Making big leaps!
Q&A With Couch to Active Community Member Patty Iorio
Q: How did you first hear about Couch to Active?
Patty: A friend, who lives here in Pennsylvania and I were talking about exercising, because I'm getting older and stiffer, and she recommended Lyn and Couch to Active. I listened in on one of the free Friday classes and I was sold. The prices are good and I can do it right from my home. I’m blind, so for me to take a bus or a cab to any kind of gym it’s expensive. You might be able to join [a gym] but the cab every month is kind of ridiculous. So being able to do it in the privacy of my own home and since she has multiple times for her classes, it just makes it very, very easy.
Q: Do you currently do only group classes?
Patty: I do. I also usually do the seminars that she offers, and I’ve just recently been thinking that personal training might be a good idea. Just to make sure I'm doing things correctly.
Q: How many classes were you taking when you first started, and how many are you taking currently?
Patty: When I first started she had fewer classes than she does now, and I also work, so at first I was only doing classes once a day. I would usually sign up for the 1:00 Eastern time class across the board. Then on Saturday, the same thing, the 1:00 class. That's kind of the schedule I got myself on. Of course, now I can join more depending on my workload. I take my two breaks together, and I'll do something maybe at 10:00. If my workload allows me to do more I do. If not, at least I get that 1:00 class in.
Q: What would you say is your favorite class at the moment?
Patty: You know, I really like them all. I like the Variety Cardio and the Beginner Pilates classes. I like the Strengthen Everything class where she works on getting every muscle group involved in that 40-minute class. And I really enjoy Donna's Move and Groove class – it’s just sort of easy enough that I could stand up at my desk and do that class. It's just fun to be moving around like that, and the music she picks it's like, wow! I don’t know where she finds this music but there are some things you would never even have thought could be used as workout music.
All of the classes benefit me. In the Mobility and Stability class, where we work on balance, it seems like every time I do that I feel better. When we get on the floor and are rocking our legs back and forth, all that kind of stuff really loosens me up. I go to the chiropractor and there's this one spot on my back that I always have so much pain in. One time I'm talking to him and he said, “Do you realize you don't have any pain in this spot anymore?” I was like, “Oh, yeah, there's no more pain!” So I know it's working and it's wonderful.
Q: Before you found Couch to Active, were you already physically active?
Patty: Basically all I did is walk on the treadmill and I’d try to get up to 10,000 steps a day. Of course that didn't always happen, but that was always my goal. So at least 30 minutes, 3 times a day is when I would try to walk.
Q: What was your biggest motivator to become more physically active?
Patty: When I became a grandmother, the first time I got on the floor I was so stiff. I was sitting up and I'm thinking “I can't move. I cannot move.” I had hip issues before because I had been out in the workforce for a long time and I would sit from 6:30 in the morning until I left at 3:00 in the afternoon. I got to the point where I couldn't even get up out of my chair, my hips were so stiff. So it was at that point when I'm sitting on the floor thinking “How am I going to get up?” that I decided I needed to get my body loosened up.
I don't have to go crazy, but I want to be able to at least bend my legs and get up. So I’m sitting on the floor, thinking about if I can't even move, how am I going to play with my granddaughter, and that's what kind of motivated me to finally look into doing something. I think that's what I was talking about with Lisa Salinger and she says, “You know, I have this person Lyn, who does Couch to Active, and you would love her classes!” So that's when I joined.
Q: So you’ve been doing Couch to Active for a little over 9 months now, how would you say things have changed physically? Do you see a lot of improvement?
Patty: Oh, yeah, it's a huge change. It's really made a huge difference! I mean, the first time I got on the floor to do the exercises, it's like, I don't know how I’m going to get up but at least I'm in my own house! So if I have to just roll around, I can do that. It took a while, but it started to loosen me up and it made me feel better. So I'm just so grateful. I'm just so grateful for Lynn!
In just nine months, my gosh, the flexibility that I have is so much better! Of course, it's still not perfect and I still have one hip that's a little more troublesome than the other, but getting on the floor, and crawling around, is so much better. Even my cleaning routine -- I mean, I can get on the floor now and dust under the dresser if I want to! I could get on the floor with my grand baby and not panic about how I was going to get up! I still use the table or something to help myself get up, but I think I could probably get up if I didn't have that table there.
Q: What are your thoughts on Lyn's approach to fitness, especially as somebody who is visually impaired?
Patty: Lyn really has a grasp on the fact that a lot of her students are visually impaired. I cannot see at all, so I depend on her telling me how to set up for an exercise. So she is very, very clear and very, very organized in her thoughts. When she tells you where to lay something, like to place your elbows at your waist, on the floor, hands up in the air, whatever it is, she's very clear. It makes it so much easier. I can't tell you how often I hear something, or maybe years ago was involved in something and it's like, I have no idea what they're talking about, so you just sort of wing it and do what you want to do. But she's very, very clear. And even though most of us know when she says we're going to do triceps, we know what the moves are, sometimes I forget and she always goes through it like you're brand new. She has a good handle on the fact that we are visually impaired and just explains it very, very well. And if you don't understand something, she's okay with us speaking up in the class and asking, “Did you mean…” and she'll answer.
Also, with her exercises, they can be as basic or as complex as you need or want them to be, she always gives you options. She goes, “If this is too much for you, you take it down a notch. If this is not too much for you and you want to take it up, this is what you do.” So she always has something available to challenge you. It's just amazing. Even something as simple as a squat, which isn't so simple, I still hold on but I can squat down. The strength in my legs still needs work, but it has just made such a difference. Her routines have just made such a difference in my life. I am just so grateful to be able to move as much as I do now. Just so grateful.
Q: Talk a little about the community at Couch to Active and a little about the other people in the group.
Patty: Oh my gosh, everyone is very supportive. Everybody in the class. If you have an issue, or if you've accomplished something, they're right there to discuss the issue or applaud you for the accomplishments. If there is any kind of advice you need, these are the people to ask. They're just a good group of people.
We just had a seminar on metabolism and some have been on the Keto diet, and we talked about all of that because some of us do have to lose weight. It was just very informative and they have a lot of good information. So no matter what you ask, somebody is going to come up with some sort of answer to help you. They're always there to help. It’s a good group of very nice ladies.
Q: Let’s say somebody is visiting the website, sees this interview, and they are kind of on the fence about whether they want to join or even try it out. What would you say to that person?
Patty: Well, first of all, try the free class on Friday. Once you try that free class you're going to join, because it's fun. There's no pressure. There's no expectation. Everyone does the best that they can do and all Lyn expects is for everyone to just do the best that they can. Any small accomplishment is huge. She always stresses that no matter how small you think your accomplishment is, it's huge. She's very encouraging and, like I said, the group of ladies is also encouraging. So no matter what you can do, even if it's just a couple of minutes of that 40-minute class, those couple of minutes are huge. She just makes you feel good no matter where you are in your journey to get well and healthy.
I wish I could devote more time to it. If I weren't working, I'd be exercising more, that's for sure. I enjoy Lynn's approach, I enjoy her attitude, and I just think it's a wonderful program! I'm just blessed to have been introduced to this program!