'No Fall Volleyball' a fun way to get seniors into fitness

GARDEN GROVE, Calif. (KABC) -- You may think of volleyball as something younger people play at the beach, but a new program called "No Fall Volleyball" helps people of all ages by mixing fitness with a little fun.

"Everything is forward bending, so this is lifting you up and bringing it into your spine, also looking up and moving up. It gives you eye hand coordination, which there's not that many things in life that demand that you do that. And that diminishes as you age," said Vanessa Giorgio, fitness professional.

At Nifty After Fifty in Garden Grove "No Fall Volleyball" is in full play. A chance for those in their 60s on up to get a great core and upper body workout.

"We actually have people who come in in walkers and wheelchairs that are able to participate," said Nifty After Fifty CEO Mike Merino.

What started with sitting in a circle playing with a balloon, evolved to a game with lines, referees, a low net and a beach ball.
Then competition got fierce.

Greta Goplen of Huntington Beach has been playing for years. When asked why she plays?

"Isn't it obvious? It is the most fun there is. It's competitive, I love being competitive," said Goplen.

Of course the physical exercise is great, but for this age group especially, socialization is important.

"Sometimes it's more important, improving folks outlook. Our members social circle tends to shrink over time as everyone's do," said Merino.

"Just the fact that it's a community. Combats depression and that steps in with loneliness," said Giorgio.

Goplen says it's improved her driving as her neck and shoulders are more mobile. She's also gotten to know more people than if she had just used exercise machines.

"Now we're good friends. We go out for lunch, we do social things," said Goplen.

During an hours play, line judges call the points and retrieve stray balls, team members rotate sides and allow others to join in.

These athletes are proof that "becoming a couch potato is no longer OK," said Giorgio.

Those interested can drop in and try a game for $5.
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