.

“My balance improved tremendously. I don’t fall over,” Kelly said.

“I like it because it helps me a lot with my feet and legs. I was having trouble walking,” said Sylvia Ollar of Jacksonville.