The University of Missouri’s Extension program is encouraging seniors to “Stay Strong, Stay Healthy” through their strength building program of the same name.

The strength program is eight weeks long, and consists of hour-long workout sessions twice a week. The program is designed for adults age 60 or older.

Sarah Traub, Human Development & Family Science Specialist for the University of Missouri, has been teaching this class for three years.

“We’ve offered this program in the past and it’s been very successful.”

Traub has high hopes for those who come to her classes.

“I have several goals for my participants, but the biggest thing is just helping them do the things they enjoy more comfortably,” Traub said. “I want them to be able to do things with their grandkids and be more functional.”

One of Traub’s favorite success stories was a participant who was able to accompany her young granddaughter to an amusement park for a day without needing to sit down or rest.

“She wouldn’t have been able to do that before the program, and that felt really good,” Traub said.

The classes will be held from 10:30-11:30 a.m. on Mondays and Wednesdays starting January 17. The first session will be an assessment and paperwork. The University of Missouri Extension- Cooper County Office is located at 510 Jackson Road, in the same building as the Boonslick Senior Center. Classes will run through March 21, and the program comes with a $40 registration fee. To register, call (660) 882-5661.

Traub stressed that the program should not be seen as too intense.

“Sometimes, people can be intimidated when they see strength training,” she said. “But this program works no matter what your fitness level is.”

Instead, her program is built on simple exercises that will improve quality of life and health.

Research from the Center for Disease Control shows that regular strength training in older adults can provide a host of benefits, including improvements in balance, arthritis, heart disease, diabetes, depression and weight control.