By Aidan Connaughton
Fitness and physical health are vital for everyone, but it becomes increasingly more difficult to stick to a fitness plan as we age. We lose the time, energy, and motivation to stay in shape, and health complications can set back even the most avid fitness enthusiast. Recognizing the importance of seniors engaging in regular exercise, the Trustees of El Pomar Foundation granted $10,000 to the City of Gunnison to support a new 1500 square foot addition to the Gunnison Community Center specifically for senior programming. The Gunnison Community Center has worked hard to help seniors stay active in their community, both socially and physically, and since its grand opening in October 2015, the addition has benefitted about 200 seniors in Gunnison.
Phyllis, one of the many seniors who take advantage of the new programming at the senior addition, used the Recreation Center’s swimming pool as part of her rehabilitation after a surgery. Upon arriving at the community center in a wheelchair, Phyllis began her recovery effort with the water aerobics program, and soon found her way to the senior fitness program. This regimen of five days per week of fitness brought her out of her wheelchair to a walker, then a cane, and then finally to walking without assistance within months of the surgery.
The Gunnison Community Center also offers many other seminars and classes to seniors on topics such as Library Technology, CPR, and Bridge. The new space has also been utilized by various other groups, including the West Elk Hockey Association and the League of Women Voters. The senior addition not only benefits seniors, but all of Gunnison: with healthy seniors comes a healthy community.