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Program tunes up 50-somethings

YMCA program hopes to prove that yes, they've 'still got it.'

April 04, 2013|By Sara Cardine
  • Cynthia Roye of La Caada, center, gets moving in the "50 Moving Forward" low impact class at the Crescenta-Caada Family YMCA in La Caada Flintridge on Tuesday, April 2, 2013. The class is geared for adults 50 and older and they do not have to be members of the Y.
Cynthia Roye of La Caada, center, gets moving in the "50… (Raul Roa/Staff…)

Cindy Bengtson-Budzyn hadn't been to a fitness class in years. The 60-year-old La Cañada resident serves on the human resources committee of YMCA of the Foothills and is a member herself, but was always too busy or too shy to enroll in one of the many fitness programs offered there.

"I hesitated to come because I didn't want to feel overwhelmed by totally fit younger people," she said.

But last week she made a major life change, becoming a vegetarian and adopting an alkaline-rich diet. This week is about developing a fitness regimen, she said.

In that vein, Bengtson-Budzyn attended a Tuesday morning low-impact cardio and strength-training class led by YMCA instructor Celia Weiss. Her new commitment to a healthier lifestyle couldn't have been better timed.

YMCA of the Foothills recently rolled out a new initiative called 50 Moving Forward at its La Cañada and Tujunga locations. A nationwide collaboration with pharmaceutical company Pfizer, Inc., it aims to help people ages 50 to 64 become physically fit, socially engaged and educated about living well and preventing illness.

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The program, being piloted at just 25 of the nation's 967 YMCA associations, has four components — fitness, health, prevention and fun — and features events that are free and open to the public, according to Rosanne Malogolowkin, executive director of Crescenta-Cañada Family YMCA. So far, nearly 200 locals have signed up for activities running through May 31. The goal is to have 1,000 enrollees.

"Every week we have at least three physical activities or events, and there is at least one other event around health screenings or fun," Malogolowkin said. "But I want to build off that. There's so much more we can do."

About 20 people showed up Tuesday to Weiss' class and spent an hour working out to disco hits like "Funky Town" and Beyonce and Lady Gaga remixes.

"I believe if you work at it, you will get results," Weiss told the group.

In the crowd was Barbara Coleman, 62, of Pasadena, a daily exerciser who came at the behest of a friend and to try something new.

"This was a good change of pace," she said after class. "It doesn't intimidate you like when you're with the younger ones."

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