Keeping active and healthy
It’s 5.49 p.m. and the Cha Cha Slide by DJ Casper coming from the sound system gets the group of women and men clapping hands and moving in unison, stepping to the right and left, hopping, doing a cha cha cha.
The persons moving across the floor of the parish hall at St John the Evangelist RC are largely senior persons and mainly women. This is not the usual weekly aerobics class though, as members of the class step forward and lead their fellow keep-fit enthusiasts in exercise. The Keep Fit Wellness and Gym was celebrating its fourth anniversary.
A Mass was held at the St John Evangelist Church, April 22, and a get together and display Monday April 23 at the parish hall, the venue for Zumba classes and the gym.
There is a room dedicated to providing information brochures on health topics, ways to keep healthy, and various ailments. Exercise is also promoted in outings to locations like Chancellor Hill, the ‘Bamboo Cathedral’, and Chaguaramas.
Michael Sookhan, a parishioner, said he was “inspired” to do something in relation to “health issues” because “everybody was always sick”. He thought of getting parishioners involved in exercise and providing information on natural remedies.
At 74 years, Sookhan knows the benefits of staying active—for over 60 years, he has taken part in sports. The goal is to get people to adopt healthy lifestyles and “get fit” and change the mindset of senior years being about “sitting down” and “getting ready to die”. Sookhan said since the exercise programme started he has seen “miraculous cures”.
There are currently 50 active members, mainly persons 40 to over 80 years old. There are also members from other churches in the cluster—St Anthony’s and Church of the Nativity. The monthly fee is $40.
Seventy-eight-year-old Mavis Pollidore, who has been with the exercise class “from the start” and asked if she enjoyed exercising replied, “very much so”. The oldest member is 83-year-old Cecil Le Gendre, who, on the day the Catholic News visited, made a presentation to the youngest participant Israel Best, seven years old.
The gym is open and aerobics are held every Monday and Wednesday, 5 to 7 p.m. and Saturdays 7.30 to 9.30 a.m. Sookhan said at the end of the sessions participants hold hands and pray.