The Upper Arlington Senior Center's Studio 55 fitness room marked its one-year anniversary Monday evening with a celebration that included exercise demonstrations, health screenings and live entertainment by local band Bobby Weber and Friends.

The Upper Arlington Senior Center's Studio 55 fitness room marked its one-year anniversary Monday evening with a celebration that included exercise demonstrations, health screenings and live entertainment by local band Bobby Weber and Friends.

Studio 55 opened last September after an extensive renovation. The space became available when Northwest Counseling Services vacated a satellite office in the Senior Center, 1945 Ridgeview Road, in summer 2007 as part of an expansion at Northwest's Fishinger Road headquarters.

Studio 55, which offers evening and Saturday hours, has helped the Senior Center attract baby boomers who may still be working and can't make it to the center during the day.

"Membership in a senior center goes through natural attrition because members age out or they become ill or worse," said Sally Gard, Senior Center administrator. "Our membership is up an extra hundred."

Studio 55 helped boost Senior Center membership, which is at just under 2,000, attracting 186 new members when it first opened, Gard said.

"We've doubled the participants in fitness (programs) since we opened this room," she said.

Equipment available for use at Studio 55 includes elliptical machines, treadmills and recumbent bicycles.

"We also do weightlifting, especially for women's bone health," said Mark Rechsteiner, an exercise physiologist who has worked at the center for 20 years.

Rechsteiner and Chris Stimmel, an Ohio State University student majoring in health management and geriatrics, oversee Studio 55 and make suggestions to participants who seek assistance on how to maximize their workouts.

"We can help you set up a routine and get you started," Stimmel said.

Lynn Rees, who has been a member of the Senior Center for four years, said she has been working out at the center at least four times a week since Studio 55 opened.

"It was hard for me to come during the day. I baby-sit my grandchildren," she said. Since Studio 55 offers evening hours, "it's opened up a whole new world."

Another member, Ariel Ford, also said Studio 55's evening and Saturday hours enable her to squeeze working out four to five times a week into her schedule.

"Because they have evening hours, it's a lot easier. People here are very nice, instructors as well as members," Ford said. "I've been coming here about six months. I lived here before and just moved back. I checked it out and thought it was great. They have something for everyone."

Studio 55 is the latest evolution of the Senior Center, which recently lowered its minimum age to 50. Gard said Studio 55 will expand its hours in January, to 4-8 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 8 a.m. to noon on Saturday. (The center is currently open Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. to noon; Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 1-3 p.m. and Saturday from 9 a.m. to noon.)

For more information, call (614) 583-5320.

cbournea@thisweeknews.com

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