HARRISONBURG — The city’s Parks and Recreation Department was recently honored for its attainment to help seniors in the community to stay active.

The Parks and Rec department’s 50 & Wiser Program, called “Fit and Strong,” was declared the Best Health and Wellness Initiative in Virginia for a midsized city at the Virginia Recreation and Park Society conference on Sept. 7, according to a press release from the city.

“We really love being able to make an impact in our community through some of these truly unique programs we offer,” Parks and Recreation Marketing and Special Projects Coordinator Brittany Clem said in the release. “We have a number of other opportunities for people of all ages and interests, so we hope people will check us out and come get engaged.”

More than 500 parks and recreation delegates throughout Virginia were at the conference to see the city’s program be chosen from a number of nominees.

Fit and Strong began in September 2018 as an initiative to help seniors, ages 50 and older, continue to stay active and healthy because a poll that was taken showed that Harrisonburg’s seniors felt they needed more opportunities to be active to promote personal health, according to the release. It is not a multi-component activity and behavior-change program that teaches sedentary adults with joint pain and stiffness how to safely exercise.

It also educates and provides fun wellness session series that participants can incorporate into their daily lives. The goal is becoming more mobile and physically fit.

The National Recreation and Park Association with support of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have provided Instructor Training Grants for Physical Activity Programs for local park and recreation professionals, according to the city’s website.

Harrisonburg Parks and Recreation’s goal of offering a complete selection of programs that focus on all needs of seniors within the Harrisonburg community.

Harrisonburg Parks and Recreation now has the ability to offer joint and arthritis relief programs alongside the already existing 50 & Wiser senior fitness programs, Senior-Friendly Cardio, Gentle Yoga, and Fitness and Balance classes.

A part two of Fit and Strong and began on Sept. 10, called Moving and Grooving. The class focuses on increasing strength and endurance while using ankle weights and exercise bands. The class is offered to all ages, but students are required to purchase the equipment that is used for the class.

The next class date has not been scheduled yet.

The Fit and Strong program, which takes place twice a year at the Lucy Simms Center, 620 Simms Ave., has a number of classes that take place, which include one hour of gentle exercise and a half hour of health education.

Class materials are provided and every participant is given a bag with the class equipment inside for the Fit and Strong Program and Moving and Grooving.

The class won’t be offered again until January 2020.

For questions or more information, contact Lynn Hoy at 432-7799.

Contact Laine Griffin at 574-6286 or lgriffin@dnronline.com. Follow Laine on Twitter @laine_griffDNR

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