Aging Well: Instructors set example of lifelong fitness

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Instructors needed

Aging Well, a program of the Northwest Colorado Visiting Nurse Association, is looking for active individuals interested in helping older adults experience the benefits of safe evidence-based fitness and wellness programs. A variety of opportunities are available in Steamboat Springs, Hayden, Oak Creek, Yampa and Craig.

For more information or to apply, email Jeanne Upbin, Aging Well fitness coordinator, at jupbin@nwcovna.org.

Editor’s note: This is part of a series of profiles about Aging Well fitness and wellness class instructors in Routt and Moffat counties. This feature appears once per month on the Aging Well page.

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Courtesy photo

Carol Baily teaches N’Balance, Be Well Colorado and Physical Conditioning for Older Adults in Routt County.

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Courtesy photo

Jan Rogers teaches the Arthritis Foundation Exercise Program for Aging Well in Moffat County.

Carol Baily

Class: N’Balance, Be Well Colorado, Physical Conditioning for Older Adults

Where: Routt County

Carol Baily knows what it’s like to adjust fitness expectations to physical limitations.

Her joints accommodated the rigorous demands of professional tennis for more than 40 years — but not without protest. Baily has had “one and one-half” knees replaced and is preparing to have shoulder surgery.

She still teaches tennis but has had to find other ways to maintain her fit lifestyle without strain or pain.

“Yes, you have to modify your life, but you can still stay active and healthy,” Baily said.

Off the tennis court, Baily often can be found leading N’Balance at Colorado Mountain College in Steamboat Springs. The Aging Well class is an outlet for older adults working to maintain and improve an ability that becomes more and more fleeting with age.

A core group of 12 to 14 participants return to the class each semester. As skiers and travelers, many of the participants are fit and they want to keep it that way.

Consistent balance practice has made them stronger and more confident.

“It’s really neat to see their improvements, little by little,” Baily said. “They get better and enjoy life more.”

Baily’s N’Balance group has kept her on her toes, too. Since taking the N’Balance training four years ago, Baily has worked to keep the class challenging and interesting.

Although Baily can’t indulge her love for tennis as much as she might like, being an Aging Well fitness instructor has allowed her to apply her love for people in new and rewarding settings.

In May, Baily will begin leading two new Aging Well classes at CMC, including Physical Conditioning for Older Adults, a class focused on safe strength-training techniques.

Baily also will co-teach Be Well Colorado, a health-management workshop for individuals coping with persistent health issues and associated symptoms, such as fatigue and depression.

“I love being around people and working with people,” she said. “This has just been awesome.”

For more information about Adv­anced N’Balance and new spring Aging Well classes at CMC, call 970-871-7676 or visit www.nwcovna.org.

Jan Rogers

Classes: Arthritis Foundation Exercise Program

Where: Moffat County

Jan Rogers is no stranger to teaching. She has led classrooms full of children in preschool, college students and students with hearing impairments.

Even in a so-called “retirement,” Rogers dedicates long hours to developmental math instruction and teaching assessments at Colorado Northwestern Community College in Craig.

The prospect of teaching a fitness class, however, was a different story.

“It’s funny. The idea of teaching exercise classes, even though I attended them, was scary to me,” she said.

Initially, Rogers didn’t jump at the chance to lead Aging Well’s Arthritis Foundation Exercise Program, though she recognized the value of gentle exercise designed to improve older adults’ arthritis pain and mobility.

A bout with colon cancer nearly four years ago made Rogers particularly acute to the importance of exercise in maintaining good health.

“I thought maybe this will help me,” she said.

Rogers decided to participate in an Arthritis Foundation Exercise class at Sunset Meadows in Craig. It wasn’t long before she was hooked, not only by how the class helped her arthritis, but also by its social aspect.

In 2007, Rogers attended a two-day instructor training and took over leading the Sunset Meadows class.

“The thing that did it was being able to attend the classes, so I got to know all the people, and I was comfortable,” she said. “We got to be friends, and then it wasn’t so scary.”

Four years later, seven of the original 14 students still attend Rogers’ class. Their ages range from 68 to well over 90.

Some come with canes and scooters. One participant is hearing impaired, and another attended the class until, at age 98, she could no longer drive herself.

They watch out for one another and are role models for one another.

“It’s just a really fun group of people,” Rogers said. “They enjoy the camaraderie, and I do, too.”

Rogers teaches Arthritis Foundation Exercise from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. Mondays at Sunset Meadows I in Craig. Drop-ins are welcome. For more information on Arthritis Foundation Exercise classes in Routt and Moffat counties, call 970-871-7676 or visit www.nwcovna.org.

Tamera Manzanares writes for the Aging Well program and can be reached at tmanzanares@nwcovna.org. Aging Well, a division of Northwest Colorado Visiting Nurse Association, is a community-based program of healthy aging for adults 50 and older. For more information, visit www.agingwelltoday.com or call 970-871-7606.

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