Group finds working out cures what ails you

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, June 5, 2007

DEMOPOLIS &8212; While most workout groups look to build muscle, tone and condition themselves to reach peak physical performance, the group that utilizes the facilities at the Theo Ratliff Center aren&8217;t your normal gym rats, and they aren&8217;t after your normal exercise results.

The Classy Senior Citizens, who hold workout classes at the center three times a week, are looking for quite a different outcome &8212; the type that helps the group perform every day routine movements while fighting the onset of arthritis. The group does so through a specialized workout regiment provided through the Arthritis Foundation and under the supervision of Center workers.

PACE program, which stands for People with Arthritis Can Exercise, has been around for several years and in the last two years has been picked up by the Arthritis Foundation as an approved technique in battling the onset of arthritis and other debilitating diseases. Since the Foundation has picked up the program it has mandated that program leaders receive training before instructing others, as Norah has since taking over the PACE instruction at the Center from Johnny Brooker.

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This is especially important to individuals moving towards senior status, because of the health issues that follow on the heels of arthritis. According to the Centers for disease Control and Prevention, in 2003 9,500 residents of the United Sates died due to arthritis. Studies have also found that those with rheumatoid arthritis face a significant increase in the rate of cardiovascular diseases and die five to 10 years earlier than those without arthritis.

Williams said the exercises help club members retain function and range of motion in the areas that arthritis can burden. Since that includes almost every joint of the body the group&8217;s workout covers a range of movements to include all joints, focusing on those most prevalently incapacitated by the disease.

Director of the Center, Edward Ward, said the group that participates in the exercising consists of around 15 members of the Classy Senior Citizens of Demopolis. He said the three-day a week program can be quite strenuous on some members so the workout is not always attended everyday by the participants.