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Walter named SilverSneakers finalist

Kaitlin Vantrease • Jul 27, 2017 at 1:08 PM

Deborah Walter, Mt. Juliet Senior Center’s fitness instructor, was named a SilverSneakers 2017 instructor of the year finalist.

Walter has instructed for 16 years. She started her career as a personal trainer and later went into teaching water exercise. She took her first SilverSneakers training in 2005 and started teaching group exercise for SilverSneakers, among other classes. She started teaching at the fitness center in Mt. Juliet 11 years ago when it opened as a new facility.

Walters stays busy and is dedicated to her work. She’s currently teaching 17 classes a week such as tai chi, yoga, chair yoga, SilverSneakers classic, SilverSneakers circuit, balance and strength and strength and cardio.

“I love teaching fitness. I love taking trainings. I love studying and helping the older population be strong, flexible and balanced,” said Walter.

SilverSneakers is a national program that focuses on older adults. It encourages them to interact with other adults and keep their health maintained and in control.

“The reason I wanted to get involved was mainly to help people live healthy long lives and be as agile, strong, flexible and balanced as possible throughout their life and to be social with other folks,” said Walter.

Walter doesn’t just teach the older crowd. She taught a mat yoga class for students as young as 16. She has also taught children’s classes.

Walter said with the older folks, there is an aging population. Baby Boomers are a large part of the population. Many are retiring and need to find something to do. According to Walter, exercise is something in which they are interested.

In the SilverSneakers program, there are contraindications for older adults. With a lot of the moves, they have to be careful not to hurt shoulders, hips and aging joints.

“A lot of the things that you might find in a 20-year-old class you would not find in this type of class,” said Walter.

They do not get down on the ground, they don’t hyperextend the joints, they don’t overstretch, and they only do what they’re comfortable doing.

“Like, for example, the knee-bend for squats. We can only squat as low as 90 degrees but no more,” said Walter.

She said she loves working with the people and having fun with them. She enjoys watching her students work to be healthy and strong.

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