“If you miss a day, you feel it,” said Demaris Verzulli.
She was speaking of the Body Conditioning Class that she has been attending with a core group of friends for the last 16 years. She said that missing a class means you feel it in your body, when you are not pushing yourself to stretch and improve your core….but also you miss the camaraderie of your friends.
In January of 2006, a new Physical Therapy business (formerly call Gananda-Walworth Physical Therapy) – now “Village Fitness” opened in the Gananda area, on Canandaigua Road in Macedon. The PT business also included a small gym. – mostly workout equipment – core training – no pool or fancy add-ons.
Owner Craig Rigney explained that, at the time of the opening, the gym and its exercise programs were mean to provide a focus on discharge of his PT (Physical Therapy) patients.
Current fitness instructor – an original member of the Body Conditioning group – Debbie Williamson, came to stay active and healthy.
The group, originally called a “Pilates” class was meant to focus on balance and stretching. The mostly over age-60 women (and two men) in the class have pushed through a great deal to remained together. They work out every Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 8 am at Village Fitness.
So, fitness and health is why they started – support and friendship was the gift they found.
The members: Mary Easton, Debbie Williamson, Linda Fisher, Demaris Verulli, Kathy Priest, Deb Ford, Donna Farguhar, Richard Cook, Jackie and Jim Conklin, Bonnie Winterton, Annette McDowell and Denese Price have seen each other through physical pain, deaths of spouses, cancer diagnoses, addition of grandchildren, vacation and family sharing events. The bond is strong, as are they.
The strength that permeates the bodies of these older women is intimidating. Their balance is awesome even to the younger work-out clients spying on their workout. There are yoga skills, major stretching and cooling exercises, balance and core workouts.
At the beginning, Debbie Williamson and Linda Fisher joined friends in the Pilates class under the training of Elizabeth Norton, who was hired by the PT group. When Elizabeth left, Linda filled in so that the class could continue uninterrupted. After Linda, came Kathy Reitz, who was a certified trainer, then Christine Holdraker, one of the fitness managers who took over for about a year and a half. When she left to have a baby, Marcia Petty stepped in for about 6 months. Marcia’s leaving was worrying…because no one had been hired to teach the class…and the members were worried about the demise of their group.
Debbie Williamson stepped up to “temporarily” fill in…so that the class would continue uninterrupted. She is still running the class today.
“I eventually took classes and got certified,” said Deb, “but any of us will fill in, if a vacation or illness threatens to slow us down.”
Linda Fisher definitely comes three days a week to keep ahead of her Rheumatoid Arthritis. “I just need to keep moving…and I like to do that.”
Most of the group are retired or working part time.
Jim and Jackie Conklin came as a couple to tryout the class. “My wife challenged me… She bet me that I could not keep up with these women…I am still here today.”
“We keep track of each other,” said Donna Farquhar. “If someone is not here, we call to check on them.”
‘Even when there comes a morning where I do not want to wake up and come in… I come. I always feel great afterwards,” Deb Williamson admitted.
The Body Conditioning Class welcomes others to join them (and try to keep up). “If we can do it, anyone can…but you can always modify the workout.” Linda Fisher noted.
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