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Susan Longley has a passion for helping older adults get more fit and active
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JANUARY 2018 | AtlantaSeniorLife.com
Susan Longley leads an aquatic exercise class at the Family Life Center in Atlanta.
By Julie E. Bloemeke It all began with a broken arm in her mid-sixties. Susan Longley found that because of her injury, she was gaining weight, not having time to exercise and without full use of her arm. She told herself, “OK, this is the end. I am not going to do this anymore. This is not going to be my life.” At 65 she joined a gym, bought a year-long pass of appointments with a personal trainer and began taking water aerobics. “I thought, I love this class, I love teaching and I could do this.” So now, at 68, she’s a personal coach, fitness trainer and Aquatic Exercise Association-certified water aerobics instructor. After writing for an educational website and spending 50-plus hours a week in front of a computer, Longley found that she not only had a talent for teaching, but a calling and a passion for
working with seniors. “The seniors who exercise are a fantastic group of people,” she said. “The people I work with are just fun. They have a lot of energy, they have a love of life and they understand that they have to keep moving to be able to do other stuff, so it’s really energizing for me; it keeps me going.” In addition to individual personal training sessions, Longley teaches three other classes at the Family Life Center at SecondPonce De Leon Baptist Church in Atlanta. She began teaching Water Aerobics and has added Aquatic Gentle Joints and Water Strength. Aquatic Gentle Joints is focused around posture and increasing heart rate with a consistent set of movements often involving props such as balls and pool noodles. The class is free and open to all members of SilverSneakers, a national premier fitness program, as is her other class, Water Aerobics.