Western South Dakota's Only Ranch Station

“Social isolation is a death sentence.” Get up and dance

LARAMIE, WY As winter’s cold and dark days settle in, AARP Wyoming has launched a series of fitness, writing and other creative classes to help people connect and have fun.

AARP Wyoming’s Associate State Director of Community Outreach Jennifer Baier said after surveying its 80,000 members, it was clear that fitness classes were a big priority.

She said people have been signing up for stretch, strength and balance, chair and restorative yoga, Tai Chi and line-dance classes.

“And all of those classes are taught by instructors with decades of experience,” said Baier. “Because that’s the other thing that our members told us, is that they really wanted fitness instructors who looked like them. So, for example, our line dance instructor is 71, and she is fabulous.”

All classes are free and open to the public, and can be accessed remotely from the comfort of your own home at AARP.org/WY.

Baier said folks who don’t have broadband internet can still participate. She said most local libraries offer fast internet and study rooms.

People can also participate in events by telephone.

Baier said gathering for classes, even remotely, helps introduce participants to new friends, whether they are in Cheyenne, Sheridan or anyplace in between. Baier said it’s also a good way to keep the risks of social isolation at bay.

“Social isolation, it is a death sentence for some people,” said Baier. “It has been likened to smoking multiple packs of cigarettes a day. It’s basically very detrimental, especially as we age.”

A six-week writing class, taught by published Wyoming author Carole Martin, will focus on participants’ personal stories set in Wyoming. Baier said the results will be published in a book and there are plans for a series of public readings at libraries.

Baier said the feedback so far has been nothing but positive. She said the chat window was overflowing after this week’s line-dance class.

“So many people said this made them feel young again,” said Baier. “They said that they hadn’t danced in years, this is so much fun. They look forward to coming next week and mastering the steps they might have missed this week. And so they’re really forming a community around it, we’re really excited about it.”

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Rapid City, US
12:00 am, December 1, 2023
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