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BenchMark offering free exercise classes for seniors

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Red Bank Seniors on the Go participants exercise during the twice-weekly program.

BenchMark Physical Therapy is now providing free exercise classes during Red Bank Seniors on the Go meetings at Red Bank Community Center Mondays and Thursdays from 10-11 a.m.

Ruth Jeno, a former Red Bank commissioner who started the Seniors on the Go program, said the city allows the program to use the center for free but no longer provides funds for the program in the city budget.

Marlene McRae of BenchMark in Red Bank stepped in to teach the seniors theraband exercises and aerobics as part of her volunteer work with the community.

“We’re trying to promote healthy living, prevent injuries and make sure they maintain their strength and balance,” said Evelyne Burtis, regional director of BenchMark. “We want to make sure we maintain our strength as we get older so we can maintain what we usually like doing.”

BenchMark also provides free health screenings during Seniors on the Go meetings.

“We try to catch injuries early to decrease the overall time they’re in pain,” Burtis said. “The quicker a person is seen after an injury, the overall health care cost is less.”

The exercise classes include seated exercises as well as standing exercises for balance.

“You don’t have to be an athlete [to take the class],” said Burtis.

She said BenchMark plans to continue offering the classes as long as there is interest.

Seniors can stay for lunch after exercising for a $3 cost, which includes an entrée, salad, dessert and drink.