Salem seniors make a mind-body connection
Violet Jessel, a volunteer exercise instructor at the Ingram Senior Center, wore a colorful lei and hat as she danced to the songs of the islands during a recent Zengevity class held at the center. The new class, which is being offered at the senior center two days per week, incorporates music, dance, props and strengthening activities for both the mind and the body. APRIL GUILMET
Diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD, Cignoni said her physical activity was previously "rather limited."
Created by Massachusetts resident Georgia London about seven years ago, the program was developed with the unique needs of the elder population in mind.
"I found that the seniors I was teaching needed much more," London said. "They needed mental challenges, emotional support and spiritual access, too."
Intrigued by the program, Drelick reached out to London and soon after recruited several Salem seniors to train as volunteer instructors.
"We're strengthening the inside as well as the outside," Drelick said. "Students in the classes have told me it's helped them to feel free again."
During a recent class, Cignoni and fellow instructors Simone Somnors and Violet Jessel engaged their students with some gentle encouragement.
Later, the seniors donned colorful hats as they bopped about to "You Can't Take That Away From Me."
"It's just great to see all these people gathered here in a circle," she said. "I also like volunteering. You get back so much more when you give."
"I saw it for myself and thought wow, this is great," she said. "This was something both of us could do."
Zengevity classes meet Mondays at 12:30 p.m. and Thursdays at 11:15 a.m. at the Ingram Senior Center, located at 1 Sally Sweet's Way in Salem.
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