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Body Glide designed to help participants stay fit

February 22, 2007|by MARLO BARNHART

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - Pastor Ken Fizer said a person's mind, spirit and body are like the Holy Trinity of the Christian faith and he doesn't want to ignore the body component of that equation.

"Churches often focus on the mind and spirit but the body is important too," Fizer said.

In his six years as pastor of Otterbein United Methodist Church, Fizer has introduced cardio kickboxing, karate and women's self-defense classes at the Queen Street church.

Now, he said, in an effort to attract older people who are interested in staying flexible and fit well into their senior years, Fizer has started a class called Body Glide.

"I had some inquiries from older adults," Fizer said on Feb. 6 at the first segment of the Tuesday evening class. Ten students, ranging in age from their 30s to their late 70s, showed up for that class.

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Edie Powell, 78, said she is an Otterbein parishioner and learned about the new class from church.

"I already do 'fun and exercise' at the Berkeley County Senior Center," Edie said. "Keeping fit is important to me."

A 17-year cancer survivor, Edie said she uses a treadmill whenever she can.

At the close of the class, Edie said she enjoyed the workout and planned to return.

Fizer's fellow instructor, Candy Tharp, is older than 50 and stressed to all in the class that they should do only what their bodies are comfortable with, rather than pushing too hard.

"I've taught cardio kickboxing and other disciplines but never this," she said.

Stress reduction is a big component of the new class.

Fizer said he is a student of kung fu and tai chi and is a certified yoga and reiki instructor.

He welcomed the participants to Body Glide, calling it a blend of kung fu, yoga and tai chi.

"It's not a competition," said Fizer, who noted that participants can use a mat or a chair if it's necessary.

The class began with breathing and stretching exercises, accompanied by soft background music. Participants were constantly reminded to keep their backs straight and not to overstretch or bounce.

Knee and hip rolls, arm swings, head and neck exercises and wrist rolls made up the first half of the workout. Tharp repeatedly reminded members of the class to inhale through their noses and to exhale through their mouths.

"Honor your body," Tharp said. "Quiet your mind and focus on your breathing ... just be."

Class member Leigh Fleming said she learned about the class from the church newsletter.

"I take karate and my mom takes yoga," said Kathryn Sincell-Corwell as she finished up her first Body Glide class.

Both women said they enjoyed the 50-minute program.

"We can accept more students," Fizer said, pointing out that the room can be doubled in size by merely opening a sliding wall.

The free class was to be held every Tuesday through Feb. 27 from 6 to 7 p.m. If there were enough participants, the program might be extended, Fizer said.

Participants are asked to bring a mat or towel and to wear comfortable clothing. Child care is provided.

The church is at 549 N. Queen St.

For more information call 304-263-0342.

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