The seniors who live in Shafter have a chance to stay healthy and active with participation in programs offered by the Shafter Recreation and Parks District, all free of charge.
On Tuesdays and Thursdays, participants work out in the activity center at the Walker Senior Center, doing a chair fitness class that keeps their muscles moving as they do exercises to music, while sitting in a chair. The routines help the seniors with flexibility, endurance and coordination. According to Adult Services Coordinator Maria Martinez, the programs help keep our seniors busy. "The people love the fitness classes, with some of them enjoying maybe their only exercise during their week."
On a recent Tuesday, Mari Cruz Ruibal from Dignity Health led the fitness class as she had the seniors lifting their hands, moving their feet with stepping, and moving their heads and the rest of their body to the music.
They had just finished an arts and crafts class before the fitness session, creating their own butterflies out of plastic beads, which they attached to pieces of construction paper. The results were a very colorful display.
Martinez said that the two classes are just two examples of the many activities that are offered for anyone interested. "We have an outing once a month, where we will take them to the library in Bakersfield, or the Kern River, or sometimes the beach. Just a nice outing where they can relax, enjoy some travel and fellowship."
There is also lunch served at the Senior Center, which is also free. It meets all of the nutritional guidelines suggested by Kern Public Health. They do take donations, but no one is turned away because of an inability to pay.
Also working to keep the seniors of Shafter safe, they operate a cooling center on the site, depending on the temperature on that particular day. If the day is forecast for 105 degrees or higher, the center is open from 1 to 5 p.m. There are games, books and other activities that the seniors can participate in while keeping cool and safe.
"I just love the programs," said Juanita Hernandez, who participates in a number of the activities. "I like to keep busy, and these programs are a great way for me to get some exercise and enjoy great company at the same time."
For more information, contact the Shafter Recreation District office at 661-746-3033.