In my late 50's, I was struggling with autoimmune issues. The immune system attacking my nerves was taking away my ability to walk for more than half a mile. I did work on my own to keep the body moving; climbing stairs, riding a bicycle, walking half a mile in the neighborhood. I also started doing yoga for mature adults at YMCA. Through this class I learned of Steady for Life exercise classes at a local church; the classes had me challenging my muscles and nerves and kept them working. Except for the COVID-19 period I have been attending Steady for Life classes regularly. In addition, a big part of keeping the immune system in check is to keep the stress at a low level. The crews that run Steady for Life are supportive and professional and keep the stress level of participants low. It has been good for my body and brain to find and be on the Steady for Life path.
I began taking yoga classes from Steady for Life back in the summer of 2013. Never in my life had I taken yoga. Never! The class was called Gentle Yoga and I decided to give it a try. We were encouraged to modify the moves to fit our bodies. Since I get motion sickness easily, I had to modify! At first, I took yoga twice a week until my part-time job expanded to most of the work week. Sadly, I had to temporarily quit my yoga class. It wasn't long before I realized how good yoga was for me. I had gradually lost the strength and flexibility that I had gained. After quitting my job, I have been back in class for over two years and love it! My joints are so much looser--no hip pain--and I have regained some strength. The Covid 19 pandemic forced Steady for Life to do things differently. Classes were (are) held over Zoom which was great, but it is wonderful to be back to in-person classes! Our classes are small and we are using safe practices. They are led by Amy and Karleen who are so patient. They get to know all their students' abilities, too. I encourage everyone to give yoga a try.
I love Monday, Wednesday, and Friday mornings. I roll out my yoga mat, gather my props, and cast my phone to my TV. Then I link into Lebee's, Chris's, or Anita's yoga class. Lebee focuses on one body part each week, and gives us a good sun salutation workout. Chris works through yoga poses for back pain, hip mobility, neck flexibility, or ankle strength. Anita challenges us with a variety of flows and poses while encouraging us with love. Her German Shepherd, Yoda, often participates in the class. These instructors give options for yogis of every level. While I miss my yoga classmates, I enjoy being able to stay safe at home yet keep fit with yoga.
I hope you will give it a try.
Each day as my cell phone alarm goes off, there is an anticipation of what is to come. I turn my thermostat down to 70 degrees, put on my workout clothes, put my hair up so it won’t stick to my sweaty neck and put on my energy shoes. Then time to turn on the ceiling fan in my dining area, gather my water bottle, and Zoom in with the magic numbers that Kim, Molly, or Paula have given me through email. The whole Zoom meeting technology within itself is miraculous!
— An excerpt from the short story “Flailing Arms & Pumping Iron” by Catherine Cantrell.
I was a caregiver for my husband for 3 years. I was so glad Rick was able to stay home to the very end of his battle with ALS, but WOW it took a toll on me. Susan (now retired from Steady for Life) also lost her husband to ALS. Susan introduced me to Steady for Life, “Cindy”, she said, “you need yoga it will help you relax and stay flexible”. Susan was a life saver as I faced life without my soul mate. I found comfort and renewed energy when I went to yoga class. This was not a room full of 20-year-olds this was a class with members some older than my 62 years and some younger and all at different levels. Chris was a wonderful instructor for me to have as I eased into learning about yoga positions and balance. As I became comfortable with yoga fellow classmates encouraged me to come to ‘Move to the Music” on Thursday’s with Jill. I struck gold with this class too! A fun cardio workout for the heart and the brain. I look forward to these classes every week and seeing the friends I have made. Then, I heard that the “Steadies” also travel together. I signed up for a day trip not knowing what to expect. My first seat mate on the motor coach has become a dear friend and I have enjoyed many trips since then. I also mark my calendar for upcoming Health Seminars that Kim hosts throughout the year. I had a free hearing test after one health seminar and found out I needed hearing aids (which I suspected). Here I am two years later, turning 65 next month, feeling physically stronger and mentally sharper than ever!
