“I cannot even walk around the block; how can I run around the gym?’ This was Syd’s response when she was invited to join a Body & Soul class. Her response is not surprising. The thought of exercise can intimidate just about anybody. But Syd is not just about anybody. Syd is unique because she has Multiple Sclerosis, which makes any type of exercise a real challenge.
To Syd, though, a challenge is not an obstacle to defeat you, but, rather, something to push through and past. Living in Oklahoma City, she is not only involved in a variety of Body & Soul programs but she also leads a Christ-centered health program called First Place for Health (FP4H). This program requires all participants to exercise. Many FP4H participants have weight and health challenges. They see exercise as the dreaded “E” word. But Syd throws down the gauntlet: “If you really want to do something, you’ll find a way. If you don’t, you’ll find an excuse.”
Leading by example, Syd has participated in Body & Soul’s Boot Camp, Cardio/Strength, and Gold programs. Gold offers options for those with limited mobility or health concerns. The workouts contain cardio elements, strength training, and stretching segments that are safe, effective, fun, and surprisingly intense. “Working out while you are sitting in a chair may look easy, but it is not! We are working hard. We are getting our hearts pumping, our muscles stronger, and the stretches are wonderful.”
Several weeks ago Syd’s doctor told her that even though MS is a degenerative disease, her strength had improved. “Keep exercising” was her prescription!
Syd’s perseverance on the health front is inspirational. But she is not focused only on herself. She is everyone’s best cheerleader. She is constantly inviting friends to join her on the journey. To her, Body & Soul classes are a place where the music motivates and inspires, where instructors show modifications, and where encouragement abounds. “If I can do it, anyone can do it. Believe me, I know all about bodies not cooperating.”