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Keep moving because 'the less you do, the less you can do'

YMCA "Silver Sneakers" Class

Exercise gets more important each year you age.

"We lose muscle mass every year," said Dave Morris, Downtown Boise YMCA executive director. "It declines beginning at about age 40. It just declines for all of us and it's critical to maintain."

That's why the YMCA has started its Silver Sneakers Program. It's designed to help older adults build muscles and keep moving, something that long time class-goer Bonnie Longstreth says she's seen change people's lives.

"I see some of my friends and my elderly neighbors who can barley walk and I keep saying, 'You need to get out and do something because the less you do, the less you can do,'" Longstreth said.

If standing or sitting for up to an hour causes you too much pain like in some of the offered workout classes, you can always take to the water for similar benefits.

Kathi Shumaker says the water aerobics class offered at the YMCA has changed her life, and she wants others to know that it's never to late to get active. That's what she decided to do a few years ago, and she hasn't looked back since.

She says when she was younger she loved going for long walks, but had to stop because she developed severe chronic back pain. She then hit a point where she says she weighed more than 200 pounds.

Now she's walking in the YMCA Famous Idaho Potato Marathon, something she says she thought she'd never be able to do. Ever since she started working out on a regular basis, she says her body has completely changed.

"The back pain is gone now. I lost 80 pounds. I stopped taking four prescription medications and I ended 2016 nicotine-free and quit smoking after 48 years," Shumaker said.

She wants everyone to know the importance of getting involved in exercise classes as you age.

"To me all this activity, what ever you choose to do, you need to use your body or you're going to lose it, your muscles will atrophy," Shumaker said.


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