Garland center offers arthritis chair exercises, more to enrich lives

Emily M. Hobbs Staff Writer

January 23, 2014

Starting the first week of February, the Garland Senior Center will launch an arthritis chair exercise program, and center director Marie Faircloth says it will be an excellent chance for seniors with mobility issues to get some exercise that can — and will — enhance and enrich their lives.

“It’s a home away from home for seniors,” said Marie Faircloth of the center. “We have hot lunch, programs, a little something for everyone.” She said that visitors to the center can also participate in a variety of other activities that will benefit them, like having their toe nails trimmed, or spending time on the computer.

And then there’s the chair exercises.

“Richard Carr and I will be teaching the class,” said Faircloth. “We are both certified to teach it.” Faircloth said the arthritis chair exercise classes will be held on Tuesday and Thursday from 10 until 11 a.m. The classes are free to the public.

Other opportunities include a general exercise time on Tuesdays right now starting at 10 a.m. Participants have the chance to work on exercises like leg stretches and reaching, something designed to strengthen the whole body. If a senior can’t make it on Tuesdays, Faircloth said the center is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. with an exercise room available with a treadmill, exercise bike, and various other equipment.

“Exercise is a big part of daily health,” said Faircloth. If walking is more your style, there is also a walking team that can be joined. Faircloth said that Linda Hill is the leader of that group and she can be reached by calling the center at 910-529-3931.

“I want to encourage seniors to choose what they like to do,” said Faircloth. “They are are welcome to do their own thing.” She said the Garland Senior Center is also open to the community as well and that anyone is invited to stop by and check it out. She explained that it is geared towards seniors, but open to anyone. Activities like dancing and the availability of Wii games are popular and at the center for use on a drop-in basis. The center also has a pool table and a recently donated corn hole game.

“We are looking for a volunteer to help with the corn hole game,” noted Faircloth.

If corn hole doesn’t hold your interest, there is also the chance to play horseshoes.

While some like to take part in the games, others, Faircloth said, just like to watch. And that’s fine, too, the director stressed.

While voluntary, Faircloth stressed the importance of exercise, particularly as folks get older.

“Exercise is a need for seniors,” said Faircloth. “A lot of our folks are minority folks, and they have high blood pressure, heart problems, and obesity. If they participate in the programs we offer, it can help keep them in shape and independent at home.”

“Exercise is a great part of a diet as well,” said Faircloth. “It helps range of motion, for things like getting items off shelves or down in cabinets.” She said that it also helps with fall prevention, giving seniors better strength and range of motion.

“When a senior isn’t walking, isn’t exercising or eating right, you find a person will fall down by the wayside,” said Faircloth. She added that exercise is not just good for the physical, but also for the mental. She said that in a lot of ways what your mind tells you you are, you become. Exercising the mind is necessary, she stressed, and things like counting backwards, using a computer, and word searches can have benefits.

“Seniors should remember what they did in their younger days,” said Faircloth. Taking that trip down memory lane, and remembering specific details, assists with strengthening the mind, she explained.

Understanding and respecting limitations while working to improve is the best way for the participants to experience the healthful changes that exercise will bring.

“I am very careful to tell participants that if something hurts, don’t do it,” the director stressed.

It’s more about doing what you can, than how much you do, the director attested.

For more information about the classes, please contact Marie Faircloth at the Garland Senior Center at 910-529-3931.

Emily M. Hobbs can be reached at 910-592-8137 ext. 122 or via email at