Fitness Through the Life Span #2

Posted in Blog by bporte
8 Nov 2014

I had the blessed pleasure to work with two of the most amazing people ever! Their names were Shirley and Elliott Porte. She was an Opera singer, leader of many charities, businesswoman and he an artist of many talents. Although they were both at a mature age, they still were enjoying their lives as best as their health allowed them. Every Monday I arrived at their house in Jersey City with a fresh smile on my face, completely prepared to entertain Elliott’s insistence that he doesn’t have the energy to ‘do this’ today. Eventually, with very little coaxing, he surrendered to my insistence that he certainly does, and with a bright smile on his face we began to breath together. Elliott inhaled as he lifts his arms and exhales as they fall back down to his side. After only a few repetitions of this, he became fascinated with coordinating his breath with his movement. Elliott lived with memory loss and connecting his breath with movement creates the condition for his neural processes to enjoy a relationship that was slowly severing. He felt in control of his body and his cognition throughout our half hour sessions, and when he became confused, he stopped for a moment and then quickly regained control. He fascinated me when he he would get deeply involved in keeping his breath connected with each exercise movement.


Shirley loved long necklaces and had on a different one every week. Her nails and toes were always done. We began our sessions with breathing exercises, and Shirley was always willing to try a new flavor of breathing techniques. Shirley had all her wits about her, and was very interested in how many reps we would be doing and counted to be sure she had done them all, no more, no less. Every once in a while she gave herself a few extra reps of her own volition, and I smiled..

The Porte’s enjoyed their 5 minute shoulder massage at the end of each session. They felt relaxed and peaceful as I released some of their stored tensions. No matter how reluctant each was at the beginning of their session, at the completion they were always feeling more open and fresh. This validated for me why I do what I do. Stagnancy at any age is deadening, but especially in old age, when one can’t fully perform those activities they always enjoyed in their youth. Shirley and Elliott were an example of how significant fitness is for all ages.


Deana Maria Bonafiglia is a certified Kripalu Teacher, certified Fitness Trainer and a Holistic Health Counselor