FAQ

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First of all, congratulations for considering a return to exercise. That is awesome!

It is important to be kind to yourself and to pace yourself as you gradually improve your fitness level one step at a time. You don’t have to be any further along than where you are right now. In all of my classes, I demonstrate modifications to the exercises so that you can exercise at a level that is right for you.

Also, if at any point during any one of my classes you become overly fatigued or experience pain, then it is okay to sit down and rest. As long as you are able to follow along in a group class (even in a very basic way), and you are willing and able to listen to your own body, then you’ll do just fine.

All of my class members receive a lot of support from me for safety during class, and new students receive even more guidance when needed. I am also available for a few minutes after class to help with questions or concerns. However, during my group classes it is not possible for me to give my undivided attention to each student at all times. Therefore, if you require a lot of one-on-one attention then you may do better working with a personal trainer or physical therapist.

Good for you for staying active and choosing a healthier lifestyle!

You can still benefit from my classes as a supplement to sports that you enjoy such as golf or tennis, or other forms of exercise that you do on a regular basis. Many athletes don’t do enough stretching, and everything that we do in life is improved and enhanced when we have more flexibility, balance and strength.

The exercises in my classes are easily adaptable for more advanced participants. You can increase the challenge level of your workout by using heavier weights and stronger resistance bands, and, when appropriate for your body, you can also expand your range of motion, do more repetitions, and choose standing over seated exercises. However, if you are a serious athlete who is training for triathlons, running marathons or doing athletic bodybuilding then you may find my class is too moderate for you.

Yes. I really encourage this because there is no better way to discover if my fitness program is right for you then to actually come in and experience a class! In fact, that is a great way for me to meet you too and to answer any other questions that you may have. Whether you plan to visit us at the San Rafael Community Center or the Margaret Todd Senior Center you may pay a drop-in fee for one class without having to make any long term commitment.

If you end up liking my class then you can decide whether you want to save money by signing up for a session or just continue attending on a drop-in basis. That is up to you. Also, currently I am offering a special website coupon that you can bring with you to get your first class free. Just fill out the form at the top right, and your coupon will be emailed to you.

You have three options. I offer a 40-minute specialized Chair Aerobics class. It’s perfect for beginners or those with limited mobility, and you’ll still get a fabulous full body workout. Or, if you enjoy dancing,  you could attend my 40 minute Line Dancing class at the Margaret Todd Senior Center in Novato. We have a blast in that class, and it will help boost your health in many ways. Also, you are welcome to attend just the 2nd half of my Fit & Fun After 50 classes at either the San Rafael Community Center or the Margaret Todd Senior Center. You’ll end up getting about 30 minutes of quality exercise including some strength training, stretching, breath work and guided relaxation. Please let me know ahead of time if you’re planning on attending just 1/2 of a class so that I can still give you a proper orientation.

My strength training and chair aerobics classes do have men in them. Yay! Go guys! Many of them have been long term class members, and they enjoy maintaining and improving their fitness in well rounded ways. Through the years I have also had some men attend my Low Impact Aerobics classes, but currently I only have three men in that class. Sad but true.

Many older adult men tend to be less inclined to do group exercise than older adult women. That’s unfortunate especially since there are many major health risks that men face (like heart disease, stroke, depression and diabetes) that an energetic exercise program like mine can help prevent or reverse. So I would love to have more men attend my classes.

Some men have told me that they are uncomfortable taking a class with predominantly women members. I understand this discomfort and know that there might even be some performance anxiety. If so, it usually dissipates quickly since my classes are filled with kind, caring, supportive people who want the best for themselves and each other. You will not be judged for making mistakes in any of my classes. I encourage you to try out any one of my classes so you can experience just how good it can feel!

