"This class is good for me," she said. "I get the exercise I need and it's nice to visit with the other people in the group. And, we have a great instructor."

• Alvin Hess, 90, of Lisbon, a career Navy man and former defense contractor who landed on Normandy Beach during World War II.

"I come here for the exercise and the social life," he said. "It's like a gathering of the clan."

What the six men and women share, besides their longevity, is what Kain and Hess suggested: a passion for the exercise class, their instructor and each other that keeps them coming back week after week after week.

"I take this class to get out, to go and see the people," said elder stateswoman Brendel, a comment echoed with only slight variation by all of the others. "I like all the people, and I like the teacher. That's the main thing."

"I'm with a group of people here that I pretty well understand," Walker said. "It's the contact with people of a similar age that I like."

A rarity

Exercise classes geared to seniors are not unusual in Howard County.  The county's senior centers offer about 50, ranging from seated classes, to dance classes, to low-impact aerobic classes.

Still, while such records are not kept few could recall a specific class with so many 90-plus members.

"That sure sounds like a lot to me," said Dayna Brown, administrator of the county Office on Aging. "That's pretty cool."

But Brown, noting the rise in the senior population (the county had 780 residents 90 or older in 2000 and 1,066 in 2010, according to Census Bureau data), said such classes might not be so rare in the future.

"I think we're going to be seeing a lot more of this," she said. "That's where the population is going."

Kain's class, which on a recent Thursday had about 15 participants, lasts an hour and includes a wide range of activities. Members lift small dumbbells (typically a couple of pounds apiece), stretch their arms and their backs, shuffle their feet and kick their legs, clap their hands in simulated jumping jacks — all done gently, all while seated.

At one point, they separate into pairs, each pair facing each other, and are given badminton rackets, which they use in a spirited (to varying degrees) game of seated, two-person badminton. Multi-colored balloons float gently throughout the room, as do the grunts and laughs of the players.

When she's not giving instructions, Kain peppers the class with a running patter of comments and questions.

"So what's it like to have about 100 years of history to look at?" she asks Sargent at one point.

"Depends on when you look," he replies. "Some of it's boring as hell."

Later, she asks the class if anyone has any special plans for the weekend. When the class is briefly and unusually silent, she looks at a visitor. "We are an exciting bunch here," she says.

Such kidding aside, Kain and her elderly charges are nothing if not a mutual admiration society.

"The instructor," said Sargent, when asked what he likes about the class.

"She's really a nice person, and she can handle the men real good," Frothingham added. "She can talk about anything."

Including, it happens, her seated senior exercise class.

"This group, they really are a blessing," said Kain, who is in her 50s. "It's like having another set of parents. … They're very dear."