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YMCA helping to heal body and soul

POSTED: September 6, 2012 7:17 p.m.

Dear Editor,

I would like to publicly recognize and thank Didi Sims and Laurie Sowers, instructors in the Active, Ageless and Strong class at the Effingham YMCA. I started in their program about three months ago, shortly after my wife died. I was having constant sciatic nerve pains running down both legs. I haven’t had any sciatic nerve pains for over two weeks now!

At the same time, I started seeing Dr. Mark Schnobrich at Rincon Chiropractic twice a week, then once a week, then every other week, and now once a month. Dr. Schnobrich stated that my progress was extraordinary, considering I’ve had two back surgeries for the same condition, have scoliosis, and am 69 years old. He stated it was a direct result of my attitude and dedication to proper diet and physical fitness, which complemented his corrections, and was helping my body heal itself.

I attribute this to Didi and Laurie. I started the YMCA class not expecting very much, but very soon realized the difference it was making. Didi Sims conducts the Active, Ageless, and Strong class that addresses the three basic components of fitness for seniors: (1) cardiovascular, (2) strength, and (3) flexibility training, on Mondays and Wednesdays. She’s an outstanding certified fitness instructor and personal trainer, specializing in senior and special needs fitness. Her extensive knowledge of the body shows when she explains which muscles are affected by a particular exercise or stretch. She’s always stressing proper posture to protect the back and neck, and the correct and incorrect way to do each exercise for maximum benefit and to prevent injury. Didi pushes us to give it our all within our own capabilities, stressing either low or high impact movements. She mixes several exercises together to improve our balance, and mind and body coordination.

Laurie Sowers, the Effingham YMCA community wellness coordinator, conducts the class on Fridays. She also addresses the three basic components of fitness for seniors, but in a different way, each week changing the way it’s done. The variety is sometimes confusing, causing us to think, a vital key to mental health. Laurie’s upbeat spirit and energy is contagious.

I leave these classes sometimes exhausted, but feeling great. I find myself sitting up straighter when I drive, I’m more conscious of my posture throughout the day, and I use their methods in my other exercise programs. I’m feeling better both mentally and physically every day.

Again, thanks to the Didi and Lori.

David Skadeland


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