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A summer of senior fitness and camaraderie

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CANTON — Laughing, exercising and camaraderie will stretch the summer long.

Senior fitness classes, sponsored by St. Lawrence University for senior citizens, have become an important staple in that community’s routine.

The classes, held from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays at SLU’s Newell Field House, have been of immense help to senior citizens in the community and have attracted people ranging in age from 60 to 86.

Barbara M. Harrington, 80, of Canton, has been a member of the fitness classes since they started more than five years ago.

Mrs. Harrington said the classes are important to her and her fellow classmates, which is why they asked Robin L. Durocher, St. Lawrence University’s Stafford Fitness Center director, to extend the classes, which normally would have ended last Thursday.

“They are people that didn’t know one another until we joined,” Mrs. Harrington said of the seniors, “and now we look forward to each week, and it is embracing and there is laughing and there is joking. It’s something that a lot of people have never done before.”

The class has been so helpful, Mrs. Harrington said, that there are two women who drive from Star Lake, an hour south of the university.

“They said they have never been in an organization like ours,” Mrs. Harrington said. “We’re not very normal. There are a lot of characters in there. So it is just joking and laughing, and if you can get that many laughs two days a week, it helps a lot.”

Mrs. Harrington said the fitness class has helped those involved become more health conscious in their everyday lives.

“Some of those people have never done exercises before,” Mrs. Harrington said. “So we feel that it is great and were really so surprised when she said, ‘I have to work anyway, and yes, if you want to, I will continue it.’ We were just amazed.”

Mrs. Durocher said she has grown fond of the classmates and their relationships.

“It’s a great group,” she said. “It’s about the camaraderie and about their daily activities in improving what they want to do, and I think they can all testify to something that they weren’t able to do that they wanted to do and now can.”

The class is about the camaraderie just as much as it is about having a commitment to get up and go and exercise.

“It’s fun for me,” Mrs. Durocher said. “They enjoy coming and they are a fun group.”

The classes are open to all senior citizens in the community. Anyone interested in joining or with additional questions can call 229-7260. There is a $2 fee per class.

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