Fitness trainer to older residents thrives at S.A. senior centers


SAN ANTONIO — Eleven seniors grooved to finger-snapping tunes within the dance studio on the Walker Ranch Senior Heart on Friday as Donna Gordon counted off the beat in her fashionable Hip Hop Twerk Class.

“One, two, three!” the health coach shouted. “Low! Up!”

In entrance of a wall of mirrors, the group pulled stretched straps, shook pompoms and strutted throughout the wood flooring.

“Y’all are doing a great job!” Gordon mentioned. “I’m proud of you!”

In the course of the 45-minute session, they adopted Gordon’s strikes to high-energy songs similar to Will Smith’s “Gettin’ Jiggy Wit It” and Naughty by Nature’s “Hip Hop Hooray.”

The cardio session on the heart at 835 W. Rhapsody drew curious glances from a number of folks on the heart who stopped to look at. A bystander provided pupil Annette Garza a tip: The dance was about transferring her bottom.

“I am shaking it!” replied Garza, 64.

Media=”(min-width: 1292px)”>Media=”(min-width: 1230px)”>Media=”(min-width: 1168px)”>Media=”(min-width: 1106px)”>Media=”(min-width: 1044px)”>Media=”(min-width: 982px)”>Media=”(min-width: 920px)”>Media=”(min-width: 858px)”>Media=”(min-width: 796px)”>Media=”(min-width: 734px)”>Media=”(min-width: 672px)”>Media=”(min-width: 610px)”>Media=”(min-width: 548px)”>Media=”(min-width: 486px)”>Media=”(min-width: 424px)”>Media=”(min-width: 362px)”>Media=”(min-width: 300px)”>Donna Gordon, right, talks with students after class at the Walker Ranch Senior Center on Friday.

Donna Gordon, proper, talks with college students after class on the Walker Ranch Senior Heart on Friday.

Josie Norris, San Antonio Categorical-Information / Workers photographer

Their teacher mentioned twerking is a enjoyable technique to work their abs, core and decrease physique. Most of all, it’s a technique to get the blood transferring and hearts pumping of a inhabitants she enjoys serving to.

A 22-year veteran of the Air Power, Vincent T. Davis launched into a second profession as a journalist and located his calling. Observing and listening throughout San Antonio, he finds intriguing tales to inform about on a regular basis folks. He shares his tales with Categorical-Information subscribers each Monday morning.


“There’s something special about seniors,” mentioned Gordon, 60. “They want to be with you for the right reasons. They become a friend, like family.”

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In 1992, selling health and well being grew to become her journey.

Gordon, a former trophy-winning bodybuilder, started inspiring older San Antonians to confront challenges they thought they couldn’t overcome. She affords private coaching and health lessons by her Survival of the Fittest Well being and Wellness applications. Gordon mentioned she’s had quite a lot of roles, similar to company health specialist for Rackspace and well being and wellness teacher on the YMCA.

She credit her stay-fit marketing campaign to her mom, whose classes Gordon shares at senior facilities and 9 reminiscence care services. Gordon additionally based the nonprofit I Care Reminiscence Group, in honor of her mom, Annie Ruth Statham, who had Alzheimer’s illness.

Gordon’s relationship together with her mom was a thread all through her life. They attended the College of the Incarnate Phrase on the identical time, each graduating in 1983. Gordon mentioned the construction of her life enabled her to graduate with honors at age 20 with a bachelor’s diploma in training and a yr later with a grasp’s in grownup training.

Media=”(min-width: 1292px)”>Media=”(min-width: 1230px)”>Media=”(min-width: 1168px)”>Media=”(min-width: 1106px)”>Media=”(min-width: 1044px)”>Media=”(min-width: 982px)”>Media=”(min-width: 920px)”>Media=”(min-width: 858px)”>Media=”(min-width: 796px)”>Media=”(min-width: 734px)”>Media=”(min-width: 672px)”>Media=”(min-width: 610px)”>Media=”(min-width: 548px)”>Media=”(min-width: 486px)”>Media=”(min-width: 424px)”>Media=”(min-width: 362px)”>Media=”(min-width: 300px)”>Students work out in the hip hop twerking class lead by Donna Gordon (not pictured) at the Walker Ranch Senior Center in San Antonio on Friday. Gordon credits her mother with teaching her discipline that lead her to graduate with honors from the University of Incarnate Word, become a trophy-winning bodybuilder and serve as fitness trainer to older residents at memory care and senior centers.

College students work out within the hip hop twerking class lead by Donna Gordon (not pictured) on the Walker Ranch Senior Heart in San Antonio on Friday. Gordon credit her mom with educating her self-discipline that lead her to graduate with honors from the College of Incarnate Phrase, turn into a trophy-winning bodybuilder and function health coach to older residents at reminiscence care and senior facilities.

