Staying active: Dancing keeps PrimeLife Enrichment Center members fit

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Westfield resident Jerzy Kowalczuk finds the PrimeLife Enrichment Center’s LaBlast dance cardio classes to be, well, a blast.

“This is fantastic,” Kowalczuk said. “I don’t know how we would survive COVID without this place. The atmosphere is great. People like each other and support each other. I would recommend that for everybody.”

Kowalczuk, 74, has been taking the exercise classes for about six years at PrimeLife in Carmel. His wife, Marie, started four years prior to that.

Jerzy Kowalczuk participates in the LaBlast class at PrimeLife Enrichment Center. (Photo by Mark Ambrogi)

The LaBlast classes are part of Revel Fitness. Revel Fitness started in its own spot in Carmel in 2010. It moved into PrimeLife, renting space in 2016 and became a program for PrimeLife nearly two years later.

“It’s mostly dance fitness,” said Cindy Schembre, an assistant director of PrimeLife. “But it’s a little broader range of ages. Our sweet spot for our evening and weekend classes, it’s about (the) 30- to 50-age range, mostly all women. During the day, we have the LaBlast class, which is based on ‘Dancing with the Stars.’ That group is our largest fitness class. We have 15 to 17 people a week. The average age is 72 to 73.”

LaBlast, which was developed by LaBlast fan favorite Louis van Amstel, is partner-free with a variety of music.

Linda Grube, 72, has been taking the dance classes for four years, but joked she is still in the back row.

“It keeps us moving and keeps our joints better,” the Carmel resident said.

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, PrimeLife offered Zoom platforms for many of their classes, including dance and exercise, in 2020. In May, the classes opened more fully in-person.

“We could do the virtual classes but it’s not the same as being with our friends,” Grube said.

Noblesville resident Joyce Clancy, 74, has been taking classes for seven years.

“If I keep doing this, then I’ll stay in shape,” she said.

Indianapolis resident Bill Moore, 79, takes part in yoga, balance, strength building, aquatics, plays volleyball and walks on the track.

Bill Moore works out on a yoga mat. (Photo courtesy of PrimeLife)

“I average 18,000 steps a day,” he said. “I love this place. It’s a fantastic place to be.”

Twelve times around the indoor walk track is a mile. There are exercise machines donated by St. Vincent.

In addition to dance and exercise classes, Julie Barnes, PrimeLife’s community engagement and activities coordinator, said there are card-playing classes for bridge and euchre.

“We have a card-making group where they make paper cards artistically,” said Barnes, a Westfield resident. “We have art groups that meet every week.”

There are book clubs, including Your Good Life, a literary community for seniors by seniors.

“Our aquatics classes are super popular,” Barnes said. “We have a warm-water pool that is 87 to 92 degrees, so it warms your bones.”

The Second Helping lunches are on Wednesdays and Friday.

“They are free, free to anybody in the community,” Barnes said. “If you’re not a senior and you’re hungry, fine, come in. Wednesday, we have a lunch and learn. We always have a speaker, someone from the community or somebody who has a cool idea, or someone involved with seniors or someone who performs. For 30 minutes, they interact, they entertain, it’s a joy. On Fridays, we’re hoping to have groups afterwards with bereavement, dementia. We do have our caregivers support group once a month that is sponsored by the Alzheimer’s Association.”

Hot meals are offered on other days, with $3 a meal from CICOA.

The computer and game room also are available to those with a basic membership.

Basic membership for PrimeLife is $20 a month. The enhanced membership is $40 a month and includes aquatics and exercise or dance classes. The basic membership is covered by some insurance programs. For more, visit primelifeenrichment.org.


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