What do we call ourselves – Boomers, Zoomers, seniors, retirees, older adults…? We struggle to come up with a name that encapsulates older but active in order to contradict the image of older and ill. The reality is active seniors far outnumber those who are not.
Whatever name we come up with, we are one of the largest demographics to move through society since the end of WWII. In education we drove the expansion of high school education as teenagers, part-time degree programs in the seventies and eighties as we worked and learned, then the second career retraining programs of the past few years as globalization wrought so much change to our work lives. Now, the growing learning for learning’s sake courses of today is fueled by those of us transitioning into retirement.
The Toronto District School Board’s Learn4Life program is one the best places to see our demographic, active and learning. On October 29th, I sat in on the Looking Fit Feeling Strong class at Western Tech which is held Thursday nights for one and half hours.
In this incredibly well-equipped gym, seniors and younger ones worked out using weight training machines and dumb bells of all shapes, sizes and weights. The teacher, Beverly Coburn, told me this room was equipped by one of the Western Tech teachers who solicited equipment donations. Not the most up-to-date equipment, but still very good and this gym is better equipped than most high schools.
Beverly, herself a senior, helps students improve their posture, muscle strength and bone density.
She has taught since 2008 and had always been physically active, in the Iron Man and Triathalon competitions.
It was inspiring to watch the women and men go through the diverse workout. It was paced to give frequent breaks as students moved from one device to another. All the students I talked to were proud of their progress- though a little out of breath.
At $70 for seniors, for 11 weeks, this class is more affordable than a gym membership or hiring a personal trainer.
Beverly also teaches a Bone Density course in the TDSB Learning4Life Program which follows the new Guidelines for Osteoporosis Canada for exercising to improve bone density and bone loss.
If you go to the Learn4Life.ca web site and check the Fitness and Wellness section you will find pages of programs to help you stay fit, Aerobics, Nordic Pole Walking, Pilates, Tai Chi, Yoga, Zumba and more. A one night course on Foot Fitness for $9 at the seniors discount caught my eye. Have a look.
While you are at it look at the other programs in Art, Computers, Crafts, Dance, Food, Games and Hobbies, Handiwork, Languages, Music, Sewing, Sports, Theatre, Film and TV and others like Business and Finance and Communications.
Registration for the Winter Term started November 18th and classes start the second week in January. So register before the holidays and think about buying a loved one a course for Christmas.