Fun and Fitness for Frugal Fogeys

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By Mary Kay O'Grady


Okay, sorry to call my contemporaries fogeys, but sometimes it takes a lot to get your attention. I was reading the NYTimes this week and came across an item by one Gail L. Martin in Metropolitan Diary. She talked about eavesdropping on the conversation of two other older women. She referred to them as "of my vintage." Eureka! I believe I have finally found a term for aging that works for me and might work for many of my friends who absolutely refuse to call themselves senior citizens.

Now down to business. You probably know by now that experts (gerontologists, social workers, grown children and such), on vintage persons agree that if you want to keep feeling good, you really need the following:

  • exercise
  • mental stimulation
  • social engagement

(Nutrition is important, too, but I follow my late Aunt Jo's advice on that: never have more than two scotches before dinner, and never have less.) In my case it's wine.

Anyway, if you need to up your game on fitness and friendship, I've got a deal for you. Sit down with Park District's Winter Program Guide. It has a pink skater on the front. Turn to page 68 to find out about Active Adult Memberships. They're on sale now for $25 and give you discounts on all sorts of senior exercise programs, classes, discussion groups, and field trips.

I started the Basic Fitness class at Dole more than a year ago and it's terrific – and reasonable. The instructor, Mara Leonard is warm and easygoing, and the participants range in age from the fifties to the eighties. You can work as hard as you want. It's a drop-in punchcard class which amounts to a little over $4 a class.

I also love Book Worms, which is now being held in the elegant environs of Cheney Mansion. Books are put on reserve at the library in advance and the cost is $1 per session! I also moderate the Current Events discussion group, which is on the first Thursday of the month at Longfellow and also $1. I have met some very nice people and always learn something from the discussions.

I'm going to add Brain Builders (p.69) this winter to work on my so-called memory.

If you join the Active Adult program, you'll get a discount on all the activities in the Program Guide that are marked with a starburst saying AAM Eligible. You'll also get a bi-monthly newsletter to keep you up to date. If you don't join, you'll still find the Park District fees are great.

Don't drive? Call the township bus service for transportation both to and from for $1 each way. Don't be shy. I do it. It's really simple, although I have a hard time remembering to call the day before for a reservation.

The Park District's Senior Advisory Committee is working hard to improve programs and we've carved out some big jobs for ourselves:

  • We're out to improve publicity about our programs and increase participation.
  • We're preparing a survey of Oak Park vintage persons to see what they're looking for in programs, what they're willing to pay, etc.
  • We've informed the Park District Commissioners that we think the senior citizens of Oak Park need and deserve a comprehensive senior citizen center to meet our needs and the needs of the upcoming baby boomers.

Your thoughts, please.

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