How Joyce Conquered Her Mat Fear

The clients came trickling in for the Wednesday morning 8: 00 a.m. Level 3 – Active Boomers and Seniors class on an unseasonably chilly day last May – shivering and good naturedly complaining about Cape Cod non-Springs. Betsy LaMond, the owner, noticed a new face and went to welcome her. Joyce, 67, had come with friends for her complimentary class. As they talked, Betsy discovered that Joyce had recently completed physical therapy for a hip replacement in January.
Joyce hesitantly asked about the program, particularly one part: “Do I have to get down on a mat, I haven’t been down on the floor since the surgery”. Recognizing the anxious tone in her voice, Betsy explained that some exercises and the stretching portion took place on a mat but all could be done standing. To calm her fears, she explained how the classes are intentionally kept small to make sure all clients have appropriate weights and are in correct posture for maximum safety and effectiveness, “you’ll NEVER do an exercise you’re not comfortable with or if you feel pain”, she assured her.
Joyce was like a pro for the strength and balance parts of the class – then the mats came out. Betsy saw the slightly panicked look on Joyce’s face and quietly asked if she preferred to stay standing. Joyce looked at her friends on their mats, stiffened her upper lip and said, “I’ll get down on the mat if you’ll help me up”. Ah, boomer peer pressure! As Betsy helped Joyce up from her mat, she asked how she could help with her “mat fear”. Maybe she could come early or stay after class and they’d practice together. Joyce agreed that would be a good idea.
Betsy was happy to see Joyce return on Friday (a new client!) and asked how she felt after Wednesday’s workout. “I wasn’t sore but I could feel that I worked my muscles – my hip feels great – no pain”. Once again she aced the workout. When the mats came out she grabbed hers and calmly got down on it. At the end of class Betsy went to help Joyce up but was surprised to be standing eye to eye with her. She had popped right up off her mat! Before she could say anything, Joyce explained that she was annoyed at herself for being afraid of the mat so she practiced at home. It only took her a few times to get it down perfectly. Way to go Joyce!

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