Levy Center offers workouts, seminars to aid senior health

Scott Gordon

Evanston’s Levy Senior Activity Center celebrated Older Americans Month and National Health and Fitness Day on Tuesday, offering free activities and information to help keep seniors active.

The Levy Center, 300 Dodge Ave., provided information about exercise, medicine and other services available to seniors.

The city’s health department also provided blood-pressure screenings, blood-sugar screenings, cholesterol screenings, prostate tests and information about the West Nile Virus. The medical tests each cost a small fee.

Levy Center Director Christina Ferraro said about 200 seniors came for free chair massages, seminars about scams targeted at the elderly, Tai Chi classes and advice about driving.

Shari Ettswold, a trainer at Evanston Athletic Club, 1723 Benson Ave., who supervises the Levy Center’s fitness room, helped visiting seniors get acquainted with the center’s exercise equipment.

“I think we have a lot of sedentary jobs in our society, and people need more ways to maintain their health,” Ettswold said. “We’re living longer now.

Seniors usually come to the center because they have a medical problem, such as arthritis or osteoporosis, Ettswold said.

Levy Center member Booker Charlie said he had lowered his blood pressure and increased his stamina and endurance since he began working out at the center this year.

“I can’t keep coming here if I’m not healthy,” Charlie said.

The center, which opened in June 2002, offers health services, information, exercise equipment, a library, a computer lab and social programming for adults 55 and older.

Tuesday’s events were sponsored by several organizations, including Evanston Police Department, Weight Watchers and Whole Foods Market.