Mixed group doing back exercises in a gym

I have been involved in senior activities and programming for nine years. Encouraging older adults to move, live their best lives, and seek joy is my passion. Beginning this month, I will be offering WERQ classes at Kool Family Community Center and Heritage Commons Senior Center through CareWell Services of Southwest Michigan. The CareWell Team will also be working to bring Walk With Ease to Calhoun County. 

Over the last several years, I’ve had the good fortune to lead some memorable fitness groups.  These two programs in particular have some fond memories associated with the participants and the preparation.  

In 2018, I had the opportunity to facilitate my first Walk With Ease class. This evidence-based class focuses on Arthritis and Fibromyalgia, teaching ways to manage pain, as well as overcome barriers. It has a wonderful sharing piece that allows participants to help each other through their own experiences.  I was genuinely excited about the class, but had no idea what to expect.  Mostly, I was just hoping people showed up! I was not disappointed, 

Though it was a modest turnout, the class was enthusiastic, dedicated, and somewhat competitive. It was a wonderful thing to witness the way they cheered each other on and planned how they would continue their walking program after the class had concluded. One gentleman had a very pronounced limp when he started Walk With Ease, which prompted concern from other participants. After the last class his walking had improved so greatly, he was like the group celebrity! We celebrated with pizza and shared enthusiasm for their walking progress. When we see each other now, it’s like greeting old friends.   

During 2020, I tried a new fitness program called WERQ, upon the advice of a friend. “You’ll love it,” she raved. She was right! There were no in person classes, so I looked videos up on YouTube and luckily found several to sweat along to. WERQ became my mood booster. I felt silly and uncoordinated at first, not knowing if I was doing the moves justice. After all, the instructors are 20- to 30-year-olds and at the time, I was fifty. 

Eventually, I felt looser and more confident, unfazed by any eye rolling or embarrassed grunts from my preteen daughter. Around that time, I was also exploring the idea of beginning a group exercise program for seniors and began asking myself what route to take.  Since I loved WERQ, it made sense to pursue a certification for myself and see where it would lead.  

After becoming WERQ certified, I held a sample class for my friends and family, then added a class at Barry County Commission on Aging. Since then, I have done three sessions with the Barry County YMCA and a few special classes on my own.  

I look forward to sharing these vibrant programs with new friends and continue to be inspired by the changes we can make together.   

About Author