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There are plenty of programs designed for active seniors

  • Bob Langelier reaches during a session with the Silver Sneakers at the Concord YMCA on Wednesday, February 20, 2013.  The class meets every Monday and Wednesday.<br/><br/>(ALEXANDER COHN / Monitor Staff)

    Bob Langelier reaches during a session with the Silver Sneakers at the Concord YMCA on Wednesday, February 20, 2013. The class meets every Monday and Wednesday.

    (ALEXANDER COHN / Monitor Staff)

  • Shirley Rebello (center) joins the Silver Sneakers meet at the Concord YMCA on Wednesday, February 20, 2013.  The class meets every Monday and Wedesday.<br/><br/>(ALEXANDER COHN / Monitor Staff)

    Shirley Rebello (center) joins the Silver Sneakers meet at the Concord YMCA on Wednesday, February 20, 2013. The class meets every Monday and Wedesday.

    (ALEXANDER COHN / Monitor Staff)

  • Jan Wilcox holds her weights during a work-out session with the Silver Sneakers at the Concord YMCA on Wednesday, February 20, 2013.  The class meets every Monday and Wednesday.<br/><br/>(ALEXANDER COHN / Monitor Staff)

    Jan Wilcox holds her weights during a work-out session with the Silver Sneakers at the Concord YMCA on Wednesday, February 20, 2013. The class meets every Monday and Wednesday.

    (ALEXANDER COHN / Monitor Staff)

  • Bob Langelier reaches during a session with the Silver Sneakers at the Concord YMCA on Wednesday, February 20, 2013.  The class meets every Monday and Wednesday.<br/><br/>(ALEXANDER COHN / Monitor Staff)
  • Shirley Rebello (center) joins the Silver Sneakers meet at the Concord YMCA on Wednesday, February 20, 2013.  The class meets every Monday and Wedesday.<br/><br/>(ALEXANDER COHN / Monitor Staff)
  • Jan Wilcox holds her weights during a work-out session with the Silver Sneakers at the Concord YMCA on Wednesday, February 20, 2013.  The class meets every Monday and Wednesday.<br/><br/>(ALEXANDER COHN / Monitor Staff)

Back in the ’80s, a few gray hairs were excuse enough to stay on the sidelines of anything resembling a sport. That’s not to say active seniors didn’t exist; it just wasn’t as common to spot an octogenarian on the chairlift in front of you or the tennis court beside you.

Barb Hanchett remembers when she was asked to help out with the seniors program at the YMCA. “At that point they were sitting around drinking coffee, playing cards and smoking,” she recalled. “I thought, God, I don’t want to be like that when I get old.”

She sure isn’t. Hanchett, now 72, runs Always an Adventure LLC, a year-round outing club designed for retirees who want to stay active and get outdoors. “We do a variety of things. The main feature is outdoor activities,” Hanchett said. “I feel that people should get out and enjoy our beautiful surroundings.”

If you’re a retiree who’s relegated yourself to the sidelines, well, enough of that. There are all sorts of opportunities to be active around here – and it’s never too late to start something new. Check out these activities, and we don’t just mean check them out on the internet. We mean lace up your sneakers, get out there and give it a try.

∎ Always an Adventure: With activities ranging from kayaking to snowshoeing to yoga, these folks rarely sit still. Every Wednesday, year-round, they meet for hiking, cross-country skiing or snowshoeing, and in the spring and fall they take biking and kayaking trips. In between, there are yoga and exercise classes at the IBEW on Airport Road.

“The classes really keep people flexible and in shape so they can do the other strenuous activities,” Hanchett said.

The group has about 170 members, most of them retirees (but membership is open to anyone).

“We have people in their 80s who are like people in their 60s,” Hanchett said. “I’m 72 but I’m still 18.”

For more information, call
Hanchett at 715-2723 or log on to alwaysanadventure.com.

∎ Hit the slopes: Seniors get reduced rates at nearly every New Hampshire ski area, and if it’s been a while since you’ve been on a pair of skis, now is the time to give it a try. Ski equipment has come a long way in the past decade, making the trip down the hill easier than ever, and spring skiing promises to be terrific this year. Check out Waterville Valley’s Silver Streaks program, which offers reserved parking, free coffee and pastries, free clinics and more. Visit Waterville.com for more information.

∎ Join a gym: These days, almost every gym has special programs geared toward seniors. Silver Sneakers, a beginning- to- intermediate exercise class, meets Monday and Wednesday mornings at the Concord YMCA (228-9622, concordymca.org); The Racquet Club of Concord offers water fitness classes, Tai Chi and cardio classes (224-7787, rccofconcord.com); and Concord Hospital’s Center for Health Promotion has senior Tai Chi classes ranging from beginner to advanced, (230-7300, concordhospital.org/services/chp.php).

∎ Go to town: Many town and city recreation departments offer activities for seniors. The Slusser Senior Center in Hopkinton, for instance, offers Zumba, line dancing and body sculpting for the over-50 set. Check out your town’s website, and if you don’t see anything you like, why not sign up for the rec committee and roll up your sleeves?

Seniors are one of the largest demographics in New Hampshire, so tap into that power to bring fitness programs to your community.

∎ Crash a class: Seniors, of course, are not required to stay in their senior-sanctioned programs. If you’ve been itching to try ballroom dancing, karate or Extreme Frisbee, well then get out there and give it a whirl. There’s nothing like trying to keep up with the younger folks to whip you into shape, and chances are you’ll surprise yourself and inspire a few of those whippersnappers along the way.

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