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New Howard fitness program offers all-access gym pass to seniors

Ellicott City, MD. September 9, 2015. Photo by Nicole Munchel. A new state of the art gym has been built for the Ellicott City 50+ senior center. The unveiling of the renovations will be September 17 but the center is still open for buisness. Howard County Executive Allan Kittleman unveils the renovated Ellicott City 50+ senior center, complete with a new fitness center, on Thursday.
Ellicott City, MD. September 9, 2015. Photo by Nicole Munchel. A new state of the art gym has been built for the Ellicott City 50+ senior center. The unveiling of the renovations will be September 17 but the center is still open for buisness. Howard County Executive Allan Kittleman unveils the renovated Ellicott City 50+ senior center, complete with a new fitness center, on Thursday. (Nicole Munchel / Baltimore Sun Media Group)

New Year's fitness resolutions just got more affordable for Howard County's senior residents.

Monday, officials announced a new program called Go 50+, which offers membership to all the county's fitness centers to adults 50 years and older for a flat annual fee.

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"The sooner older adults assume responsibility for our own health and fitness, the better results will be as we age," said County Executive Allan Kittleman, who at 57 years old is counting himself among those the initiative aims to attract. "Committing to fitness leads to better living and health outcomes throughout the aging process, and it certainly has an impact on longevity."

For $75 a year, Howard County's older adults can gain access to fitness facilities at all Howard County 50+ Centers as well as the North Laurel Community Center, the Roger Carter Community Center in Ellicott City and the Gary J. Arthur Community Center in Glenwood. For pool access, residents can pay $175 annually.

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The program is also open to non-residents, at a fee of $100 a year for the fitness plan or $225 for the fitness and pool package.

The program launches Jan. 4, but officials said they announced it this month to get the word out.

Howard officials have been studying ways to make the county more friendly to older adults as the population ages. Currently, about 10 percent of Howard County residents are 65 years or older, according to Councilman Jon Weinstein. In 25 years, the percentage will more than double, he said.

Though Ellicott City 50+ Center's new gym been open for use since this spring, officials will formally inaugurate it, as well as the renovated 50+ center next door, with a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Thursday.

"That's a big increase, and something we're taking into account now and paying close attention to," he said.

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The Ellicott City 50+ Fitness Center, where the new program was announced, officially opened in September and is the first gymnasium focused on seniors in the county. A second 50+ fitness center is planned as part of the Elkridge senior center's renovation, slated for completion at the end of 2017.

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