The stand-up comic and fitness instructor is the creator of Jokesercise, a comedy and exercise routine that combines laughs with bouts of stretching for seniors. The theory, he notes, is that if you are having fun and laughing, you won’t even realize you are working out at the same time.
Newman, who has been a comedian for over 15 years, visits nursing homes, senior centers and assisted living homes all around the five boroughs, encouraging seniors to get active with his unique routine.
The idea all started after Newman visited his elderly mother in a nursing home one day. He realized that the seniors there needed some entertainment. So one day he decided to do a routine.
“There was no kind of human interaction,” he said. “I thought it would cheer them up because they are often disregarded,” he said.
The seniors immediately took a liking to it.
“I teach them that blood is the healing force of the body,” he said. “It has been proven that laughter helps and if you move around everyday you live longer than when you stay sedentary, even if it's just stretching.”
Newman has over 10 years of fitness experience. The Queens Village native is a certified personal trainer. He fell into comedy at the age of 25 after growing up around entertainers in his family.
- his mother was a dancer and a pianist and one of his uncles was a magician.
For years, he took his show on the road and across the country, headlining in various cities with a comedy partner. His stage name: High-Powered Howard. After he and his comedy partner parted five years ago, his mother became ill around the same time and almost in a twist of faith, while looking for a new market to do routines, he found his place among the elderly audience.
“It's a thrill to me, I shake everyone's hand after the show. That's the most important part of the show for me,” he said.
Newman vistis over 150 centers in the five boroughs, including VNS CHOICE Adult Day Center in Woodside, the Bayside Senior Center, the Ozone Park Senior Center and the Midwood Senior Center in Queens. But Newman isn't stopping there.
He plans to expand his routine by taking it to television. His goal is to create a morning show called, “Start Your Day Laughing with Jokesercise.” He hopes to sell it to networks after he creates a demo in April. This way, everyone can get in on the action.
“I feel I'm blessed that I could do something to help other people and at least try to make their experience more pleasant,” he said.
Visit his site at jokesercise.com