Brenda Tyler, like so many people, discovered a “new normal” after the pandemic.
A retired teacher, Brenda had had experience already working with seniors, people with disabilities, and people who needed help in maintaining a physical fitness regimen. But after the pandemic, she decided to create her very own program.
Thanks to Holly Howe providing space at her downtown Bold Moves Dance Studio, Brenda leads a class of 13 people on Tuesday and Thursday mornings.
“I am happy that my class not only meets their physical needs but also their social needs to a certain extent as well,” she said. “We are like a family and keep up with each other even outside of the class. Not long ago, we took a vote and named ourselves the Fit for Life group.”
As a new member of the class myself, I have been impressed with Brenda’s preparation to make the class fun and safe.
Everybody has a chair for “sit-down” exercises as well as some standing exercises. I especially like the music she uses — which is from my era where one can hear and understand the lyrics.
Flipping through her notebook, Brenda tries to make each class different and always enjoyable using weights, bands, rhythm, and exercises for balance and stamina. Brenda also discusses the importance of nutrition and hydration, especially for us seniors.
“My goal is to improve people’s lives,” Brenda said. “I was so gratified when one of my class members told me that her doctor was amazed at how well she had recovered from a broken hip because of returning to the class after a four-week convalescence. Another member told me he was surprised at how much better he felt after joining the class even though he had always tried to walk everyday.
“All in all,” Brenda said, “I am a senior myself and that makes it easier for class members to relate to me as well as to share with me their progress and concern.”
Helen Cox is a former journalist and educator in Richmond County.