Bonnie Lord of Ashville has osteoporosis and fibromyalgia, but this does not stop her from coming to the Lakewood YMCA to participate in the Fit for Life program.
Every Tuesday and Thursday, Mrs. Lord joins a group of 25 to 30 YMCA members for their weekly exercise routine which includes stretching, core and aerobic exercises, balance and strength training.
The medically supervised senior exercise program is under the direction of registered nurses Linda West and Connie Fahey.
Linda West, YMCA Fit for Life registered nurse, leads the stretching portion of class at the Lakewood YMCA.
''I knew I was out of shape and wanted to change,'' Mrs. Lord said. ''I found out that my health insurance would cover my YMCA membership so I knew this was the right step for me.''
Since joining the YMCA three years ago and being an active member of the Fit for Life program, Mrs. Lord is stronger, healthier, energetic and more alert.
''The weight-bearing exercises are really good for my bones and I have noticed less achiness day to day,'' she said.
What she has noticed the most about the program is the people, their genuine concern for others and the fun atmosphere it provides. Mrs. Lord has formed several friendships since her time at the Y and appreciates every one of them.
''The people make the class,'' she said. ''Linda and Connie are two gems who deeply care about each participant in the class. They have detected medical issues in the early stages of the class members and made doctor visit recommendations which is important.''
Mrs. Lord, who believes in weekly exercise, good nutrition and being right with God, recommends the class to anyone who isn't physically fit and wants to begin a program get back into shape.
''As you get older, things get harder to do,'' she said. ''Now, I feel younger and stronger thanks to the YMCA and the Fit for Life program.''
West and Fahey, who together have nearly 100 years of medical experience, are proud supporters of Fit for Life and say that this is the only program in Western New York that is medically supervised and geared to anyone with any type of health problem.
They are passionate about their work because they love what they do.
''I think exercise is important, especially when you get older,'' West said. ''With age comes health issues, and I want people to know we are here to help.''
Both nurses monitor each person's blood pressure and pulse before and after class, in addition to their overall health.
''Your body is like a car,'' Fahey said. ''It also needs repairs and preventative maintenance year to year as one ages.''
According to Fahey, many insurance companies cover the cost of this exercise program, which is helpful for seniors on a limited income.
While not at the Y, Mrs. Lord helps individuals with panic disorders through her website at hatchcreek.com and has written two books, ''Panic Buster'' and ''Abolish Anxiety.''
Fit for Life meets every Monday, Tuesday and Thursday from 8 to 11 a.m. For more information about the program, contact the Lakewood YMCA at 763-0303 or visit www.jamestownymca.org.