My safe and gentle exercise program can help you and others with arthritis remain active and mobile, improve your ability to do daily activities and reduce joint pain. I have many people with arthritis in my classes. We do a slow, thorough warm-up to improve blood flow to the joint areas and increase range of motion, and we focus on training your muscles not straining your joints. However, it is important not to exercise while your joints are inflamed and never exercise to the point of pain.

Practice listening to your body and stop if it hurts.  Consult with your doctor first and obtain clearance to begin any exercise program. Most people with arthritis are encouraged by their health professionals to exercise because if you don’t move your joints they will become stiffer and weaker. Also, exercise decreases the risk of permanent disability and helps to reduce stress and anxiety which so often aggravates this condition.

Get your doctor’s approval before beginning an exercise program. Be very mindful of your whole body while you are moving it, and practice being very aware of your balance. Wear good supportive shoes with a non-skid under surface. Keep your movements in the pain-free range and do seated versions of exercises when needed. I highly recommend my strength training class so that you may build the muscles of your legs and hips to help take some of the load off your joints.

Always point your toes and knees in the same direction and avoid locking your knees. For those with hip replacement: don’t bend at your hip more than 90 degrees, don’t cross your legs or lift your knees higher than your hip and avoiding turning your toes inward. The deep breathing and relaxation practices in my classes can help with pain management.

Lack of physical activity is considered to be the biggest cause of bone loss and that is something that all of my classes most definitely address! It is never too late for action. Weight bearing exercise, along with other good lifestyle choices, can help reduce bone loss and improve balance. Also, when you make your muscles stronger, research shows that your bones will get stronger too; so you’ll be less likely to break a bone if you do have an occasional simple fall.

Of course, before beginning any exercise program, be sure to check with your doctor.  Since, with osteoporosis, you are at a higher risk for fractures then it is important that you pay close attention to your body and follow safety guidelines. During class, wear shoes that have a non-skid under surface. Avoid the following: fast, jerky movements, twisting moves, bending forward at your waist and placing a load down on your spine. Stop to rest when you need to. With good self-monitoring and my guidance, you’ll find that the beneficial strength training, balance and coordination work that we do in my classes will not only be manageable but also fun.


If you’ve been given medical clearance and your condition is under control, then you’re absolutely welcome to my class. Too many people use their health challenges as reasons NOT to exercise, so I’m happy to hear that you’re ready and eager to make some positive changes! Though exercise alone is not enough to manage diabetes, it is a MAJOR key to preventing or reversing it, especially since it can help your body “use up” some of the damaging sugar in your blood.

In addition, diabetes experts say muscle building exercise can increase the body’s sensitivity to insulin in both types of diabetes. Therefore, I highly recommend you consider taking my Strength Training class. Be sure to consult with your physician for any special recommendations and precautions specific to you. If you take insulin or a pill that helps lower your blood sugar, your physician might need to adjust your dose so that your blood sugar doesn’t get too low during class. (The safe blood sugar range is between 100-200 or a target set by your doctor.)

Test your blood sugar before you begin exercising, and don’t exercise if you have very low or very high glucose levels. Keep some hard candy or easily digestible carbohydrate available in case it’s needed. Here are a few other safety guidelines to follow: stay hydrated, wear comfortable shoes, don’t cross your legs or feet, don’t overexert yourself and don’t attend class if you have retinal hemorrhages, fever or infection.

Yes, provided you are under a doctor’s care and your blood pressure is managed enough for safety during class. Since hypertension is the 3rd most chronic condition in the U.S. you probably won’t be surprised to hear that several of the people who attend my classes have high blood pressure. They have wisely chosen to improve their health through regular, moderate intensity exercise, and I’m glad to hear that you’re considering doing the same. Many studies (and my own experiences) have shown that endurance exercise has a positive influence on lowering blood pressure, so I recommend that you try out my low-impact aerobics class. (If you’ve never done aerobics before then you may need to start with my chair aerobics class first.)

