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AARP Arizona Offers Online Fitness and Cooking Classes

SheriAnne Little hosts her Back to Basics wellness series from her home in Scottsdale.
Photo by Cassidy Araiza

Working from home during the coronavirus pandemic, Brenda Holt used to go into her office and stay for hours. “My husband would come out and say, ‘You’ve been in there all day,’ ” said Holt, community outreach director for AARP Arizona. 

But now, after watching fitness and nutrition expert SheriAnne Little’s online class about staying healthy while working from home, Holt takes short breaks every hour. “She made me come out of the office.” Holt also credits Little’s AARP-sponsored Back to Basics Nutrition and Wellness series with helping her sleep, eat and manage stress better, even as the pandemic has worn on.  

“I always learn something new,” Holt said of the biweekly half-hour programs. 

May and June are AARP’s Get Healthy and Stay Healthy months. To support the effort, AARP Arizona typically sponsors events including cardio classes, runs and bike rides, but it will not this year because of concerns over COVID-19. 

“We look forward to welcoming our members back to in-person events when the time is right and safe to do so,” said Dana Kennedy, AARP state director. “We’re going to come out of this, and I want everyone to be ready.”  

Ramping up fitness

The Back to Basics series is one of several online programs that AARP Arizona is sponsoring to help people make it through the pandemic in good shape.  

Kennedy, who cohosts with Little, said the goal is to empower viewers to “find inspiration on how to live their best life.” The series is scheduled to run until at least the end of the year. 

Little, of Scottsdale, owns a fitness consulting business, Next Level Endurance. The Back to Basics program rests on three pillars of health: “One, your sleep. Two, how you move your body. And three, your nutrition and hydration.” 

Recent sessions have covered topics such as sleep hygiene, immunity, brain health, healthy home work spaces and suggestions for how to live to be 100.

Many programs are focused on nutrition and on how eating a balanced diet can boost the immune system and reduce inflammation. 

Little shares healthy recipes such as overnight oats for breakfast, protein power bowls for lunch and cilantro-chili-lime shrimp served over zucchini noodles for dinner. 

Episodes on May 11 and 25 will feature more lunch and dinner ideas.

Todd Silva, 49, a construction consultant who recently moved from Peoria, Arizona, to Sandia Park, New Mexico, said he’s benefited tremendously from Little’s classes and watched every episode of the series. “She’s so personal and knowledgeable. She provides a huge amount of detailed information.”

Silva said he’s been following Little’s recommendations on breathing, having a daily exercise routine and eating healthy fats. “Her salad dressing recipe is great.” 

Little’s Back to Basics Nutrition and Wellness series is live-streamed from 10 to 10:30 a.m. every other Tuesday on Facebook, at, and YouTube, at

No registration is required. Previously aired shows are archived on both pages and can be viewed anytime. 

For a complete list of AARP Arizona events, visit

Miriam Davidson is a writer living in Tucson.

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