Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Head up! Arms to the Side!

Jean Salemme builds strength
and balance at AEC.
“Raise your thigh up, clasp your hands below the knee, and flex your hip for a stretch.” Commands from a yoga teacher or personal trainer? No, just part of the hour-long instructions given by Sylvia Piltch, master teacher for the ten or so “women of a certain age” who attend the weekly Adult Exercise Class (AEC) at the Cambridge Public Library’s main branch. It’s the longest running weekly adult program in the history of the library!

Begun more than 20 years ago, the class has continued with its loyal group of women (and sometimes men), in an effort to “keep our muscles and joints working,” says long-time member, Jean. Some have been attending since the AEC’s inception; others drop in from time to time. This time, a visitor from New Zealand, in town for her child’s graduation, joined the group for chair, floor and wall exercises. To the tunes of Perry Como on the library’s boom box, members stretched and moved, chatting occasionally between exercise breaks.

Instructor Sylvia Piltch stretches
with class members Virginia Hardman
and Ruth Mandalian
According to Virginia, it's more fun to exercise when you are among friends rather than doing it alone in your own home. And as Ruth said, "It gets you to the library" – one of her favorite places in Cambridge. During the multi-year reconstruction of the main library, the group moved to the Longfellow School as well as Youville House (teacher Sylvia is a resident there), but they are now happily ensconced in the L2 Community Room.

“It’s an ‘up’ group of people,” says Jean. They meet each week for exercise and occasionally enjoy lunch together. As Sylvia reported while carefully monitoring her students, “Everyone’s in good shape for the shape they’re in.” She couldn’t have stated it more perfectly.

There are always great things happening at the library! For more information on how you can get involved with the Friends of the Cambridge Public Library click here.

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