Friday, May 19, 2017

Get Fit at Olney Library

Bookshelf with fitness booksMay is National Physical Fitness and Sports Month, and Olney Library is here to help you reach your physical fitness goals!  

The President’s Council on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition “challenges all adults to get 30 minutes of physical activity every day.” Stop by the Olney branch for books or videos on a wide range of fitness and sports activities—from tai chi, yoga, and dance to running, cycling, Zumba, and ‘kickbox bootcamp.’ Whether you’re a beginner or long-time practitioner, we have the resources to help you.

Four staff members walking and waving at camera
National Walk@Lunch Day (l-r):
Head of Adult Services Marilyn Smith,
Circulation Staff Rania Abijomaa,
Branch Manager James Donaldson,
and Circulation Manager Joyce Edwards
If you’re interested in improving nutrition or seeking other healthy living strategies, library staff can help find the tools and guides you’re looking for. MCPL also has health and fitness materials for specific age groups, like children (don’t miss our hip-hop dancexercise DVDs  for kids)  and older adults.

Two of Olney's most popular programs are our free Yoga and Bone Builders classes, which are consistently filled to capacity. Under the leadership of Olney Adult Services Head Marilyn Smith, who also serves as a Montgomery County Wellness Champion, Olney has sought out adult programs that lead to physical fitness, mental and emotional well-being, and a sense of community among participants.

In celebration of Physical Fitness month, we’ve asked our instructors to share a little about themselves and how they got started in fitness. We encourage you to stop by on Tuesdays at 6 pm for Yoga (come early—spaces quickly fill up ☺) and contact Jean Cihlar (301-774-9545) for information on future Bone Builders sessions (pre-registration is required). Both courses are open to all levels and offer welcoming spaces to learn and grow. You won’t regret it!

Bone Builders Instructor lifts weights
Jean Cihlar, Bone Builders Instructor
“I think that this class is a fantastic way to stay fit and flexible while having fun! The library is a perfect location for the class-- students often pick up a book or a video after class, or just hang out for a while, reading and relaxing.”

Bone Builders class sitting in chairs
Can you tell us about the Bone Builders class?
The evidence-based Bone Builders class is based on a Tufts University study. It is offered free of charge by the Montgomery County Department of Health and Human Services, Aging and Disabilities Services to residents 55+. It is designed to increase bone density and improve balance. It involves slow repetition exercises using free weights-- ankle and hand weights-- and participating in warm-up, balance exercises, upper and lower body exercises, and cool down. 

Bone Builders participants lean against a wall
What are the benefits of taking this class?
The Bone Builders class helps prevent fractures in seniors by improving balance and increasing bone density. It’s also a great place to meet new people with similar interests!

Bone Builders class doing toe raises
How did you first get involved? 
I got involved with Bone Builders when I took part in a class and loved it so much that I decided I'd like to share my enthusiasm for it by teaching it. I think that the thing I like best is the sense of community that each class shares. Many students have remained in their classes for years, and have made friends that they get together with outside of class.

Participant feedback:
“I wanted to do something with weights for the core and balance. This is a friendly and inviting group. It doesn’t matter if you’re not coordinated!”  –Carol

“It’s a wonderful class. It creates strength in your bones, and we have friendships within the group.” –Shelly

“Very enjoyable. The teacher has been very helpful with making people feel comfortable. It’s nice coming to the library to get books and walking around the perimeter after the class.”  –Ken and Phyllis

Yoga instructor demonstrates a pose
Amy Branson, Yoga Instructor
“Yoga has helped me connect to my body and connect to my community. I wouldn't trade those two gifts for the world. I so appreciate the warmth and support I've felt from my fellow library yogi -- they rock! Join us and you'll see!”
Participants practice tree pose
How did you connect with Olney Library to bring yoga classes here?
Libraries have always been a resource for the community, so I thought it would be the perfect place to offer community yoga.

Yoga class participants in a one legged pose
How long have you been practicing yoga, and what do you like best about it? 
I've been practicing yoga for about 12 years. There are so many personal and communal benefits to the practice, but I think the bottom line is that every time I leave my mat I feel better-- physically and emotionally. What more could you ask for? 

Down Dog
How have you enjoyed teaching at the library?
I've loved building that sense of community in our class. We have participants of all ages and backgrounds, all levels of physical strength and flexibility, yet we all come together and share our practice. Everyone is so positive and open-- we have a great time learning and growing together.  

Participant feedback:
“This class is a gift to the community. I start looking forward to it every week on Tuesdays at 8:30 pm [after the class ends] until I get here the next week!”  –Linda

“I first came to this class last November, and I come every Tuesday when I’m in town. I do it because I have lower back problems and it teaches me something for my well-being… I love it!”  --Elke

“The instructor, Amy, is incredible—just the variety of people and her ability to keep the class moving is remarkable. She can push you to wherever you want to be, this flexibility has been good for me and what I’m looking for.”   –Mark
Note: Starting Tuesday, May 30, the Yoga Class will be on break and is expected to resume on Tuesday, June 20, for the summer. Please call Olney Library at (240) 773-9545 to confirm dates. 

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