TROY, Mich. - A Metro Detroit woman created a fitness program to help her aging mother, but it turned into much more than a workout class.
Many people having aging parents who might be losing strength, flexibility and mental focus. The Boxing Rink in Troy is helping people feel better without having to rely solely on medications.
On Tuesday mornings, 18 men and women push themselves at the senior workout program inside The Boxing Rink. They work on flexibility, balance, cardio and strength, and it's thanks to Barb Deyo.
"My mom's health was failing to the point where her friends were contacting me that they were concerned about her," Deyo said. "The doctor just said, 'This is how your brain is aging,' that everybody's brain, just like your body, ages different, and the No. 1 recommendation was exercise."
Deyo and her fiance, Mike Martelli, who own The Boxing Rink together, decided to develop a workout program to help Deyo's mother physically and mentally.
They already have a proven track record with a boxing class to help people with Parkinson's disease, so they decided to create a class for people dealing with aging.
"Trying to make your brain do two things at one time -- it makes it more challenging, and that's awesome," Martelli said.
Members of the class might row, working on their arm and shoulder strength, while doing multiplication tables. In between strength exercise sets, members might do memory card games.
"I think this is probably my favorite," Deyo's mother, Kathryn Deyo, said.
Kathryn Deyo, 75, said her balance and strength are coming back.
"It helps pain," she said. "It gives me more energy."
She also lost 30 pounds.
"I know this is good for me," Kathryn Deyo said.
"Her self-esteem improved," Barb Deyo said. "Her physical mobility improved. Her memory improved, and just how happy it made her. I thought, 'We need to share this.'"
Now Barb Deyo's friends in the choir have signed up for the class, and word has gotten out that the senior-focused workout is a life-changer.
"Well, it's a challenge to keep your mind working as well as your body," Greg Den, 68, said. "I mean, it all has to coordinate together ultimately, so it just makes sense to do them both."
"We hear stuff from doctors," Martelli said. "We hear stuff from family members and everything that it really does make a difference."
Students also learn about yoga, meditation and reducing stress.
"When we're seated, we are trying to work on flexibility and opening up tight areas, being able to keep range of motion," instructor Deb Colling said. "It helps to relieve what is going on inside of them, inside of anybody."
In the end, students become more physically and mentally fit while getting more social interaction, which experts said is an added benefit of senior health.
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