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"Move" & "Pound" Are Buzz Words at Senior Center as New Exercise Programs Encouraged

Sep 30, 2019 06:00AM ● By Pamela Johnson

(L-R) Bellingham residents Margaret Maxwell, Beverly Trimm, andPaul Peter practice getting their sticks in rhythm with the music in their Pound Class at the Bellingham senior center

written by Marjorie Turner Hollman, Contributing Writer 

Whether you have children in school or not, September is a time of new beginnings as we leave summer behind and look toward the fall and new activities closer to home. The Bellingham Senior Center recently offered a limited time only “Move!” program complete with a bright orange card to be stamped each time a person tried a new (to them) exercise program offered at the Center. The challenge was for seniors to try four different exercise programs. They got to take the class for free, and when they had tried each of those four new classes, their card was stamped. Once the four slots were filled on the card, they could submit the card into a raffle.

The raffle prize? It was a secret, but regardless, over eighty Senior Center participants took cards with the plan of taking some new exercise classes. The program was the brainchild of Senior Center Director Josie Dutil, who has been a personal trainer. She hoped that the “Move!”program would help break down the barrier of fear about taking an unfamiliar class.

Dutil noted, “Last year in September we gave out exercise mats to the first thirty people who took an exercise class, but we figured we’d try something different this year. The proof will be if people return to take more classes after trying that first class.”

One of the new exercise classes being offered is "Pound."  The thumping beat of ‘70s rock music poured out of the room at the Bellingham Senior Center where the first “Pound” exercise program had already started. The space was filled with seniors grasping bright green rhythm sticks, following instructor Judith Perez’s instructions as she stood at the front of the class.

For the next hour, the group kept moving, smiling, clacking their sticks together in rhythm with the music, and even laughing at times. What were they laughing at? Perhaps they were amused at what they were doing, but they were also entertained by the energy and enthusiasm of Perez’s demeanor as she kept up a cheerful banter, varying the movements, encouraging those who were able to stand, bend, gently squat, swing from side to side, all the while keeping up with the rhythm of the tunes that had been “top forty” hits when they were growing up. The Beatles, Sonny & Cher, and others belted out tunes that kept the group moving.

“We weren’t born with sticks in our hands—it takes some practice,” Perez encouraged the class members. At the end of the class, she told those packing up that she wanted to see them “safe, smiling, and [covered in] sweat.”

Once the music stopped, Bellingham resident Paul Peter took a breath and then announced, “That was wonderful, exhilarating, a ‘must do.’ I’m coming back. I’m committed. I’m not tired; I’m exhilarated!”
Bellingham resident Margaret Maxwell noted she had never taken a class like this before. She then pulled out her bright orange “Move” card. “It was fun,” she said, and got her card stamped in order to help her get closer to qualifying for the raffle held.

Perez noted that standard “Pound” classes are conducted either standing or stretched out on yoga mats, but she adapts her sessions for the population in each class. “I conduct classes for preschoolers and children with special needs, as well as seniors, so I vary the routines and offer the option of having class members participate from a seated position.” She continued, “I first discovered ‘Pound’ when attending a Health and Wellness conference in New York City. I had dabbled in drumming classes, but ‘Pound’ really got me excited. I presently teach twenty-two classes a week of ‘Pound,’ and sixteen of those classes are for older adults.”

“Pound” classes are held every Thursday at 5PM at the Bellingham Senior Center. The classes cost $5, and space is limited, so please call the Senior Center (508-966-0398) to register. The public is welcome, but preference is given to those over age sixty. For more information about “Pound” and how to find a class nearby, go to

The Senior Center has (at last count!) thirteen different exercise classes available throughout the week, at varying times of day. Some are free; others have a small ($5) charge. The Senior Center’s focus is on those over the age of 60, but if you are younger and interested in participating in any of these classes, call the Senior Center or stop by to see if there is space in any particular class.






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