Good Saturday morning to you!
I so enjoyed meeting the ladies and gents of the Country/Western persuasion last week that I decided to take the opportunity to meet all those people who attend the Tai Chi classes at the center this week and … so I did!

Good Saturday morning to you!

I so enjoyed meeting the ladies and gents of the Country/Western persuasion last week that I decided to take the opportunity to meet all those people who attend the Tai Chi classes at the center this week and … so I did!

I must admit that it was fun meeting these ladies too and having the opportunity to chat with them about the classes and their reasons for participating.

As I’m sure you all remember (because I remind you often) Tai Chi classes are held on Tuesday and Thursday mornings from 8:30 to 9:30 and again on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons in a split class with Tai Chi from 4 to 4:30 and Enhance Fitness from 4:30 till 5. Longtime senior center instructor Sharon Autry heads up all of these classes.

In chatting with the ladies in these classes I was interested in finding out their age (because I understand everyone can benefit from these classes), the ways they found out about the classes, and what, if any, benefits of the class had they noticed. Now getting to all that in 3 minutes per person was a hard goal to stick to because almost everyone had quite a bit to say — not only about the exercises but also about the instructor.

So, right off the bat, you need to know that Sharon is the tie that binds these ladies to these classes. I heard from just about everyone that she makes each person in the class feel important and a part of the class whether they can work through the whole class or sit out part of it. And sitting down and just doing the arm motions is just as important as standing and moving your whole body.

New people commented on how she makes everyone feel welcome and that makes everyone a large happy group and no one feels left out.

As far as Sharon’s credentials to give this class, she took the class through the Pottawatomie County Health Department and given by Dr. Robert Lackey in 2006 to become a certified Tai Chi instructor. In 2014, she had the opportunity to be a member of a Tai Chi Seminar given by Dr. Fuzong Li, the gentleman who developed the Tai Chi: Working for Better Balance program, which has been approved by the Oklahoma Department of Health as well as the Nation’s Center for Disease Control. The program has been determined to reduce blood pressure, lower your heart rate and help your breathing capability as well as giving you better balance and coordination.

Now on to the people I met!

Let’s start with the morning class. There’s Jeri, who’s 69, who has been coming for several months and brings her sister Lorene, who’s 89, so that she can get out of the house and enjoy the fellowship. Jeri participates with the mall walking group and wants to work on some balance problems.

Janet and Linda are sisters and they both come. Linda lives on a farm and wants to keep her energy up, and her sister Janet says she’s a soap opera addict and is using the class to have an outside interest and get some exercise with others.

Cathy found Tai Chi recently and she just enjoys the class and loves the movements.

Connie admits to 75 and says she sleeps better and feels better because of the activity in the class.

Beverly is 73 and says she “found” the Tai Chi class this summer and recommends the program to all her friends.

Doris, who is 80 (and will be 81 at the end of the month), says this class is easy on her body and has helped her balance so much that she can now catch herself and not fall when she becomes unsteady.

Mary Jane, 77, says this class has helped her to feel younger and she brings a friend along with her because she wants to share the energy she gets when she works out with Tai Chi.

Betty is another walker from the mall and she says her energy level is higher and she is moving better.

Emma Lou, 72, lost a family member and found new friends who helped her through her loss and works through her exercises with a group of fun people.

Jean, 65, is a retired 20 year Adult Protective Services worker who works now as a caregiver and takes the class for fun!

Linda, 76, was looking for something to help her recuperate from a knee surgery two and a half years ago and found a balancing Tai Chi class that she still loves coming to.

Marilyn, 72, has been coming for six years, loves the class, loves the people she meets and exercises with, and said nice things to this columnist about the articles she writes. (Thank you again, Marilyn!)

And now for those individuals who come to the afternoon classes.

Carol has been coming for three years. She helps Sharon with the paperwork and such for the class. She says her balance has greatly improved and loves doing the exercises.

Louie and Carol Pool, both in their 80s have been attending class from just about the first class Sharon had. Louie is a board member for the center now and he says he comes to the class so that his wife Carol will come, and she agreed that was a true statement. Both of them enjoy the classes, even Louie!

Joy, 75, says her balance has definitely improved and she now is able to stop a misstep before she falls.

Darlene Q says a doctor recommended Tai Chi for her balance problem and it worked so she’s still a Tai Chi participant four years later.

Sally has been coming with a neighbor for two and a half years and loves the class.

Reba is 90 and does not look it and credits the class and the fellowship.

Eileen is a former math professor who’s been coming to classes for six years.

Charlotte loves the improvement she’s received in her back from the classes and the increased mobility she has.

Darletta loved the class and took the opportunity to get certified and now not only comes to Tai Chi at the center, she teaches a class at Calvary Way Church in Prague.

Pat, an 86-year-old who also does not look her age, loves the fact that the classes help her balance and they also “grow on you every week.”

And the only guy in the class is Orlando. He has been at it for six years and says it has helped with the healing and ability to move after surgery on his foot and ankle.

I’m sure you realize by now that people come for different reasons but all of them come away with the same feeling – they love the class and the instructor and it’s fun to get healthier, happier and more active no matter how old you are.

So think about it. Come down and check out a class for yourself and improve the quality of your life.

Remember that Cruise Director Kate Joyce chats with Mike Askins every Wednesday morning at 8:35 a.m. on KGFF’s “Mike in the Morning” on FM 100.9 or AM 1450. There’s always something new to hear when the two of them get together.

And as you know, “age is just a number” at the Shawnee Senior Center. The Facebook page is “Shawnee Senior Center” and the website is

And, as always, see you at the center!