New Yorker Helene Schulman, 69, struggled with everyday tasks like walking up steps and sitting down due to limited range of motion in her knee and left arm. In September 2013, she decided to sign up for Asphalt Green’s free 12-week Senior Fitness Program. This community program provides Harlem seniors with free exercise classes to help improve balance, strength, endurance and flexibility.
While Helene struggled at the start of class and almost dropped out, she stuck it out and has seen incredible results. "After the first three weeks of class, I noticed I had more balance and my legs and thighs felt stronger—I could go down the bus steps easier, get off the toilet easier, and bend down and pick up my dog's heavy ceramic food dish without pain," says Helene, a breast cancer survivor.
Helene's doctor also believes she no longer needs knee surgery. "I shocked my doctor and did a Rockette kick in her office to show her how strong I am now!"
Much of her success is due to fitness instructor Susana Picheny. Susana's encouragement makes you feel like you can be active, even if you have a disability or need rehab, says Helene. "I feel more alive and motivated to live because of her class."