FORT BRAGG, N.C. - Active-duty Soldiers are required to exercise each day to maintain top-level of fitness. Once that Soldier retires, the decision to exercise is optional and many retirees who are used to the regimented exercise program, feel that there is none to fit their needs. Now there is.

The Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation Sports office now offers a program of circuit training that is designed especially for retirees. The program, which takes place at Towle Gym, features several circuits of weight machine exercises fused with various cardio routines.

"This is a class for retirees that works on the whole body, encompassing strength training and cardio training at the same time," explained Theresa Shields, who instructs the training.
She said she came up with the concept as part of her duties as an FMWR employee.

"Part of my duties was to provide programming for retirees and I think it's important that we continue to focus and work on their health and fitness goals," she said. Shields said the training has been well received by those who participate.

"It started out a little slow at first, but it has picked up," she pointed out. "On average, we have about four to six people, but I expect that number to grow over time, as the word gets out."
Shields said those who have participated in the training have had good result and have been successful in meeting their fitness goals.

"A lot of them have said that they just overall, generally feel better and it's a great social outlet, for some individuals as it gets them out of the house for the day. And I think we've had some weight loss," Shields explained.

Mack Bannerman, who participated in this session of the class, said he was pleased with the results. He said his quest to get into better shape is what drove him to participate in the training.
"I wanted to try to increase my overall health and lower my blood pressure," said Bannerman, who retired after 24 years of active duty, then again after serving 20 more as a civil service employee. "It's pretty challenging, especially on the third time around, but it's all good and you feel a lot better after you complete that third round."

For Cynthia Ellis, the course has been a big help by allowing her to get in shape after she retired from 20 years on active duty.

"It's been great," she said. "I really enjoy it."

Ellis said weight loss was her biggest reason for participating in the training.
"After I retired, I gained a little weight and I'm trying to tone down and get a little weight off and be healthier," she said.

Circuit training for retirees takes place Tuesdays and Thursdays, from 8 to 9 a.m. at Towle Gym, located at the corner of Ardennes and Bastogne streets.

Session 3 will begin Feb. 22 and last until March 31 and Session 4 will begin April 5 and last until May 12.