If you prefer strength training then you’ll need to consult with your doctor first since that form of exercise may cause your blood pressure to go up too high. The good news is that the people in my classes have managed quite well; we warm up properly and exercise mindfully and moderately. You can focus more on endurance in my strength training class by doing a higher number of reps with a lighter load, rather than doing heavy lifting.

Also, practice the following: rest when you’re tired, be careful of overhead lifting, do not hold your breath while exercising and avoid long held muscle contractions. And, of course, always monitor your blood pressure! Each class includes breath and relaxation exercises and a guided meditation; all of which can help reduce stress, balance emotions and reduce high blood pressure. I hope to see you soon.

Maybe. Being more active is safe for most people. However, some people should check with their doctor before they start becoming much more physically active. If you have any of the conditions mentioned in the above list of questions, then yes, please see your doctor first. For other possible reasons to see your doctor first please read the Physical Activity Readiness Questionnaire.

First of all, both Margaret Todd Senior Center and the San Rafael Goldenaires offer a significant savings for each class to those who register for a session of classes as opposed to just dropping in. In addition, Margaret Todd Senior Center has a scholarship program that is funded solely by donations, and is administered by the MTSC staff. Financial assistance is offered for adults 50+ who reside within the city limits of Novato, CA and meet certain income limits. This Senior Citizens Financial Assistance Program is established to provide an opportunity for Novato seniors, who, because of economic hardship, are unable to participate in City-sponsored classes.

To inquire, please call the center at (415) 899-8290. If you qualify, the program will cover 50% of the Novato Youthful Hearts session class fees, with a maximum of $75 per eligible fiscal year July 1 through June 30. There is an easy, one page application that takes just 2 minutes to fill out, that you can pick up at the front desk or download here. This funding is currently available and waiting to be used for the higher good of Novato Seniors. If needed, I can think of no better reason to tap this fund than to promote your own good health!


I have created a detailed tip sheet as a handy reference for first time class members. It covers topics such as what to wear, what to bring, when to arrive, etc. Read it here: Your First Class.

It all depends on what your fitness goals are and what type of exercise you most enjoy that you’ll feel encouraged to continue doing.

All of the 50+ group classes that I teach (except for line dancing) are whole-body conditioning classes designed to boost your metabolism and mood while improving flexibility, bone and muscle strength, coordination, joint mobility, endurance, mental capability, balance, and vitality. However, there are some distinct differences between my class types. The following guidelines may help you decide which class is more appropriate for you.

Sign up for Still Going Strong, Strength Training, if:

  • You’re new to group exercise or you haven’t exercised in awhile and need a gentle beginning OR you lead a moderately active lifestyle and are looking to add more strength training to your fitness regimen.
  • You want a class that does not include ANY floor work.
  • You might need a chair to hold onto during class to help you with your balance. (optional)
  • Your primary reason for taking an exercise class is to improve bone density, muscle strength, fat burning and balance. (These are primary benefits of the Still Going Strong Class, but there are others as mentioned above.)

Sign up For Fit and Fun After 50, Low Impact Aerobics, if:

  • You used to exercise in the past but you feel out of shape now OR you lead a moderately active lifestyle and are wanting to add more aerobic training to your fitness regimen.
  • You enjoy dancing to music and welcome the moderate challenge of doing movements that involve coordinating your arms and legs.You are open to doing mat work and are able to get down onto and up from the floor.
  • You can walk without having to hold onto something.
  • You are able to walk consistently for 15 minutes without intense breathing difficulties.
  • Your most desired results from exercise are improved endurance and fat burning, a stronger heart and optimized lung function. (These are primary benefits of Fit & Fun, but there are others as mentioned above.)

Sign up For the 40 minutes Chair Exercise Class, if:

  • You are not able to stand for prolonged periods of time.
  • You are new to group exercise.
  • You are rehabilitating from an injury or recent surgery and have been given medical clearance to attend a moderate exercise class.
  • You feel fatigued quickly due to low endurance.
  • You feel unstable and are afraid of falling.
  • You only have time for a 40-minute class and want to burn some calories, improve your range of motion and muscle tone, help lower high blood pressure, relieve stress and joint pain and have fun!

