How we work out: Music 'N Motion

For The Baltimore Sun

Every Tuesday at Glen Meadows Retirement Community in Glen Arm, residents wave wooden batons, sway their hips and move to the sounds of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony, Rimsky-Korsakov's "Flight of the Bumblebee" and other classical music pieces. Led by Bob Hunter, the activities director for the facility, the 30-minute Music 'N Motion class is a physical, social, intellectual and spiritual experience.

How it got started: While doing research, Hunter found that adding music to exercise increases motor coordination and other body functions. Music stimulates the frontal lobe of the brain, which can be affected by dementia. Hunter wanted to combine the benefits of aerobics with classical music. The class became part of the Masterpiece Living initiative, which stresses being active, having a purpose and volunteering.

Who's in the group: Between eight and 15 men and women ages 60 to 90 join in each week.

A typical class: The exercise begins with a warm-up song to get residents loose. Positioned in front of the room, Hunter conducts the class as songs commence with a mixture of fast and slow tempos. Some participants jump around and others dance, but they all move about and get the blood flowing.

After some songs, Hunter shares background information to add an intellectual component. "It's all about getting people active," he said. "Music 'N Motion is a great escape and puts a smile on everyone's face."

Why people like it: "It makes you feel good," said Ellen Smith. "Everyone can participate because you can move any way you want."

"This class is great and so is the Masterpiece Living program," said Dottie Sippel. "Since Glen Meadows started Masterpiece Living, more residents have been getting involved in activities like this. Being involved helps you age successfully."

Music 'N Motion is helping residents maintain a healthier lifestyle and is giving them more enjoyment by keeping them active and trying new things.

"Someone told me the other day that they hope they look like me when they're my age," said Betty Higginbottom. "That's because of Masterpiece Living and activities we have like this class."

If you have a group that meets regularly to exercise, tell us about it so we can feature you in our Health & Style pages. We'll want basic information about your group (how often you meet, number of people in the group, what you do and why you do it), as well as a photo if you have one. Send to or Catherine Mallette, Features, The Baltimore Sun, 501 N. Calvert St., Baltimore 21201.

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