AVON LAKE, Ohio — Active for Life founder Melissa Renner has a passion for keeping senior citizens on the move, even if it’s while they’re sitting down. Her weekly seated tap classes do more than work the bodies of the senior citizens at Independence Village at Avon Lake.

What You Need To Know

  • It’s always been important for senior citizens to stay active and engaged, but even more now after a year of isolation brought on by the coronavirus pandemic

  • One northeast Ohio woman is working to keep seniors moving with a fitness program called “Active for Life"

  • Active for Life founder Melissa Renner has created tap shoe covers to help senior citizens tap dance from their seats

“They are getting a cardiovascular workout,” said Renner. “It is so good for their feet and their ankles and their proprioceptors.” 

It also works seniors' brains.

“If you think about it, you're simultaneously working brain and body,” Renner said. “Those neurons are just firing, right? So, it's incredible from brain health and body health. I could just go on and on.” 

The participating seniors go stepping and shuffling to the music of their youth, while wearing special tap shoe covers — an invention Renner came up with just for them. 

“I knew that it just was not feasible to expect the individuals that I work with to put on an uncomfortable tap shoe," she said. 

Renner, who is a professionally trained dancer, has been able to bring Active for Life seated dance classes to senior citizens in more than 40 independent, assisted living and memory care facilities across northeast Ohio. She said movement and interaction are vital for  seniors, especially after a year of heightened isolation caused by the coronavirus pandemic. 

“For a population that was hit so hard during the pandemic, it's just really touching to see them back together and doing an activity that brings them so much joy,” Renner said. 

Seniors said after going without Active for Life for a year, they’ll be at every tap class moving forward, front and center. 

Residents at Independence Village said the classes are a great way to see their friends while being active, and is something they don’t want to miss.

"They bring me so much joy and it's so rewarding," one resident said.

Active for Life also provides fitness programming for those with neurodegenerative diseases and provides corporate wellness programs. ​