Erie County Stay Fitness Program

By Richard Derwald,
Senior Fitness/Wellness
Consultant Erie County

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For more than 20 years the Erie County Senior Services has offered all county residents a wellness/fitness/longevity program called CLUB 99. This program has received recognition as a national best practice from the National Office of The Aging and has been proclaimed as the most successful, longest lasting county sponsored senior wellness program in New York State. Although this program has successfully been presented for years at most senior centers throughout the county many still ask why this program is called CLUB99?


During this time of what many seem to feel is a period of nothing but bad news there are bright spots one being a growing NEW NORMAL which is those living to age 100 and beyond. If you have reached the age of 60 you are now a member of a demographic that is on the road to achieving a longevity marker that has never been achieved in human history prior to this current time. Today the percentage of Americans living to and surpassing age 100 is constantly increasing; we are living longer than ever. Centenarians; people who are 100 years old or more, are on the rise. In 2015, some 72,000 Americans were centenarians. That’s a whopping 43% increase from just 50,000 in 2000. New scientific data and statistics are constantly being updated. Most of these statistics indicate that you will live better, healthier and longer than previously ever believed or imagined. We’ve extended life expectancy almost a third of a century within the past 100 years which has led to the now popular saying 60 is the new 40. The United States Census Bureau is predicting that in about 40 years, the number of people 100 and older will be six times higher than it is now.


Thomas Friedan, MD, MPH, former director of the CDC tells us that “Genes may account for only a quarter to a third of human lifespan. When you choose a lifestyle that promotes longevity such as a healthy diet and lifestyle you could reap many of the same benefits as those who hit the genetic jackpot at birth.” This quote from Dr. Friedan embodies the mission of the Erie County Club 99 that especially when coupled with the STAY FIT lunch program are designed to provide you with the two most important elements of vibrant health and longevity which are a healthy diet and regular exercise.


When the Erie County Department of Senior Services first considered the implementation of a Senior Fitness imitative a study was made to determine the attitude and outlook of the senior community. When questioned about their potential health and longevity many believed these factors are predetermined by their parents. Statements such as “I will probably have bad circulation in my legs just like my mother had” were not unusual. The fact is that today we cannot compare ourselves to our parents because today we have the information and the means to live longer and healthier lives by taking advantage of the many programs offered by Erie County Services. CLUB 99 derives its name from the participant goal of living to age 99 and beyond. On June 21st 2021 99 year old Ann Constantino the Volunteer Fitness Instructor at the North Buffalo Senior Center was named Honorary President of CLUB 99. Ann has been fitness Instructor and group leader for more than 15 years and her exercise class is one of the largest in the City of Buffalo. This fact speaks for itself. The means to attaining a longer, better, healthier life could be at your fingertips. For more information call 716-858-8526