Spotlight on Seniors -Y Membership at Any Age

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By West Cook YMCA

When Yolanda Wynn joined the West Cook YMCA, she initially was looking for a reason to get out of the house. But she found the benefits of membership went well beyond what she expected.

"When I first got to the Y, I couldn't raise my arms to comb my hair. Someone else had to fix my hair for me. I had aches and pains," Wynn said.

She started participating in the Silver Sneakers group exercise program aimed at helping seniors increase muscle strength and range of motion. Through the use of hand-held weights, elastic tubing with handles and special exercise balls, class members use resistance training to improve their physical fitness.

Wynn says the results were remarkable. "I can now comb my own hair and walk a lot farther than before. Also, I lost about thirty pounds since joining the Y."

Now retired, Wynn also credits the YMCA with revamping her social life.

"I'm home alone all day with the dog, my children are grown. I started meeting a lot of different people at the Y."

Before joining the Y, Wynn says her day-to-day life, once so busy with work and taking her children places, had shrunk to center around her neighborhood. The Y gives her a reason to explore Oak Park outside of the grocery store and the doctor's office.

"Before, I was either working or taking my kids to all the places they needed to go. Now, I'm going where I want to go. Our group goes to plays, movies, museums and the farmers' market. We travel to many places I never experienced. I'm really surprised with what the Y
offers seniors," said Wynn.

Wynn has been walking on the Y's indoor track and looks forward to trying the newly installed treadmills. She calls the Y "a blessing spiritually and health-wise. Even the little things have made a difference."

"The Y even puts out that bowl of free fruit at the reception desk and now I'm eating a lot more fruit. Membership has had a very good effect on my health," she said.

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