Health Team

Triangle seniors get moving, use dance troop to stay active and inspire

Posted July 22, 2016 4:18 p.m. EDT
Updated July 22, 2016 4:39 p.m. EDT

Some doctors say too much sitting down can pose a health risk similar to smoking. That's especially true for people already in their golden years.

One colorful group of seniors in Wake County is getting up to dance, and they hope the movement both helps them and inspires others.

The Rex Grand Dance Troop came to be after Cary Rex Wellness Center manager Judy Jackson thought some of her exercise class members might be interested.

The group was formed, and now its members spend plenty of timing working on their steps and getting their timing just right.

"I sent a flyer out and had this many people respond, and we put some feelers out and people said, 'Come dance for us,'" Jackson said.

Sixty-six-year-old Lina Summerfelt and her 86-year-old husband, Vern, jumped at the chance to take their show on the road a few times a month. The group travels to other senior living facilities in the area to perform.

"At first we were kind of awkward because we're not good dancers," Lina Summerfelt joked.

"It's just exciting. I just like it," Vern Summerfelt said. "I feel good about it."

The Summerfelts say that's what an active lifestyle does for them. In fact, they call their dancing a "healthy addiction."

"They're doing their zumba classes and their bar classes, and they're line dancing on top of all this," Jackson said.

When the troop goes on the road, the performances often inspire other golden-agers to get up and dance, too.

"They get into it. They're much more than just looking at us," Vern Summerfelt said.

Vern Summerfelt said he knows he stands out in his group. Often times, he's the only guy.

Jackson says the benefits the dancer's get from the extra movement is often twofold – it helps both physically and is something dancers get to do for themselves.

"And this is just one more way to be active and give back to their community at the same time," Jackson said.