Miri Ely, right, and Skip Hayes partner together for the senior workout class.
Photo by Neil Benjamin Jr..
Camillus The room is filled with energy and enthusiasm, much like you’d find at any local gym. Participants file in a few at a time until there are about 25 people ready to get sweaty.
But this isn’t Planet Fitness, rather a workout class for seniors taught by Miri Ely, a certified personal trainer, at the Camillus Senior Center. Ely also teaches one at the Jordan-Elbridge Community Center.
“We’re in for a treat,” Ely says to the room.
There’s laughter and a few comments from the crowd of retired members of the community.
“She’s great,” said participant Gladys Handzel. “She makes the class so much fun.”
That’s the goal for Ely, who is helping seniors stay fit for whatever reasons they choose to come to her class. On Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, Ely spends an hour at the Camillus Senior Center, and does the same on Tuesdays and Thursdays in Jordan. All of the fitness hounds are retired, and each has his or her own reason for being in the class.
Take Joan Smith for example: She’s a retired social studies teacher who informed young minds at East Syracuse Minoa for many years. Her reasoning was one of evenness.
“I’m here to keep my balance,” she said. “You start to lose your balance as you get older.”
When asked how she feels after a good workout, she gave a laugh and responded: “Today will be fine, but tomorrow – tomorrow will be bad.”
Her partner for much of the workout was Judy Johnson, a retired secretary. Prior to the class, the pair were joking around and getting ready for what’s to come.
Johnson said a lot of her inspiration came from her 90-year-old father.
“Part of his success to this point in life has been because he keeps moving,” she said. “He walks everyday, and I think that’s the secret – keep moving.”