Matt Vermillion, physical therapist at St. Luke Hospital, arrived at the Marion Senior Center a few minutes before 11 a.m. Friday to set out nine chairs and drop what looked like wide yellow ribbons on the seats.
The yellow ribbons were actually resistance bands, used to boost the stretching exercises eight women and one man practiced during a new class.
Vermillion, who grew up in Halstead, and fellow St. Luke physical therapist Alex Brooks, who grew up in Coldwater, wanted to give back to the community, so they reached out to the Marion Senior Center with the offer of weekly physical therapy for the clients, Vermillion said.
“We start out with a general warm-up, then we do some exercises with arms, and then we do some with the legs,” Vermillion said. “Then we’ll progress to some standing activities.”
Participants were eager to begin.
“Let’s get the show on the road,” one of the women told Vermillion.
Friday’s session included one first-time member. The others were back for more.
After pacing class members through arm circles, pumping their fists as if keeping time with determined footsteps, then marching their feet while seated in their chairs, Vermillion told them to grab the resistance bands.
“I want you to pull the band apart, just pull apart,” Vermillion said.
Next they had to put the bands under their feet and pull upwards, and then stretch their legs forward. This exercise stretched their buttock muscles.
A few participants had a bit of a hard time holding onto the ends of the resistance bands, but got sympathetic reactions when they lost their grips on them.
Each class session lasts about 35-50 minutes. On Friday, Vermillion worked with the seniors 45 minutes. He promised to bring the seniors exercise sheets at the following session so they could track their progress at home.