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Brooklyn Seniors' Fitness Plan Gets A Presidential Seal Of Approval

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A group of seniors in Canarsie, Brooklyn are becoming real stars at staying fit and healthy, as they have earned some special recognition from the nation's top leader. NY1's Health reporter Kafi Drexel filed the following report.

It used to be that the President's Challenge was just a way to help measure and promote physical activity among kids. But a group of seniors at the Abe Stark Senior Center in Canarsie, Brooklyn are proof that age is just a number when it comes to taking on a fitness plan that meets White House expectations.

Mostly in their 80s and 90s, these seniors have just received the Presidential Active Lifestyle Award and continue to work up a daily sweat and eat right.

Geneva Barr, 81, says the way the program makes her feel is almost reward enough.

"It makes me feel exuberant, exuberant. Feisty, exciting, I just love it. There are no other words for it," says Barr.

Monty Garcia, at age 96, is the oldest participant.

"I noticed some of the fellows here who do not do exercise, they can't hardly walk," says Garcia. "So getting up and doing exercise, walking around means a great deal for your body, your legs especially."

The challenge includes completing at least 60 minutes of exercise a day.

Abe Stark Senior Center's assistant director, Marianna Hernandez, got the seniors involved in the program after seeing the kind of impact it was having on her sons at school.

"We saw a lot of our senior population is kind of stagnant. They don't really move, they are immobile, they are stuck in homes. They come here but they don't really move much," says Hernandez. "Since my kids had won the award, it worked so well with the kids, why not try it with the seniors? And it worked phenomenally."

"When she brought it to me, we looked at it and said it is such a great thing," says Abe Stark Senior Center Director Nathan Williams. "And seniors gravitated toward it and it seemed like an antidote for them, as an extension of life. And they got involved, and oh my god, it just took off."

Any individual or group can sign up for the President's Challenge. To find out more, visit presidentschallenge.org.

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