CHELSEA — A new program at the Chelsea Piers Sports Center aims to prove that trendy fitness classes aren't just for young whippersnappers — they can be for older exercisers, too.
The new SC 60 Club offers seniors a chance to participate in fitness programs of their own, designed to encourage active and healthy lifestyles while keeping the lessons low-impact enough that even a 90-year-old can participate.
"I noticed a big group of our older men and women walk by our regular fitness classes, stare in, and then never actually go in," said Sharone Huey, the Chelsea Piers trainer and exercise physiologist who came up with the program in January. "They were a little hesitant about this, but now it's less intimidating and more exciting."
The program offers a different class each weekday morning, including a total body workout using small weights and machines, an indoor and outdoor walking program, an activities day that teaches the group to play sports like ping pong and basketball, and the Tour de Pier, a low-resistance indoor cycling program using recumbent bikes.
"The intensity is a little bit lower in everything, and we take more breaks, but it helps them stay active in all aspects of their life, from exercise to carrying groceries," Huey said.
On Thursday, a handful of women met at the class to play a few games of ping pong before moving on to basketball.
"This is the best program they have here. I've been asking for it for three years," said Diane Rosner.
"I can't jump around anymore, but Sharone knows about our bodies and what we need."
Ruth Harris, 83, agreed, saying she's been going to Chelsea Piers for 10 years, but that the SC 60 Club was the first time she felt a program tailor-made for her.
"I like everything in the class because I can do everything," she said, adding that she comes twice a week.
Andrea Skinner, a Chelsea resident who describes her age as "too old," said the program helped her make new friends — and she particularly enjoys playing a riveting game of ping pong.
"It's fun! I never played it much before, but I like playing it with these people in this class," she said.
The class is typically five to 10 people, although Huey hopes to recruit more members. So far, there are many more women taking the classes than men — though that's not for lack of trying.
"We need more men to come. I'd like it if they'd come," Rosner said. "I was talking to a lot of men about coming, and they watch us, but so far I think they're chicken."