For the first time, America has more people older than 40 rather than younger. People over 80 also are the nation’s fastest growing age group.

Jeff Rubin, newly named chief executive of Body Recall, cited those facts as he talked about the growing importance of the exercise program for seniors founded 30 years ago in Berea by Dorothy Chrisman.

“Lots of people are talking today about the role of fitness in keeping seniors active and healthy,” Rubin said, “but Body Recall has been teaching seniors to stay fit for 30 years.”

The organization’s pioneering role is what prompted Rubin to leave Denver and come to Kentucky to head the program now practiced in 35 states, he said.

“You all can take pride in being pioneers,” Rubin told a Body Recall class Friday at the organization’s headquarters south of Berea, just a stone’s throw from the Wilderness Road blazed by Daniel Boone.

“Body Recall is one of the best kept secrets in the country,” he said, “even with practioners in so many states.”

Rubin has 15 years of experience in providing and publicizing services for seniors.

Before coming to Berea, he was Colorado’s first director of BenefitsCheckUp, a program which enables seniors to search online for federal, state and local programs geared to their needs.

During three years of Rubin’s leadership, BenefitsCheckUp helped 35,000 Coloradoans gain access to benefits.

Prior to that, he was a local director for Seniors Inc., which recruited and placed seniors in volunteer programs.

“One way to reduce health care costs for seniors is to foster good health by promoting fitness as Body Recall does,” Rubin said. “It is truly in the right place at the right time.”

The program also provides fulfilling opportunities for seniors to teach Body Recall techniques to others. If seniors are fit and healthy, they can be of service to others.

Body Recall always is searching for instructors as well as students, Rubin said.

In addition to maintaining age-appropriate fitness and flexibility, Body Recall teaches seniors how to avoid falls, limit the impact of a fall and get up without assistance, he said.

Carolyn Brown, 71, of Rockcastle County, who attended a Friday class at Body Recall’s headquarters located in a park-like setting on Mt. Vernon Road, said she is living proof of the program’s effectiveness.

“I suffered nerve damage in an auto accident several years ago and had to have several surgeries,” she said. “I spent the entire summer of 2001 in bed.”

After undergoing rehabilitation, she looked for exercise programs to help her stay active.

“The only thing I could find was aerobic programs that definitely were not for me,” she said, “but then a friend told me about Body Recall.”

She walks with the assistance of two canes, but through Body Recall she learned how to safely sit down and get up from a chair.

“Body Recall helps me keep going,” she said. “I always feel better after a Body Recall class.”

She drives nearly 25 miles each way three days a week from her home near the Pulaski County line to attend classes.

“If everybody knew what Body Recall has done for me, there’d be a traffic jam caused by all the people trying to get in here,” Brown said.

More information about Body Recall can be obtained from the organization’s Web site: Bodyrecall.org or by calling 986-2181.

Bill Robinson can be reached at brobinson@richmondregister.com or at 624-6622.

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