Teri Lee Steele is a personal trainer, Pilates Educator and Owner of Steele Pilates at teristeelepilates.com where you find her online classes or book sessions. Follow Teri on Instagram @steelepilatesnyc

Most of my days are spent with my private personal training clientele. I am blessed to have had a great number of them for 25 years now; and, I have watched them age from 55 to 80 and beyond with grace, strength, and style. They go to lectures, museums, ballroom dancing, fllm festivals, etc. and they have committed themselves to exercise 2-3 times per week with me. Many of them were “heart attacks or osteoporosis waiting to happen” when I met them; and, I am proud to say that not only are they all stronger now than they were 25 years ago, but they also tell me how impressed their doctors are with their state of health. Nothing makes me happier than to hear them recount, upon returning from their 50th or 60th college reunions, how they are often the only ones in the room who stand up tall without the need for a walker or any other aid to get from one place to another. I witness every day in my work with them the power of exercise, a positive attitude and keeping oneself learning and engaged. I studied Exercise and Aging at UC Berkeley; so, this is an area I have been drawn to even when I was in my 20’s.

I also teach Steele Pilates classes to large groups of professional dancers and fitness enthusiasts mostly younger than 30. My classes are known for being challenging, mentally and physically, and my students genuinely respect me for what I have to offer because I am the physical product of what I teach. Even though I am 20 years older than most of my students at the dance studio, I move very well and can do many exercises easily that my students struggle with. They call me “the strongest woman alive” which is flattering, but untrue. I am just a well-educated mover who understands the importance of “use it or lose it” as well as the physics of moving and the levers of my skeleton to produce such movement; things that they will benet from learning sooner than later. I am proud of my ability to inspire others by not only what I say but what I can do.

I am 50 now and for a dancer, that is “ancient.” Compared to my 80+ year- old clients, I am a “youngster.” I like being around those groups in my life as it keeps me grounded, working hard and ever inspired. I get to see where I came from and where I am going simultaneously. I view, with my own eyes every single day, the power of movement in people’s lives and how it affects their bodies, minds, and spirits and most importantly, the quality of their lives. I acknowledge and accept the responsibility of establishing a love of movement for younger people, with the goal of creating life-long healthy habits. For my older clientele, keeping them moving with limited or no pain, maintaining agility, balance and coordination are key.

Takeaways:

As an “aging dancer” who trains dancers as well as “normal people” from 40-85 years of age, I am constantly surrounded by images of my former as well as my future self.
My personal relationship with Pilates has taught me that “It’s not what you do, it’s the way that you do it”

I hold my ability to move my body the way I want to as a marker of continued inner youth and the key to my success as an effective coach to both young and older clients.

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Teri Steele