GET ACTIVE: Enjoy your golden years with Kettering Health Years Ahead fitness programs

Fun, fitness and friendship are part of the equation with Kettering Health Years Ahead programs.

Kettering Health Years Ahead offers a holistic approach to senior healthcare, providing primary care for those 65 years and older by creating a care plan with patients designed to help them get and stay healthy. With a full slate of classes – including chair yoga, line dancing and Zumba Gold as well as workshops focusing on nutrition and balance – Years Ahead programs focus on wellness.

“Our goal is to reach out to our senior population and offer them opportunities to be enriched,” said Becki Bickett, Kettering Health Years Ahead operations administrator. “We want to keep people healthy and moving.”

That can be more challenging for older adults, especially those who have retired from the workforce.

“Once people retire, they can tend to not move as much,” Bickett said.

Years Ahead Medical Director Dr. Melissa Butler has seen the impact of retirement on some of her patients.

“Working keeps us active on a much more regular basis,” Butler said. “Exercise, of course, is good at any age but, particularly as we age, we have natural muscle atrophy that starts to occur. It can be as much as half a percent of muscle mass per year after age 50.”

Pair the reduced muscle mass and diminished strength with deteriorating balance and the need for exercise becomes apparent as everyday activities and chores can become more difficult or even dangerous.

“I really try to stress the importance of incorporating regular and intentional exercise into their routine,” Butler said. “By continually keeping our bodies strong, we can reverse and prevent some of that decline.”

According to Butler, 150 minutes of aerobic exercise is recommended for older adults as well as two or three days of strength training. Exercise that improves balance is also important.

Years Ahead fitness and wellness programs are currently being offered at the Dayton and Centerville locations with the Kettering site adding events beginning in May. A grant from RetireMed enables Kettering Health to offer the exercises classes free of charge.

Beyond the health benefits, group fitness classes also provide a social outlet for seniors.

“They develop good friendships as well and they actually enjoy going,” Butler said.

While the classes are free, registration is recommended as the programs have seen an uptick in attendance in recent months. To register, call (937) 558-3988 or visit and search Years Ahead.

Kettering Health Years Ahead – Upcoming Programs

Fit N Motion

When: Tuesdays, April 4-25, 2 p.m.

What: A full-body exercise class that explores strength, stretch, cardio, core and balance.

Where: Kettering Health Years Ahead Centerville – 6661 Clyo Road

Zumba Gold

When: Thursdays, April 6-27, 12:30 p.m.

What: The class introduces easy-to-follow fun Zumba choreography that focuses on balance, range of motion and coordination.

Where: Kettering Health Years Ahead Dayton – 3969 Salem Ave.

Fit N Motion

When: Thursdays, April 6-27, 2 p.m.

What: A full-body exercise class that explores strength, stretch, cardio, core and balance.

Where: Kettering Health Years Ahead Dayton – 3969 Salem Ave.

More information about Years Ahead programs is available at

About the Author