Laughter is the Best Medicine: Fun Exercise Classes Motivate Seniors & Improve Health

Group exercise classes provide a fun and accessible way for seniors to stay active and improve their overall health and well-being. In addition to physical benefits, these classes also offer social and cognitive benefits: improved memory, reduced risk of loneliness, new friendships, improved mood, and more.

"We create a welcoming and fun atmosphere for all participants. It’s a judgment-free zone, and we laugh a lot," explains Eileen Stephens, MOW Diablo Region’s Health & Wellness Division Specialist. MOW Diablo Region offers over 15 free senior exercise classes each week in various cities across Contra Costa County. The organization's exercise classes are not only designed to improve physical health but also to enhance the social and mental well-being of seniors.

Young at Heart Strength Training (YAH) is an evidence-based program designed to increase physical activity and reduce sedentary behaviors in older adults. Taught by MOW Diablo Region Certified instructors, the class consists of weekly one-hour sessions with a warm-up, strength-building exercises, stretches, balance activities, and a cool-down. “We try to keep the class lively and fun,” Stephens explains. “Laughter is the best medicine and it’s really motivating for participants!” The Young at Heart Strength Training class is currently offered on Tuesdays at 10:30 am at the Rodeo Senior Center and 11:00 am at Good Shepherd Church, on Wednesdays at 10:00 am at the Concord Senior Center, at 10:15 am on Thursdays at the Pittsburg Senior Center, and 10:30 am on Fridays at the Ambrose Senior Center.

Bingocize® is one of the most popular MOW Diablo Region exercise classes that combines the fun of Bingo with strength and balance exercises. “The class is designed to increase physical activity and reduce sedentary behavior while promoting social engagement,” said Cynthia Black, Health and Wellness Division Manager. “The seniors and the class instructors love it! Participants improve cognitive function and memory while providing an engaging social experience,” Black concludes. Join the next Bingocize® class at 11:00 am on Wednesdays at Eagle City Mobile Home Park, and at noon on Tuesdays at the North Richmond Senior Center.

MOW Diablo Region has also recently added line dancing, and it has proven to be a successful addition. "Line dancing is a great low-impact way for seniors to improve their memory while having fun,” said Matt LoPinto, MOW Diablo Region Program Assistant. “Dance routines require concentration and repetition, which can help enhance cognitive function and recall,” says LoPinto. Seated line dancing is also offered and both are fun and accessible ways for seniors to improve their coordination and balance The Line Dancing classes are available on Thursdays at 9:00 am at the Pittsburg Senior Center, at 12:30 pm at the Corrine Sain Senior & Family Community Center.

Walk with Ease, an evidence-based program designed to help seniors with arthritis or other chronic conditions improves their mobility and overall health. The class is available on Fridays at 9:00 am at the Antioch Senior Center.

MOW Diablo Region’s services support the whole senior, the organization provides so much more than a meal. Whether you are looking for a fun way to stay active or a chance to socialize with other older adults, weekly exercise classes are a great option! Please note that all classes can vary by location, day, and time-- for the latest information about these exercise classes, visit:

Young at Heart Strength Training class attendees