KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Stay Active and Independent for Life, or SAIL: That’s the mission of the SAIL Program at Knox County Senior Centers. 

“It is a strength and balance exercise program. So it contains all the components that a person would need to help keep them strong and flexible to work on their balance,” said Rachel Frazier, Community Health Educator with the Knox County Health Department. It is a program put on by the Knox County Health Department. Their goal is to keep seniors out of the hospital. 

“Because what we see especially once a person hits 65 [years old] is the number one reason seniors go to the hospital or the emergency room is for a fall. They may not be admitted to the hospital but they have to go probably for an injury,” said Frazier.

Regular attendee, Linda Montjoy, has fallen in love with the class. “I plan my week around these lessons, I really do. I plan my week around it. I plan on whether I’m gonna see the grandchildren that day or not, I plan doctor’s appointments. Everything! I plan around this 10 to 11 o’clock class so that I do not miss it.”

The class has given Montjoy a chance to strengthen her body.

“I thought, this is my speed. I can do this. Yeah, because… I’ve had multiple broken bones and just a lot of physical health issues and so I thought I’ve got to do something to strengthen myself and to get myself to more stamina,” said Montjoy.

SAIL expanded from just Knox County to many of the 15 surrounding East Tennessee counties. 

“One of the things that we do is called sit to stand, where you do not use your hands to help push up to get out of a chair. And at first I couldn’t do it. I had to use a hand to kind of help boost myself up out of the chair. And now I can do it without any problems,” said Montjoy.

Many of the instructors are volunteers who teach moves tailor-made for these now active seniors.