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Exercise can be enjoyable when you’re with friends.

By Beth Kaszuba

There’s no question that exercise is good for the body and mind. But hitting the gym can be inconvenient and even intimidating if classes are too big or you’re just starting — or restarting — a fitness routine. 

“Exercising in a relaxed, supportive environment, especially if you’re getting moving with friends, can help make fitness a lot more fun,” says Katrina Dessino, senior wellness specialist with Geisinger 65 Forward.

“Our classes become kind of like little families,” Ms. Dessino says, adding, “Whether you’re at a higher level or just starting out, a gym is a huge part of health and wellness.”

Ms. Dessino notes that each 65 Forward health center has equipment for those who like to work out independently. But classes, which range from chair yoga to outdoor walking groups, are popular.

“We’re always looking for new things to offer, like aerobic drumming,” she adds.

And each 65 Forward member has the advantage of access to wellness coordinators who can conduct fitness assessments and provide one-on-one guidance. 

“We’re focused on making sure people exercise safely while improving their balance and strength,” Ms. Dessino explains.

The emphasis on safety includes precautions against the spread of COVID-19. All 65 Forward centers are limiting the number of class participants, spacing people safely apart, adhering to masking guidelines and keeping surfaces sanitized and spotless.

Here’s a recent 65 Forward class schedule. Even with limited class sizes due to the pandemic, there’s a lot to do in a week.

Socializing (safely) for good health

Geisinger 65 Forward members don’t just connect while working up a sweat. They can also take advantage of social activities such as day trips, craft classes, book clubs and holiday-themed parties.

And all are conducted with the same attention to staying safe.

“I get a lot of feedback from people, some of whom enjoy doing activities with their spouses, while others say, ‘If I wasn’t coming here, I’d be home alone,’” Ms. Dessino says, noting that socialization is a key part of good health, too.

She adds, “It’s so great to have all these options in one location. People come in for a doctor’s appointment and stay for an exercise class — all right in their backyard."

Next steps: 

Another benefit of 65 Forward? More time with your doctor
Here's what these two members think of Geisinger 65 Forward

Staying healthy can be fun!