BOLIVAR, Mo — You’ll hear a lot of numbers spoken throughout the SilverSneakers class at the Roy Blunt YMCA in Bolivar, although 4 is their favorite.
4, for Mary.
The instructor, recently named one of the top instructors around the nation.
“We don’t love exercise, but we love Mary and that’s why we come. She means everything to us,” explained Vicki Hutchison, who gladly came up to give her a hug in the middle of the workout.
“She makes this so fun, and she makes this a social event for us.”
“When I started I thought ‘high school exercise again, I don’t want to do this.’ But I love coming now, and it’s because of Mary.”
The class is programed for individuals 60 and up and caters to a variety of skill levels: 2 senior Olympians train in the class alongside stroke survivor David Hale.
He spent 30 days in rehab back in 2015 after losing the ability to control his left side.
“I am very blessed. The only things I didn’t lose during the stroke was my speech and my appetite,” Hale laughed.
Walking exercises still cause him trouble, but he now has nearly full range of motion..
“Mary does a wonderful job. She is so enthusiastic and she gets the whole group involved.”
“Everyone always says they can’t do something. I can’t, I can’t, I can’t, but once they see they can, they realize that they are capable of way more than what they think,” said Mary Sullivan on their progress.
“It’s amazing to have that testimony for themselves.”
Her enthusiasm has built the program at the Bolivar YMCA from just 3 members to nearly 200.