Fitness class helps seniors stay on their toes

Aroostook Republican Photo/Joshua Archer
    Matter of Balance coach Betty Rinehart instructs students Deloress Skidgel, Judy Guerette and Vi Ketch on how to improve their balance skills at Lyndon Heights in Caribou.

By Joshua Archer
Staff Writer

    CARIBOU — An eight-week course designed to help aging individuals improve their balance came to an end last Wednesday and left participating students feeling more confident about getting around.

    Matter of Balance coach Betty Rinehart has been making weekly visits to help a group of ladies learn balance and mobility skills at Lyndon Heights in Caribou.
    “[My students] feel much more comfortable in their balance because they’re exercising more,” Rinehart said. “If they don’t move they’re going to lose it. ‘Use it or lose it.’”
    Aroostook Agency on Aging offered the program at no cost to its students. During the course each student worked with Rinehart through a notebook of easy exercises that can be done in the home such as: how to improve leg and ankle strength, stretches to improve flexibility in neck and arms, how to walk on wet pavement, and more.
    “I feel sure of my balance more because I’ve done the exercises,” participant Judy Guerette said.
    According to the National Council on Aging, falls are the leading cause of fatal and non-fatal injuries for older Americans.
    Students in the class gained independence and progressed from being unable to do some of the exercises to being able to do all of them.
    “It was very beneficial to me,” student Vi Ketch said. “Once you’ve learned the class and you’re home by yourself you can do it by yourself because you’ve learned it the right way.”
    Aroostook Agency on Aging will offer Matter of Balance for another eight weeks this fall.