Young, lithe gymnasts take percussive runs across a spring floor at the new Oak Park Gymnastics & Recreation Center when the sound of laughter and clapping brings pause to the tumbling.
Nearby, a group of adults try out some of the same moves as the other gymnasts in the center. They range in age from late teens to 40-something and laughter comes easily when some discover surprising strength and flexibility believed long gone.
With the opening of the new center, the Park District of Oak Park offered an adult gymnastics program, which quickly attracted 12 to the Thursday night class, with a waiting list.
A couple of students were gymnasts in high school and their muscle memory quickly acclimated them to the various apparatuses. A few wanted to share in their daughters' experience while others were looking to add to their fitness regimen.
"I always wanted to do this, but I was a girly-girl from an era when girls did not do sports," said Beverly Deck, who stated her age as 40-plus. "I love it."