Bert, 81 and her husband George, 84 live in Wellington, where access to exercise classes was taken away when their local fitness center shut down 7 years ago.
THRIVE! Southern Lorain County, one of the 11 Community Collaborative powered by United Way of Greater Lorain County, saw a need for these residents and started to provide weekly exercise classes at little to no cost.
Bert started to take advantage of these classes, initially just attending 1 or 2 classes a week with Deb of Lansman’s Shape Shop. Then she found herself attending classes 4-5 times a week. A favorite class of Bert’s was “Young at Heart”, a more intense workout with younger people, but Bert was keeping up with them!
She started to attend a 30 minute yoga class at Herrick Memorial Library and an hour yoga class at Inner Circle Personal Fitness, taught by Tessa.
Bert, realizing all the benefits to her own personal health, invited her husband George to yoga. George had been diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). It took some convincing, but he came around and now attends twice a week. He has found that yoga helps regulate and ease his breathing and has improved his outlook on exercise overall.
“THRIVE! has made exercising more accessible because they offer many classes at various times and days at all different locations. I feel like we’ve been able to do everything including cardio, stretching and weights. It’s great because it helps us older people to keep exercising,” said Bert.
In addition to physical fitness, the couple also enjoys a social component of attending the classes. Before some of the classes there is “Tea and Crumpets”, a time to talk and socialize with their new found friends and other attendees. This is important to Bert and George because much of their family no longer lives in the Wellington area, and this gives them personal interaction to look forward to.
Even outside of the classes, Bert and George have maintained their healthy lifestyle. They walk every day, and are able to stay active within the community. They both volunteer with the schools, where Bert was an employee for over 40 years. They read to kids, help kids catch up, and provide 1-to-1 mentoring.
Bert even joked, “If I’m in pain, I know it’s from exercising too much and not because I’m getting older.”
Of all the benefits they receive, the most joyous return for them is their own family taking notice, and being inspired by them. Bert recently received a note from her granddaughter, Emma, “Hi grandma, been thinking a lot about how awesome it is that you guys work out and do yoga together! It inspires me every time I see you. Yoga is incredible for everyone and it is very clear that it has helped grandpa to focus on his breathing and contributed to him staying active and improving his heart health. Grandma, I am so proud and inspired by your commitment and constant growth.”