Upward Spirals Abound, Encouragement at the Gym

I’ve posted about teaching “Active Older Adult” fitness classes, and how much I adore the ladies who take my class. They’re very sweet, warm, and appreciative. A few weeks ago, Jane*, who walks with a cane,  started attending. She had her husband set a chair up in the back, and spent part of class sitting, the rest participating while occasionally leaning on the chair. Yesterday was her 3rd or 4th class, and she barely sat down at all. 

After class, a regular participant, Mary*, spoke with Jane and commented on her dramatic improvement. After Jane left, Mary told me she had previously encouraged her. Jane had taken another class and found it to be too intense, but Mary encouraged her to keep coming. Just standing for part of class will help her improve. Focus on one week at a time. Incremental improvements.

Mary’s words moved Jane.

And Jane told her that. Jane remembered those words and kept attending.

Watching Jane’s progress, Mary said she was proud of her.

I am as well. And I’m also particularly proud of Mary for the role she played in encouraging Jane in the first place, and sharing her subsequent feelings of pride at witnessing her growth.

Upward Spirals of Encouragement

These are some kick-ass upward spirals! LOL, not that that is the adjective I’d use while discussing it with the ladies.

An environment like that is such a wonderful thing. It’s the reason I drive past multiple gyms to teach there instead. It’s always been a warm, welcoming place.



A dear friend, who happens to be a bit older than me, recently said that as we age, the bar of what we will “settle for” gets higher. I was surprised and thought perhaps it would be the inverse. As we age, we might become more complacent and tolerant. More accepting of what’s in front of us.

Perhaps it’s both – we become more accepting of what we cannot change, but more unwilling to settle for less than we deserve, when do have the ability to get more.

As I type, I realize I see this in my seniors. They don’t let it upset them if they have to rest in class, or can’t do a move such as an overhead tricep press. But yet they speak up if they can’t hear me clearly, or the fans have inexplicably stopped oscillating.

Again, they accept what they can’t change, and work to change what they can.

Suffering in Silence

These may not seem like significant issues, but they are. From my experience teaching group fitness for 19 years, I can tell you many people get frustrated if they can’t do exactly what the instructor does — even when modifications and options are presented. They will also not ask you to turn on the fans, or turn up the mic, but will just be irritated in silence that they’re hot and can’t hear. Now that I know this, I consistently state in every class that they should tell me if they can’t hear me. But my seniors don’t need these reminders.

I’m glad these women are in my life. I’m going to continue to emulate their attitude. 🙂



*Names changed to protect privacy.

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