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Low-cost fitness program aims to get seniors in shape

Recently-retired Claremont Unified School District coach and special education teacher Mike Lepore is leading a senior fitness circuit class as part of the Victory Training program at Pacific Athletic Center (PAC), 1599 Monte Vista Ave., in Claremont.

The center is partnering with Mr. Lepore to provide low-cost senior fitness, relying in part on physician referrals.

The class is similar to the one Mr. Lepore formerly offered through CUSD Adult Education, and many of those students are now working with him over at PAC.

The classes, which started in July, is currently offered six hours a week, but Mr. Lepore wants to expand that to nine. He is also working to develop a larger offering for seniors including private training, small groups and other senior-related programs.

“Our purpose is to make exercise affordable to older adults,” Mr. Lepore said. “Access to this stuff is hard to find,” he added, noting that many local exercise clubs don’t offer discounted senior memberships.

The biggest priority for seniors is maintaining the ability to sit and stand, so the class focuses on core strength and training the lumbar area, according to Mr. Lepore.

Classes are open to anyone age 50 or older and are based on Mr. Lepore’s exercise is medicine credential as well as his expertise working with cancer patients.

Some health plans include a benefit that offers reimbursement for health club or gym memberships, so Mr. Lepore encourages anyone who is interested in joining the class to contact their insurance provider. 

Mr. Lepore, who retired June 15, worked for CUSD for 41 years, 37 of which were in the special education program. He was also the wrestling coach and an assistant football coach at Claremont High School.

Classes are held from 9 to 10 a.m. Monday, Wednesday and Friday, as well as from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. Monday, Wednesday and Thursday.

PAC is also forming a non-profit organization to help expand programs like senior fitness and to create scholarships for athletes that would not otherwise be able to afford premier athletic training or club sports.

—Steven Felschundneff

steven@claremont-courier.com