Fitness class has older adults acting like kids

Published: Nov. 28, 2017 at 4:15 PM EST
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A new fitness class in New York City has older adults acting like kids on the playground again.

Each week, this group of seniors steps back in time to their days in the schoolyard -- playing dodgeball, cat and mouse, and even hula hoops.

But it's not all fun and games. The 62-and-older crowd at Fitness Center Asphalt Green in New York City is pushing their bodies to the brink of falling to prevent tumbles in the real world.

"They have to use their hands, their legs. They've gotta use almost all parts of their body," said Marcy Simon, the manager of the program. "So they start to feel their center of balance, they feel where they are in space."

Researchers at the Hospital for Special Surgery hope the pilot program will lower the number of seniors who fall each year.

"Which then can lead to sometimes a downward spiral so you aren't as strong, so you aren't as confident. And if you aren't as confident, you don't move as well, so you are at greater risk of falling again," said Jason Machowsky, an exercise physiologist at the Hospital for Special Surgery.

"You feel stronger. So you feel more secure, walking, running and dancing, which I like to do," said Aurea "Cookie" Garcia, one of the participants.

Instructors are seeing dramatic results.

Reporter Kenneth Craig: And have you had people actually hit the ground?

Marcy Simon: Hit the ground, come right back up, and say, 'Gimme the ball!'

Seventy-nine year-old Lois Siegel is even surprising herself.

Reporter Kenneth Craig: You're doing dodge ball and tag and all of these games that would normally...

Lois Siegel: That we didn't think we could do anymore.

Playground games with a new goal generations later.