Movement & Memory class combines exercise and brain games

Deborah Miller leads a class in seated exercises at Brown and Douglas Active Seniors Center.

Movement & Memory class combines exercise and brain games
March 02
10:20 2023

By Judie Holcomb-Pack

The new class at Brown and Douglas Active Adult Center should be called Movement & Memory … and Laughter. The laughter started as soon as the class began with attendees saying their names and then repeating the names of other attendees. Deborah Miller, the leader, kept the laughter going throughout the entire hour, whether encouraging attendees to do each exercise or kidding them about dropping balls during a fast-paced game. Exercises were matched to the beat of oldies music to the delight of the group.

Combining exercise and brain games, such as being in a circle and passing balls to the left or right as Miller called out directions, helps older adults improve their health, strengthen muscles, and think quickly on their feet. Another exercise was similar to the children’s game of Simon Says where Miller gave instructions such as “Put the ball on your head, put the ball on your right foot, left foot, left foot …”  confusing some to put the ball on their right foot. It was purposeful to see how well participants could pay attention and follow fast-paced instructions.

Another exercise was giving participants a letter of the alphabet and they had to say a food that started with that letter. Apple came quickly for a, banana for b, but as they went through the alphabet the responses slowed down. Wine for W got a “Great answer!” and more laughs from the participants.

“We think about exercise for our body but it’s just as important to exercise our brain,” said Serena Mumford, senior center director. 

“We had been doing some things at the center to help stimulate the brain like board games and puzzles. I had seen what Deborah was doing with sittersize and talked to her about combining the two.” 

Miller liked the idea and they came up with the name of Movement & Memory.

Miller retired from Sears in 2016, but wanted to stay active. She dances with the line-dancing group Triple Threat, volunteers with the Salvation Army, and leads exercise classes. This is a new class for her to teach and she is enjoying working with the seniors to improve their physical fitness. When asked why she volunteers, she said, “I’m a senior and I wanted to give back to the community.”

Movement & Memory classes are held the first and third Thursdays at Brown and Douglas Active Adult Center, 4725 Indiana Ave. For more information, call 336-661-4998 or email

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