The City of Wichita Falls is on a mission to promote and create a healthier community.
Wichita Falls Parks and Recreation funds the 50 Plus Zone program. It's the city's major effort to promote health, wellness, and well being in Wichita Falls and the surrounding area by providing residents with healthy activities.
The 50 Plus program began in 1998 with a humble membership. Now, 12 years later, there are more than 2,200 active members at the 50 Plus Zone!
Any given day, it's likely that members could join a number of games going on at the zone; whether it's a poker game, billiard pool match, cards, or checkers.
Countless special events and activities are also scheduled weekly. Some of these events include movie screenings in their on-site movie theater, social dances, karaoke, and even live music concerts!
"People come in and are amazed to find out how large a space we've got and how many different varieties of things we have to do," Johanne Edwards, a volunteer at the 50 Plus Zone said.
Edwards told Newschannel 6 that one of the reasons she started volunteering at the zone about 9 years ago was because it kept her busy. She said it's a place to meet people and get out. "I don't have any family left," she said.
One of the main attractions at the 50 Plus Zone is the fitness center. Robert Spring, 92, is an active 50 Plus Zone member who takes full advantage of it. Spring told Newschannel 6, after undergoing heart surgery eight years ago, he decided he would begin and stick to a healthy exercise regimen.
Spring made that commitment to better health years ago and now, he works out one hour every day at the zone center, five days a week (every day the zone's open)!
However, it's not all about physical fitness at the 50 Plus Zone. It's about overall health, officials said. The Senior Programs Coordinator for the 50 Plus Zone, Kathy Geil said, "Get out of the recliners and get out and do something! Anything that they can do to get them involved socially and physically is going to lead to a healthier population."
Geil stressed the fact that many 50 Plus-ers are experiencing a transitional period in their lives and said it's vital that seniors continue to engage in social activities and get involved.
For some members, Geil said, the program is a God-send. "They come here, they make friends, they have somebody that, you know, understands their situation and just kind of fit right in and we try to introduce them to people that we think that they'd have things in common with," said Geil.
Members told Newschannel 6 the overall healthy experience is worth it. A one-year membership is only $20.
If you're interested in learning more about the 50 Plus Zone, you can visit their website: www.wichitafalltx.gov or their Facebook page: "50 Plus Zone of WF."
The zone also offers a free one-day trial of the membership. For details on membership, you can call their offices at (940) 761-8887. The facility, located on the second floor of the Wichita Falls Public Library off 10th Street and Indiana is open Monday - Friday from 8 a.m. - 8:30 p.m.