SAIL program keeps the golden years shining bright

After some choppy waters, a group of seniors are happy to have the chance to sail on.

Or rather SAIL on.

SAIL (Seniors Active and Independent for Life) a free session of physical and social activity returned after a hiatus this November, with a group of eight to 12 seniors relishing the opportunity to gather again after almost two years of distancing.

The class started several years ago, before encountering the pandemic. The second chapter of SAIL started this month rather informally, holding one weekly session at the Quincy Senior Center, and with a number of pandemic-fueled protocols.

For starters those participating may bring their own weights and exercise balls and stretchy resistance bands, but they may not share, in order to keep the rest of the group safe from the pernicious virus.

The rules may have changed but the purpose remains the same, says Carol Simpson, one of the two instructors of the class along with Pam Anderson. Anderson and Simpson take turns as instructors every other week.

“We just want to get people involved with socializing and moving,” Simpson said, later adding, “We work on balance and building up muscle a little bit, and all the movements have been reviewed by a special board so that they are safe. And we encourage everyone to not overdo it. Do just what your body allows you to do. We want people to be safe.”

The SAIL program has been described as a “strength, balance and fitness program for adults 65 and older,” according to the state department of health’s website.

“Performing exercises that improve strength, balance and fitness is the single most important activity adults can do to stay active and reduce their chances of falling,” the website stated. “The SAIL program can help improve strength and balance if done regularly.”

The website stated that the federal Administration for Community Living, part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has approved SAIL as an evidence-based program, which means that research and review of the program shows a correlation between it and positive results among its users. It is also a public-domain program, so there are no fees required of the people organizing it, for either licensing or renewal.

The SAIL classes in Quincy occur on Thursdays from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. at the Quincy Senior Center, 522 F St. NE.

People are asked to sign in with their name and phone number. The one-hour session includes a bit of a break time for folks to visit, socialize and share some good news. There are no established age thresholds, nor fees.

“We do encourage people to become members of the Quincy Senior Center, and that is $30 a year,” Simpson said, adding that people do not need to be members to participate in SAIL, but it is encouraged.

“It is the least we feel (we can do,)” Simpson said. “We are using their building and their heat and everything. So we encourage everyone, but it’s not a rule.”

So far, the program is going well, after a long break.

“We just want to be a place where people can come, and move, and visit and enjoy.”

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