Members Are Always a Step Ahead

By Laurie Evans

old-galsWhen Mary Jo Holland started her aerobics class for seniors at Lexington Athletic Club more than 20 years ago, she always warmed up the group with a few dance moves.

When double knee replacement surgery forced her to give up the step aerobics class, she changed her routines to dance and has never looked back.

For more than 15 years her seniors dance group, the Energizers, have danced for exercise, for enjoyment and for community service.

The 21 women in the group range in age from 56 to 85. Mary Jo is 81.

The group rehearses three times a week at the Lexington Athletic Club, and their performances have ranged from a theatre in Branson, Missouri to television appearances and many local elder care facilities.

They perform up to five times a month.

The group has no funding and members put together their own costumes for performances.

“One woman told me, ‘This is better than any medicine they could give me.’”

Holland may be on to something. Studies have shown that dance is one of the only exercises that can actually help prevent Alzheimer’s and related dementia.

As Holland says, “The brain has to work to dance like this.”

Findings also indicate that an active social life and strong network of friends may help prevent Alzheimer’s. The Energizers enjoy both of these benefits.

It’s a win-win situation for these older adults – helping others while keeping their own hearts young.