Adapted from a story by Susan Wilmot.
Come meet Linda Bull and her regular group of spirited exercise enthusiasts.
Cedaredge hosts a tri-weekly workout session free of charge for anyone rambunctious enough to hang with this group. There have been as many as 50 people who have shown up for class. The group attracts both men and women working together and encouraging one another. The ages of participants span many decades from 20 to 80 years or more.
Physical Therapist Linda Bull, employed by Delta County Memorial Hospital, started the classes six years ago when she was recruited by a friend to lead an exercise group at the Cedaredge Community Center. A few changes have occurred in location over time as the group continued to grow. At one point the class was held outdoors in the Cedaredge City Park, until the winter chill blew the group indoors.
The class gathers Monday, Wednesday and Friday, 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. at the Stolte Shed for a full hour of movement therapy. In addition, an evening class started January 10 on Tuesday and Thursday, 6:30 to 7:00 p.m. This group accommodates those who are unable to attend during daytime hours and those who choose to take part five days a week. The evening class will continue until spring.
As a therapist, Linda works with patients whose medical history is known to her. Now she has the responsibility of looking after entire groups spanning vastly differing fitness levels. She is a natural born leader and a strong fitness instructor.
Each class begins with participants sitting on chairs, with attention to posture, breathing, stretching, and strengthening exercises using Therabands as resistance. Linda runs through a whole gambit of exercises that strengthen each large muscle group in legs and arms. Abdominal work brings on groaning.
Everyone tries to keep it down because if groans are too loud, Linda adds another set. Balancing exercises are next . . . standing on one foot, moving it forward and back and then shifting weight to the other foot.
The fun revs up with the last 20 minutes of aerobic exercise consisting of marching, dancing and specific foot movements to engage an accelerated heart rate and coordination. Everyone checks his or her pulse between songs to determine how hard hearts are working.
Sharon Johnson and Dorothy Mergelman serve in the crucial role of DJ. The music blasting from a boom box is a catalyst for robust participation. They choose the tunes, including many old-time rock-and-roll songs, bringing everyone back to the years of youthful liveliness while Linda leads the group with vigorous enthusiasm.
This is a serious (and seriously fun) workout, not for the faint of heart! Everyone is reminded to check in with his or her own bodies, pushing each to a healthy level of movement without overdoing it. Participants areencouraged to workout at their own level. Beginners and those with less ability are welcome and encouraged by others in the group.
The class is free of charge, though participants are encouraged to become members of the Surface Creek Historical Society and a donation jar is there to help cover utilities. On occasion the group voluntarily stays after class to give the Stolte Shed a once over clean up. Participants volunteer their services as needed. Everyone benefits from this cooperation.
Bodies need exercise and are designed to move. This is true through every stage of living but as the years tick on it becomes imperative to engage in regular exercise. When bodies are engaged in stretching, strength building, balance and aerobic exercise we are much less prone to falls and injuries. Our energy levels improve and we're better able to participate in an active life.
Exercise encourages lymph flow for healthy immune systems; meanwhile movement pumps synovial fluid, flushing joints while nourishing connective tissues allowing for less pain as we move throughout our busy days.
Regular exercise lowers blood pressure and blood sugars, decreasing the need for medication.
Of course the benefit of socialization can't be over stated. There's nothing like the dynamics of a supportive group to enliven spirits and give the impetus to exercise stronger and longer than if left to ourselves.
This class could be called, "the laugh a lots!" Laughing is fundamental to health and lifting our spirits. Linda, along with several other quipsters in the group, keeps the laughs and smiles rolling.
Here's to Linda Bull for showing up three times a week for six years and now five times a week, consistently helping our community stay strong, healthy and injury free.
Thanks to Delta County Memorial Hospital for sponsoring this class and donating the Therabands, and the Surface Creek Historical Society for donating the use of the Stolte Shed for this community class which is encouraging many to "use it, not lose it!"blog comments powered by Disqus