All of my classes are mixed level classes. The exercises are adaptable to your individual fitness level. Although the classes mentioned above include cardio, strength, balance and stretch work, the timing of each fitness component varies according to the class type. None of my classes are ideal for very frail elders. I recommend personal training or physical therapy for those who require a lot of one-one-one attention.

If you’re still not sure which class is right for you, then you’re welcome to try out all of my classes so you can discover for yourself what works the best for you. I even have a few participants who take more than one type of class for the variety and multiple benefits. It’s up to you!

It all depends on what your fitness goals are and what type of exercise you most enjoy that you’ll feel encouraged to continue doing.

All of the 50+ group classes that I teach for the Goldenaires are whole-body conditioning classes designed to boost your metabolism and mood while improving flexibility, bone and muscle strength, coordination, joint mobility, endurance, mental capability, balance, and vitality. However, there are some distinct differences between my class types. The following guidelines may help you decide which class is more appropriate for you.

Sign up For Fit and Fun After 50, Low Impact Aerobics, if:

  • You used to exercise in the past but you feel out of shape now OR you lead a moderately active lifestyle and are wanting to add more aerobic training to your fitness regimen.
  • You enjoy dancing to music and welcome the moderate challenge of doing movements that involve coordinating your arms and legs.
  • You want a class that does not include ANY floor work.
  • You can walk without having to hold onto something. (*See note below)
  • You are able to walk consistently for 15 minutes without intense breathing difficulties.
  • Your most desired results from exercise are improved endurance and fat burning, a stronger heart and optimized lung function. (These are primary benefits of Fit & Fun, but there are others as mentioned above.)

*Note: This class is 1 hour and 15 minutes long. If you prefer a shorter class that includes the use of a chair you may attend just the strength/stretch portion of this class, which only last 30 minutes.

Sign up for Still Going Strong, Strength & Stretch, if:

  • You’re new to group exercise or you haven’t exercised in awhile and need a gentle beginning OR you lead a moderately active lifestyle and are looking to add more strength training and stretching to your fitness regimen.
  • You are open to doing mat work and are able to get down onto and up from the floor.
  • You might need a chair to hold onto during class to help you with your balance. (optional)
  • Your primary reason for taking an exercise class is to improve bone density, muscle strength, flexibility and balance. (These are primary benefits of the Still Going Strong Class, but there are others as mentioned above.)

Sign up For the 40 minutes Chair Exercise Class, if:

  • You are not able to stand for prolonged periods of time.
  • You are new to group exercise.
  • You are rehabilitating from an injury or recent surgery and have been given medical clearance to attend a moderate exercise class.
  • You feel fatigued quickly due to low endurance.
  • You feel unstable and are afraid of falling.
  • You only have time for a 30-minute class and want to burn some calories, improve your range of motion and muscle tone, help lower high blood pressure, relieve stress and joint pain and have fun!

All of my classes are mixed level classes. The exercises are adaptable to your individual fitness level. Although both of the classes mentioned above include cardio, strength, balance and stretch work, the timing of each fitness component varies according to the class type. None of my classes are ideal for very frail elders. I recommend personal training or physical therapy for those who require a lot of one-one-one attention.

If you’re still not sure which class is right for you, then you’re welcome to try out both types of classes so you can discover for yourself what works the best for you. I even have a few participants who take both classes for the variety and multiple benefits. It’s up to you!

 

“The real joy of life is in its play.” ~Walter Rauschenbusch

  • Phone: (707) 642-3603

  • Testimonials

    "Week by week I find myself looking forward to Jeanette's class. It's fun and has made a huge difference in my physical stamina and health in a short time."


    --Susan L. Miller, age 61, Novato, CA
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