Keeping Colleton in shape | News | The Press and Standard

by | March 24, 2017 5:00 am

Last Updated: March 22, 2017 at 12:33 pm


Think you have to be young and coordinated to get fit? Relax — it doesn’t matter if you’re 80 years old with aches and pains. You can still get the benefits of strength training in local senior fit classes, taught by popular instructor Terry Pournelle.
The bubbly motivator has been teaching for 30 years; she leads more than a dozen classes each week at Fit4 gym, from aerobics and body sculpting to line dance and “chair fitness,” which targets anyone who might have physical limitations.
Age and level of fitness don’t matter for these students: “Everybody has limitations,” Pournelle said. “We work around them.”
Sylvia Warren, sprightly and white-haired, took her first chair fitness class with Pournelle last week. “It was neat!” the Walterboro resident said. “I walk already, and wanted to do this as well.”
“This” is an hour of exercise with stretching, resistance bands, hand weights and utility *****, which are placed between the chairs and lower backs. “We’re always conscious of the lower back,” Pournelle said. “We do slow, controlled core work.”
A strong core, or midsection, means better balance and stability, improved posture, and increased strength to perform daily tasks and movements.
Virginia Padgett has taken classes with Pournelle three times a week for six years. “I really enjoy it,” she said.
“When I see a smile on a face in the back of the class, I know we’re doing it right,” Pournelle, a senior fit specialist who’s certified by the American College of Exercise, said.
She enjoys all the classes she teaches, especially dance. “I love the choreography, and remembering the dance steps set to music keeps your mind young.” Her line dance group is still going strong after 21 years, and she’s taught dance workshops for up to 500 people in Georgia, Florida, North Carolina and New York.
Pournelle, a 40-year resident of Walterboro, started running and taking aerobics classes after her children were born, thanks to an earlier attempt at snow-skiing.
“I’d always wanted to go snow skiing, and when I went for the first time, I realized I didn’t have the physical stamina for it,” she said. “That’s when I started getting into cardio.”
She and her family became avid skiers, heading out west every year. She hasn’t been since having multiple foot surgeries, but still enjoys family cruises a couple of times each year, from Alaska to the Panama Canal.
Her husband, P.A. Pournelle III, is in the insurance industry. They have two children: Alex, 38; Amanda, 33; and two grandchildren.

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