Josie Norris, San Antonio Categorical-Information / Workers photographer

Statham’s resume included singing the nationwide anthem at Spurs video games and performing “The Lord’s Prayer” throughout Pope Paul John II’s go to to San Antonio in 1987.

Her signature position was abolitionist Harriet Tubman, a personality she portrayed on the Battle of Flowers Parade for greater than 20 years. Gordon mentioned her mom continued her performances to the delight of employees and residents at her reminiscence care heart.

“She was a praying woman and a leader,” Gordon mentioned, “just like Harriett led people to freedom.”

Gordon’s mom died Nov. 30, 2018. She was 84.

Gordon grew to become enthusiastic about staying match after a tough being pregnant. She weighed 255 kilos and developed gestational diabetes. A coach dared her to enter a bodybuilding contest. She visited former Mr. Olympia Ronnie Coleman’s fitness center in Dallas and met bodybuilder Brian Dobson, who pushed her to the next degree of bodily health.

She needed to choose up and throw weights. She pushed a truck in impartial up a hill to construct up her hamstrings. She wore wool sweats within the sweltering summer time warmth. Gordon competed as a bodybuilder for six years, successful a number of awards that included first place within the South Texas Bodybuilding Championship.

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Now, she’s providing that focus to seniors and the reminiscence care neighborhood. As soon as a month, Gordon entertains seniors at reminiscence facilities, accompanied by the I Care Reminiscence dancers — 12 seniors clad in colourful, hand-sewn costumes.

Gordon hopes to open a state-of-the-art senior heart of her personal sooner or later for veterans and other people with disabilities and Alzheimer’s illness with Help from the nonprofit’s board of administrators. The roster contains her mom’s good friend and Battle of Flowers sponsor Clara Vaughn, Angela Soriano and Jerome Everett.

Media=”(min-width: 1292px)”>Media=”(min-width: 1230px)”>Media=”(min-width: 1168px)”>Media=”(min-width: 1106px)”>Media=”(min-width: 1044px)”>Media=”(min-width: 982px)”>Media=”(min-width: 920px)”>Media=”(min-width: 858px)”>Media=”(min-width: 796px)”>Media=”(min-width: 734px)”>Media=”(min-width: 672px)”>Media=”(min-width: 610px)”>Media=”(min-width: 548px)”>Media=”(min-width: 486px)”>Media=”(min-width: 424px)”>Media=”(min-width: 362px)”>Media=”(min-width: 300px)”>Katy Stephens, right, bursts into laughter with fellow student Annette Garza, left, in their hip hop Ttwerking class at the Walker Ranch Senior Center in San Antonio on Friday. Gordon credits her mother with teaching her discipline that lead her to graduate with honors from the University of Incarnate Word, become a trophy-winning bodybuilder and serve as fitness trainer to older residents at memory care and senior centers.

Katy Stephens, proper, bursts into laughter with fellow pupil Annette Garza, left, of their hip hop Ttwerking class on the Walker Ranch Senior Heart in San Antonio on Friday. Gordon credit her mom with educating her self-discipline that lead her to graduate with honors from the College of Incarnate Phrase, turn into a trophy-winning bodybuilder and function health coach to older residents at reminiscence care and senior facilities.

Josie Norris, San Antonio Categorical-Information / Workers photographer

Michael Garza-Gongora, Media relations inventive director, discovered about Gordon’s class from his mom, Vanessa. Each are on the board. He’s filming high-definition footage of health periods for a brief documentary on Gordon.

“She puts her mother’s face on each one of the seniors,” mentioned Garza-Gongora, 33. “I’ve seen canes and walkers left at the door. She really gets them going.”

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After the category ended, the seniors surrounded Gordon for goodbye hugs. Marvin King Sr., 76, mentioned he misplaced 7 kilos in 4 weeks of taking the category.

“I haven’t moved this much in 20 years,” King mentioned.

Garza, a first-time participant, mentioned she was excited to strive the category that labored muscle groups not used shortly.

“I’m going to keep practicing,” she mentioned. “If I get good enough, I’ll be twerking on my way.”

On Oct. 6, from 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m., Gordon will host a Spirituals and Souls fundraiser for the event of the I Care Reminiscence nonprofit at 1316 Wiltshire Ave. Admission is $75 per particular person. The occasion, with a theme of Day of the Lifeless, or Día de los Muertos, will embody a silent public sale and an ofrenda the place attendees can place a photograph of a member of the family.

For extra info, go to icarememory.org. or icarememoryinquiry@gmail.com.

vtdavis@express-news.internet

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