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Posted on Tue, Apr 2, 2013 : 10:01 p.m.

Still Got It! Ann Arbor Y hosts free 50+ fitness and wellness program

By Jeff Jackson

As an active guy over 50, I don't consider age a barrier to keeping healthy and fit. But making smart choices about food, regular exercise, and care of body and mind becomes especially important to maintain a high quality of life. So when I heard about a new health and fitness program specifically designed for people 50-64, I had to check it out.

Hosted by the Ann Arbor YMCA, the 50 Moving Forward initiative is a set of fitness classes, workshops, walks, talks, and other activities developed through a collaboration between Y-USA and Pfizer. Ann Arbor is one of 25 locations launching the program. Its tagline is, "Of Course I've Still Got It!"

Jan Hack, communications director at the Ann Arbor Y, told me that the program will focus on, "healthy eating, prevention, fitness and fun."

"It's a way to reinforce the idea that you don't have to slow down at this age," she said. "Part of 'I've Still Got It' is the idea that you never lost it."


She's right, you know. Exercising in a class feels SO much better! (The author at the Saline Rec Center.)

Jeff Jackson | Contributor

Jan encourages you to get involved, regardless of your current fitness level. Being healthy, she explains, is not only about exercise and eating right, but social activity. "Interacting with a group encourages being active," she said, "and being active supports being healthy. And the Y is good at providing those interactions."

Want more good news? All events are free of charge, and you don't need to be a member of the Y to participate.

The kickoff event will be held 6-8 p.m. Tuesday, April 9, at the Mallets Creek branch of the Ann Arbor Public Library. Jean Jennings, President and editor-in-chief of Automobile Magazine and author of the blog, will speak about her experiences and the challenges she faces of staying fit and active over age 50.

Other events being offered this spring include introductory classes in yoga, Pilates, Pickleball, tai chi, and Zumba, a walking tour of historic Ann Arbor, a Bird Hike in Gallup Park, a scavenger hunt at the Farmer's Market, a Whole Foods Healthy Cooking Class, and workshops on stress management and "Caring for the Caretaker."

The calendar on the program's website has the full schedule, along with contact information for more details on particular events. Many special or one-time events take place on weekends to make them more accessible to people otherwise busy with work, kids, and, as is the case for many in the 50-64 age group, care for aging parents.

In addition, you can register online for 50 Moving Forward, where you'll receive support and information that will help you develop and maintain a healthy lifestyle, and stay informed about upcoming activities. Registration in the online initiative is optional and not necessary for attending events.

Jan is excited about the program. "We really feel like the 50-64 age demographic has been overlooked," she said. "This program, while it's open to anyone, is meant to focus on this age group. They're so used to serving others. Now we're giving them an opportunity to let them do something good for themselves."

Jeff Jackson is a runner, cyclist, and student of Aikido who writes the Fitness at 50+ blog. His other interests include history, writing and food (especially coffee, bread and chocolate). He can be reached at



Wed, Apr 3, 2013 : 3:50 a.m.

Why is age 64 the upper limit? Some of us older than that like to think we still have it too. Would we be turned away if, say, we are 68??

Jan Hack

Wed, Apr 3, 2013 : 1:18 p.m.

Absolutely not! As it says in the article, the program is open to anyone, but is specifically targetted to those in the 50-64 age group. You will not be turned away!