Audrey Herley’s Time at the YMCA Helps Her Make a Splash

Audrey Herley uses her senior membership at the West Chester Area YMCA in West Chester, PA to participate in a group exercise class for seniors.

Audrey Herley walks into the middle of the room, weaving in and out of the chairs set up for her Senior Yoga class, and she’s holding court.

She chats up a handful of her fellow seniors in the class and gets ready for the class to start, smiling from ear-to-ear the entire time. There’s a lot for the 77-year-old to be smiling about, and yet, she’s not even in her best element at the Y.

Nine years ago, she left another gym to come to the Y, and once she started, there was no turning back. It doesn’t take long for her to mention her fondness for pool workouts, either. After developing a vertigo issue through a hardening of arteries through the back, Herley found a love for the low-impact pool workouts.

“It’s one of the best things that you can do, especially as you mature,” Herley said. “Your knees go and your hips start to go, but the pool is a very soothing way to get exercise that’s good for weight control and in getting the blood flowing. It’s really easy on your joints.”

35 Pounds Down

Herley can attest to those benefits better than most. She’s 35 pounds lighter than she was at her heaviest, and you’re kidding yourself if you don’t think that it’s had a significant impact on her day-to-day life and overall health.

“I feel energized, and when I went to my neurologist, they moved me from having appointments every nine months to a year now,” Herley said. “I feel better and it’s enjoyable and fun, which keeps me going back to the pool. I just moved and had to stop for about two weeks, and I could really feel the difference.”

If there’s one factor that has helped keep Herley at the Y more than any other, it’s the feeling she gets when she takes part in group exercise classes. It’s a great opportunity for seniors to come together, develop camaraderie and make new friends, and it’s one that Herley refuses to pass up.

“I love it, because the teachers do their best and they’re absolutely superb,” Herley said. “The people and the instructors develop camaraderie, and most seniors go in the early morning, and we’re able to develop friendships that last. Most people turn out to be really good friends.”

Overcoming Concerns

Herley knows that it’s not the easiest thing to get moving, especially if you haven’t done it before. She has advice for those who might be doubting themselves.

“I understand that it can be difficult, especially if you’re overweight, handicapped, or whatever the issue might be,” Herley said. “They should come to a class with me before they make a decision one way or the other. If you’re not going to use it, don’t do it, but I think once they come, they’ll realize everything that it can do for you.”

It’s tough to argue with the results.