Spring Valley senior fitness instructor says exercising gives way to a long life

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When Spring Valley resident Carol Phillips shows to teach her Senior Fitness classes, people know what to expect. A former teacher and vice principal, she knows how to take command of a room as soon as she walks in. Phillips leads all the group of exercise students age 50 and over into light aerobics.

By the time they are all lightly huffing and puffing, she tells everyone to get out their weights.

But she tells them to drink some water first. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate.

When Spring Valley resident Carol Phillips shows to teach her Senior Fitness classes, people know what to expect. A former teacher and vice principal, she knows how to take command of a room as soon as she walks in. Phillips leads all the group of exercise students age 50 and over into light aerobics.

By the time they are all lightly huffing and puffing, she tells everyone to get out their weights.

But she tells them to drink some water first. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate.

Phillips picks up her own weights. “How many people are happy with their pectorals? No, I didn’t think so,” she says good-naturedly. “Let’s work them.

“Remember to breathe through the nose. It oxygenates the blood.”

After exercises to build the pectoral muscles, she moves on to work on the arms and legs. She even has workout routines for the hands and fingers.

“You need your fingers and hands for everyday activities. When your hands are all cramped up and your legs and arms are weak, you can’t live independently. And you guys won’t stand for that, right?”

Everyone lifts and heaves and groans a little, agreeing with Phillips.

For Phillips, exercising is a way of life. “I do it so I can be healthy, strong, live independently and be self-sufficient,” she said.

But it wasn’t always that way for her. She used to have high cholesterol, even in her late thirties.

“I started exercising–running, cardio aerobics, and strength training–with a vengeance. Then in my late fifties a tight hamstring brought me to yoga,” she said.

In 2006, Phillips started her own business called “Just Keep Movin.” Two years later, she added yoga teacher certification and she was hired by 24 Hour Fitness in 2009 to teach yoga. A year later, 24 Hour Fitness asked her to teach SilverSneakersⓇand provided her the training and classes to teach.

“I have been teaching several classes for 24 Hour Fitness ever since,” she said.

And she shows no signs of stopping soon. On a typical exercise-teaching day, Phillips goes to two to three classes a day, usually two in the morning and one in the evening.

She loves all her classes and the participants.

“Zumba aficionados always have the most fun and the biggest ear-to-ear smiles during and after class,” said Phillips.

Friday is her favorite exercise teaching day because she begins with her yoga class at Miramar 24 Hour Fitness—the very first yoga class she started teaching in 2009.        

They are dedicated and wonderful yogis,” she said.

From the yoga class, Phillips goes to teach SilverSneakers at Stadium 24 Hour Fitness.

“The Friday afternoon class participants are so committed. They workout vigorously and faithfully, every Friday. Two women are in their 90s.  They are an inspiration to us all.  These two classes finish off a wonderful week for me of fitness, fellowship, and smiles,” she said.

While the people workout, they often say some funny things, such as “I    haven’t felt this good in years.”

During each class, Phillips encourages and builds up her students. She reminds them that people are never too old to start exercising and to keep increasing the poundage of the weights they are working with.

“Our human body was built for moving, so move. Start out slowly, building up to every day.

“Now we sit too much and use too many devices that just require pushing buttons. My doctor told me long ago, ’keep moving and you will live to 100.’”

When Phillips is not exercising or teaching classes, she enjoys reading, napping and hanging out with her pets.

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