Two years ago, after teaching high school seniors for 26 years at Bob Jones High School in Madison, I retired from the classroom, and basically from life.
I told myself as I was filling out all of the retirement papers that I would be starting a new life, but in retrospect, I see that I had no idea how to do that. So I kept doing what I had been doing for the past 26 years – teaching. But I was not in the classroom; I was teaching online classes, and because I could – I was doing that from my bed. My husband would leave for work in the morning, and I would be in the bed. He would return in the evening, and I would often still be in the bed loaded up with my computer, notepads, coffee cup, bottled water, and various evidence of things I had eaten throughout the day. If I needed something from the store, I would call one of my adult children to pick it up for me while they were out and about. I felt productive because, after all, I was still teaching.
But as the months rolled by, my mental, physical, and spiritual health declined, and I became the poster child for the “bedridden.”
That is when my former college roommate and good friend, Jill Chadwick, stepped in and “tricked” me in to coming back to the world of the living. She explained that she was going to start teaching a Zumba class and that she was afraid that she would not have any students. She pleaded with me to come to her first month of classes just so she would have 1 student she could count on. Because Jill convinced me that I would be doing her a favor – I went to her class. As I looked around that first night, I realized that most of the people there were about my age and ability level. As the class progressed, I noted that no one was looking at or judging me – we were all focused on the teacher as she made us laugh with her delightful sense of humor and feel confident with her sincere praise. By the time I left class that night, I was already looking forward to the next class. Basically, I was hooked.
After going to Zumba classes for a month, Jill causally mentioned that there was a Yoga class that met at the same location and that I might enjoy that as well. She was right. Again, our teacher was kind and very aware that we were “of a certain age.” She took the time to work with us individually and always offered levels of options that would work for our bodies.
Over the past year, I have come to know and love the people in both my classes. I look forward to Tuesday and Thursday mornings because I know that I will see my friends, invigorate and strengthen my body, and enrich my mind and soul – all while having fun! I am still teaching my online classes, but I do that in the afternoons at the kitchen table, and I am stronger, healthier, and happier than I have been in years.
I credit Jill with “saving my life,” and I am happy to tell anyone who will listen to me rave about the benefits of being a part of the Steady for Life program.
We have been participating in Steady for Life since its origination. We have received great guidance by our instructors who are trained, experienced and are fun-makers! Our social life is enhanced by interacting with the friends we’ve made in our classes. Besides our Balance Classes, we enjoy all the other activities available through Steady for Life, also. With 9 locations, there is a class for almost everyone. We are 86 and 87 years old and know that Steady for Life is helping keep us independent, able to drive, shop, attend church, classes and anything else we want to do. We recommend that you get involved, too!
— Paul & Elizabeth
Earlier this year, our student, Roz Fellwock set a 5K state record for age 88, at the fundraiser race put on by The Care Center of New Hope (We Run because We Care). In October she walked the CASA of Madison County 5K just 2 days before her 89th birthday and then after her birthday, walked the Kids to Love 5K and set the age 89 state record with even a better time than her age 88 record time.
In post-race conversation with a group of admirers at the latter race about her training regimen, she credited her twice-a-week Steady for Life classes with her success. Her Steady for Life instructor, Amy Farnsworth had this to say, “Roz is an inspiration to us all. She works so hard and makes us all happy to be around her constant cheerfulness. We love her and are very proud of her!”
At the age of 84, I hear many comments from friends who have taken part in various programs, both exercise and Physical Therapy. Some tell me their programs are identical (routine) day in and day out; however, Steady for Life continues to mix it up by providing different, up-to-date and challenging programs! I give the entire Steady for Life staff much credit. You have done good!
I have no intention of ever giving up your program for Seniors!
I joined Steady for Life in the Fall of 2014, starting in an Advanced Balance Class. In a few months, in recognition that several members of the class were ready for more vigorous activity, a next-level class was formed called Rev It Up. But no matter the level of class one takes, balance techniques, flexibility, and fallprevention skills are core objectives of all Steady for Life classes.
I can attest to the benefits of the program as measured by my running and trail climbing performances. It was about the time I enrolled in 2014 that I decided to attempt the Liz Hurley 5K Ribbon Run, and to my surprise I set a new 5K state record for age 81. Inspired by that, I continued racing throughout the year (improving on my first record), and in the Ribbon Run at age 82, my time was 4 minutes faster than the previous year (again a state record). Additional evidence of the fitness benefits was that I shaved 2 to 4 minutes off my up-trail time and 4 to 6 minutes off my down-trail time on a favorite mountain path in Colorado, after less than a year in Steady for Life. I attribute these improvements to the Steady for Life workouts from 2 to 4 times per week during that intervening year.
Beyond the body strengthening benefits, there is another important and enjoyable dimension to the Steady for Life program - the social aspect. We enjoy traveling together as a Steady for Life group, dining, attending events locally and out of town, health seminars, screening & much more. We look forward to seeing each other in class week after week, encouraging each other, sharing experiences, and laughing together as we attempt moves and motions that are new to us. We have a variety of super instructors, all of whom are trained professionals with wide ranging experience, certifications, and training in physical fitness. We are learning from them the actual names of muscle groups being worked, so what we knew as arms and legs, for example, we now know as biceps and triceps, hamstrings and quads, etc. So not only our bodies, but also our minds are being exercised, and we love it!
I am just amazed every day of all the things that our instructor, Karla brings to our class! She laughs a lot with us and keeps us moving, with some new methods regularly. We are so lucky to have her for our instructor.
— Mildred, Mt. Zion class