Thank You Kim and "Steady for Life" staff.
— Cindy Isaacs
In 2012, I was diagnosed with a benign brain tumor. As it was life threatening, it was removed immediately. It impacted my left arm and hand and left me with a seizure condition. Due to the brain damage and seizure medication, my balance was drastically affected. That is why I was attracted to the Steady for Life exercise and balance class taught in my area by Debra Wade. Debra works all parts of the body and focuses on balance. I have continued this class for two years which is the longest I have ever stayed with any exercise program. During my last visits with my neurologist and general practitioner, I was tested for my balance and walk. Both doctors were very pleased with my improvement and told me to keep it up. I’ll never had the balance I had before, but I definitely plan on continuing with this class.
— Pam C., Hampton Cove
Three years ago, after my wife had been going to SFL exercise classes she strongly encouraged me to give it a try.
Cajoled into going, I found myself sitting on top of a ball with about 12 other class members. In my mid-70’s, I thought “This is going to be a breeze”. I promptly rolled off my ball and onto the carpet below. Nothing hurt but my pride. The instructor said not to worry, everyone often rolls off the first few classes before they get their balance. My wife sat in a chair for the classes, but I was determined to master the ball. The class did go well and I only fell off the ball one more time in that class. Then I learned to keep my knees spread and feet apart and it never happened again.
I later started going to the Holmes St. Methodist church class because it was just a couple of minutes from my office. I use 8 pound weights for a good workout.
Best thing for me has been the balance segments. I had a goal and then it happened. Something I was never expecting. For a long time, I have put my hand on something nearby when I’d go to step in my pants in the mornings. I thought, I can balance quite well on one foot or the other now, why am I still holding onto something? A miracle. I didn’t need to. For about the past year or so, I simply get my balance on one foot, slowly put my leg through my pants leg and then the other. I did learn not to hurry with the second foot, because if it catches on a crease in the pant leg on the way down, it pulls me off balance, and I do have to grab something near.
I am ‘Steady For Life’ these days.
— M.D. Smith
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 Move to the Music 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 Move to the Music 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. 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!
While doing my 5K training walk/jog yesterday, I was saying a silent Thank You to Steady for Life. What I’m about to tell you explains why. It will sound like bragging, and it is, but not about myself. I’m bragging on Steady for Life.
Within a month of when I joined Steady for Life, in late 2014, I did my first 5K race—the Liz Hurley Ribbon Run, with a time of 41:32. That’s a pace of 14:33 minutes per mile. Two years and many races later, in the 5K breast cancer Pink Pumpkin run in Guntersville, I achieved my personal best time of 39:06, for a pace of 12:58 minutes per mile. At ages 83, 84, and 85 I have continued to run, more often than not taking 1st place in my age division (which sometimes starts at 70 or 75), and always at least placing 2nd.
Before you get too impressed, let me remind you that up at my age level, the competition is very thin. Nonetheless, I am competing not just with participants in that particular race, but with every female in Alabama of my age year who has ever run that given distance on a certified course. That means beating the best time on record. I have done that 13 times over these last 5 years, sometimes beating my own record set earlier in a given year.
I said all of that to say this. Had I never enrolled in Steady for Life, I might never have had the courage to try that first 5K, and almost certainly would not have improved in performance over the next few years. We all know, without intervention of some kind, the natural course is for athletic performance to decline with age in the upper years, not get better.
The Steady for Life Rev It Up and other classes were my intervention, and it worked! For several reasons. Being committed to a class schedule provided the discipline I needed to not sluff off from regular exercise. The detectable improvement in strength and balance gave me the motivation I needed to keep going. The body toning and “surprise” weight loss gave me the incentive to develop and maintain healthier eating habits, which of course has its own set of benefits.
These are the reasons that I’m reminded to say silent Thank You’s to Steady for Life during my training sessions. And I haven’t even mentioned the special benefit of the friendships developed among the class members who are all there for the same reason—to improve our lives in our later years by staying as active as we can for as long as we can.
Thank you Steady for Life,
— Jean McCrady