Dorri Partain 
Assistant Editor 

Every Wednesday morning at the Don Bosco Senior Center, 580 Campbell Avenue in Columbus Park, the chairs fill quickly. Class participants pick up their drumsticks, ready for the music to start.

But instructor Andrea Brito is not a music teacher. Instead, her students are ready for Cardio Drum Class, one of the newest activities offered at the center. Large colorful exercise balls perched on top of round laundry baskets offer a softer surface than actual drums because the class is more about movement than keeping a beat.

According to Activity Coordinator Denise Barrett, the class began in January of this year when the center needed an activity to temporarily replace Tai Chi. Since they hadn’t acquired the balls yet, for several weeks in a trial mode, participants tapped their drumsticks on the seats of the plastic chairs in the center’s dining room. The activity proved popular enough that the staff decided to go ahead and purchase twelve balls.

“It’s our most popular class,” Barrett stated. “Unfortunately, we’re limited to the twelve balls because they take up a lot of storage space. Sometimes we’ll offer it at additional times, depending on our activity calendar openings and Andrea’s availability.”

They have the beat, and heart-healthy exercise, during the Cardio Drum Class at the Don Bosco Senior Center. The class is offered every Wednesday at 10:30 am, seating is first come, first served.

Brito has been the instructor since the first offering, having completed her training to instruct the class last fall. She teaches the same class at a community center in North Kansas City. After chatting with everyone, she begins the class with some simple stretches as a warm up, then the music begins.

For the next 30 minutes or more, Brito alternates between slower songs that focus on stretching movements, to faster tunes that increase the heart rate. While the class is seated for the duration, the idea is to get a full body workout, while having fun. Hits from the 1960’s to the 1980’s fill the air as Brito leads the class, drumsticks waving and thumping this way and that.

Don Bosco Center regular Phyllis Navarro has attended every week since the class began.

“As soon as I see Andrea arrive (for the class), I get my spot.  I really like it. It’s fun, it works the whole body. I do feel healthier since I started the class,” Navarro said.

Cardiovascular exercise, or cardio for short, can be any vigorous activity that increases heart rate and respiration. By using the body’s large muscle groups with repetition and rhythm, the benefits include heart health, mental health, and weight regulation while improving mood and sleep.

The Don Bosco Senior Center is open Monday through Friday, from 8:30 am to 5:00 pm, offering adults 60 years and older a variety of activities from exercise ( Yoga, Tai Chi, chair exercise) to Bingo and Bible Study. For more information about monthly activities, visit their web site at or call 816-691-2900.