YMCA Instructor Makes Fitness Fun
Exercise is very important for everyone. But for some, it's very difficult to find the motivation to put in the work. That's not a problem for older adults at Erie's Glenwood YMCA. They are flocking to a certain fitness class to train with a charismatic instructor.
It's a fitness class for active older adults led by Curtis Jones III. What makes it special is Curtis himself. He has the personality and talent to connect with people of all ages. Senior citizens love him and keep coming back.
"Honestly, the best thing about working with a lot of my active older adults is I feel I don't treat them like they're active older adults. They tell me that all the time,” says Curtis. (They say) ‘We love how you are able to joke with us. We're not just your class participants, we're your friends. We get to know you."
The popularity of Curtis' classes is growing. Some of them had to be moved from a small workout room to a large gym because those classes grew from an average of about 20 participants to around 60. Nancy Jo Foor is amazed. She is Glenwood Y’s Healthy Living Director.
"It's awesome. It's awesome,” she said. “To know that we are helping, we are serving this many people on a daily, weekly basis. It's awesome."
"Word of mouth has come, adds Curtis. “We've been just expanding, getting more chairs. Pushing me back. They even got me a stage. They even got me a stage so everyone can see me."
Curtis conducts a 45 minute class. Time goes by quickly. Everyone has fun thanks to his friendly encouragement. Smiles can be seen even though it's constant movement. Sometimes there's even laughs. Curtis has been known to dress in costume for certain classes, usually around holidays. He once dressed as the Energizer Bunny. It's all natural for the instructor. He's a regular cast member at Erie Playhouse productions.
"You have to be a big presence and a personality. I think because of what I do at the Playhouse and being a performer, I'm able to meld those two things together."
Cindi Rozanski is a participant in the class. "He keeps it moving. He keeps it fun,” she said.
Today’s 11 a.m. class had close to 50 participants. On this particular day, the workout ended with Curtis serenading his class.
Not surprisingly, it was a love song.