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Pace Football Players Score High With Atria Briarcliff Seniors

Pace University football players Jorge Geronimo, Adam Wooten and Prince Unaegbu are shown with some of the residents at Atria Briarcliff Manor. The athletes ran an exercise program this past school year at the facility.
Pace University football players Jorge Geronimo, Adam Wooten and Prince Unaegbu are shown with some of the residents at Atria Briarcliff Manor. The athletes ran an exercise program this past school year at the facility. Photo Credit: Contributed

BRIARCLIFF MANOR, N.Y. -- Pace University athletes are teaming up with senior citizens as part of an exercise program launched at Atria Briarcliff Manor.

"We've been working with the Atria for about a year," said Joseph Hawkins, running backs coach for Pace's football team. " We typically send a group of 15 (players) who volunteer their time."

The program sprung from player Jorge Geronimo's need to fulfill a public speaking requirement last year. He visited Atria Briarcliff Manor and spoke with seniors about the importance of staying fit. He then came up with the idea to tailor a workout for the residents.

Geronimo demonstrated some low impact fitness moves, said Atria's Engage Life Director Casey Caterino.

This past school year, students Prince Unaegbu and Adam Wooten joined Geronimo with the initiative, Caterino said.

About 20 residents took the class from the trio, players Hawkins described as "workout warriors." They tailored the exercises for participants 60 and older who weren't athletes.

The routine was a " combination of both physically exhausting and fun workouts. So in essence the workout was so much fun it does not feel like physical exercise," Hawkins said.

The main focus was to keep people engaged and make sure the workouts were quick and easy," said Geronimo.

Keeping the workouts at 30 minutes per session, exercises included arm circles, neck rolls, ankle mobility and movements that focus on stability.

"We wanted to incorporate full-body stability workouts because at that age if you don’t use it, you lose it," Prince said, adding how it's important to keep blood flowing throughout the whole body, and not just focus on one area.

"They had a lot of fun," Geronimo said, adding that participants "asked for a longer workout."

Caterino said the volunteers are an asset to the senior community.

The football team has also come in regularly for other activities, including bingo, movies, trivia and special events like Valentine's Day and Superbowl Sunday, Caterino said.

"Our residents love when the students come," she said.

More information can be found on Atria's website .

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