MU Extension provides fitness class for older adults

MU Extension is encouraging people across the state to get fit.

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, programs that have previously been offered in-person can now be shared online.

One example is the Stay Strong, Stay Healthy program, an exercise class for older adults meant to build muscle and increase bone density with the aim of increasing independence and decreasing the risk of falls.

The fitness program has been around since 2005.

Though many counties are offering in-person options, others are moving online.

“It’s always been in-person. We’ve only recently been able to get it online,” said Lindsey Stevenson, MU Extension Barton County nutrition and health education specialist.

MU Extension offices in Barton, Howard and Scott counties are all hosting the program online over Zoom, a video conferencing technology that during the pandemic has hosted everything from family gatherings to government business.

Barton County’s class, co-instructed by Stevenson, will run for eight weeks starting Monday. The class will take place from 1-2 p.m. Mondays and Wednesdays.

To learn more or register, visit The registration deadline for this session is noon Monday.

“MU Extension exercise specialists have adapted the SSSH program so that it can be available to Missourians from the comfort of their homes,” Stevenson said in a press release. “Through the pandemic, MU Extension is still serving Missourians by providing programs and education in new ways to help improve their health.”

Howard County’s Stay Strong, Stay Healthy program will run on Zoom from Sept. 21 through Nov. 11, from 3:30-4:30 p.m. every Monday and Wednesday

Liz Harrison, a Howard County nutrition and health education specialist, has organized the program with other colleagues in northeast Missouri.

In addition to decreasing frailty, other benefits of the program could include improved mood and a general sense of wellness, as well as the opportunity for social interaction.

“I’ve heard from participants in some other classes with older adults and they basically have been in their homes since March. They enjoy that there is now so much online,” Harrison said, referencing not only MU Extension programs but also other opportunities that have come up everywhere in education, health and social organizations.

To register for the Howard County class, visit

Information about free virtual SSSH classes led through Howard County is available online. Sessions are at 10 a.m. Oct. 19 through Jan. 29 at and 11:30 a.m. Oct. 19 through Dec. 11. at

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