Virtual Aerobics Keeps LIFE Participants in Shape and Connected

LIFE participant, Carol Groves

LIFE participant, Carol Groves (pictured left), 82, of Butler looks forward to working out every week with her friends. Unlike other exercise classes, they don’t meet in a traditional gym.  Thanks to “Grandpad,” they are able to exercise together in the comfort of their own homes.

LIFE Butler County recently received a grant from the Pittsburgh-based George H. Campbell and Mary S. Campbell Foundation to purchase “Grandpads,” a customizable computer tablet specifically designed to keep participants connected with family and friends in a secure and safe virtual environment.

Carol Groves looks at her Grandpad

“Despite the pandemic, exercise is still needed,” said Ingrid Tallarico (pictured right), LIFE Butler recreation therapy manager. “This is a way to keep participants, moving, mobile, and socially connected with each other.”

According to a study by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, community-based exercise programs are important in helping sedentary older adults in improving their strength and endurance, as well as, reducing the risk factors associated with falls.

LIFE Butler County. Recreational Therapist, Desiree Cronkhite, does exercises.

The virtual classes are offered by the staff at LIFE Butler County. Recreational Therapist Desiree Cronkhite (pictured left) peers into a computer screen moving her fingers while leading the virtual, aerobics class in an empty conference room at the center.

“It’s part of an ongoing effort to keep participants active and engaged during the pandemic,” said Karen Ostrosky, physical therapist, at LIFE Butler County.

Groves watches intently and moves her arms, fingers, and toes as Cronkhite guides the class through a 30-minute workout. Side stretchers are one of Groves’ favorite exercises, but seeing her friends is equally important to her. “It’s great,” said Groves.  “I get to see my friends when we are working out.”

According to Groves, she feels energized after each session.  “I can move around better, feel stronger, and don’t ache as much,” said Groves.  “I feel like I can run up the (Butler) hill,” she said with a smile.

When the workouts are over, Groves and her friends continue to communicate online. “I get to talk with my friends, we talk about our kids, vacations, and just life.”