By Pat Larsen
For Capital Region Independent Media
I KNOW I’ve gotten your attention and I bet you’re singing the rest of these lyrics right now!
“Rock Around the Clock” is a standard and always will remain in the hearts of the baby boomers and seniors forever more.
Dancing, mingling and meeting up with local church groups, at school dances, and at family parties was the way we rolled back in the day. It’s how we met new people, were introduced, perhaps, to a girlfriend or boyfriend, and we might’ve even met a beau who still remains our dance partner to this day.
Thanks to Bill Haleyand the timeless lyrics he wrote in 1955, we can reflect with the best of memories about a time gone by but certainly not forgotten.
It’s because of this connection to the ‘50s that I decided to recreate a brand new version of what was then the inspiration of getting up, getting out and moving. It’s especially inspiring to meet so many new folks who’ve relocated into this area which offers so much of that camaraderie from back in the day. The tri-state surrounding area has opened up to the many benefits of living in this country setting and it’s a pleasure to welcome so many to what this area has to offer.
Teaching a fitness program in both East Durham and Cairo led me to wonder if participants could imagine joining a fitness “dance party” by offering music that was familiar and easy to move to within the framework of a safe, effective workout. Then, I decided that boomers could and would join in, especially if they were offered the support of a chair. Heck, anybody could Lindy from a chair.
What better way to hold onto the familiar traditions of days gone by than to simply offer a program specifically designed for baby boomers, seniors and elders!
Guess what? I did built the program and they did indeed join in! These groups love being a part of weekly classes and to hear what I’ve uncovered on a local ‘50s dance station each week. Elvis is in da house often! We even designate complete classes entirely to Elvis playlists several times a year. These are the most well-attended classes without question.
Why? Because everyone still loves Elvis’ music.
So the movement associated with this music was one aspect of the program designed for these folks. I found that over the past few years, there was yet another element, a secondary layer of even greater importance, that was surprising. The nostalgia of the lyrics of this music brought about a clarity of “memory” that most had thought was lost to the aging process. Not so from what I’ve learned.
We would chat often after a song like “La Bamba” by Richie Valenswas played in class. The memories that were uncovered often revealed some interesting recollections of parking on mountain roads with a special someone and doing God knows what! Seniors are indeed still very sassy, for sure.
Perhaps one of the songs that has gotten the most “buzz” and activity was when I happened upon and added,“The Stroll” by The Diamonds to my playlist recently. Up and at ‘em before I knew it, this easy breezy slow-moving 1957 tune, had just about everyone out of their seats, teaching each other what they recalled the moves were to this great song. I even learned how to Stroll.
We often discuss recallingAmerican Bandstand’s weekly programing. In a way, we’re actually recreating this early version of a traditional favorite. I love hearing everyone’s version of the best of this program.
Keeping us moving “safely” is mostly my focus as a licensed fitness instructor specially trained for this population.
That’s the best part of watching the results of our efforts. Hearing that participants feel great after classes is icing on the cake. Music and movement are a perfect formula for creating and rekindling joy from days ago. Why not?
Just imagine how very wonderful it might feel to revisit days gone by all while staying healthy and fit no matter what your age.
Now if we could only find some poodle skirts and bobby socks, I bet Netflix might even make a series about us. You can reach me to chat about the program any time at 518-275-8686 or at Pelarsen5@aol.com.
Follow me and class schedules on Facebook as well, or just listen for the sounds of us singing“At the Hop” by Danny and The Juniors on Mondays and Thursday morning at the Shamrock House in East Durham.
Pat Larsen, RDH, NHT, is a licensed fitness instructor specializing in elder, senior and baby boomer health and wellness. Pat is a nationally certified hypnosis therapist and offers live ongoing fitness classes and special programs at The Shamrock House, East Durham, on Monday and Thursday mornings. Contact Pat at 518-275-8686 for more details.