A fitness instructor since 1987, Deb is also a gifted artist who’s been offering lessons in fine art for 25 years. She has worked at Glenmeadow for five years as our certified personal trainer and also teaches art classes here twice a week. Deb takes pride in helping residents stay physically fit, and also enjoys teaching them how to bring a landscape to life with a paint brush on canvas.
Deb’s three boys are in their 30s. When they were young, she was working in dentistry and decided to carve out some much-needed time to focus on her health and strength. She went through a program that was being offered in Northampton in 1987 for fitness instructors and quickly found that fitness was something she wanted to share with others. She became certified as a group fitness instructor and soon after also became certified as a personal trainer. Over time, Deb became certified in many teaching modalities, including Pilates, and yoga.
Deb first used her skills as a trainer in area gyms and then worked in corporate fitness. Now 56, she’s been working with seniors for about 10 years, and has enjoyed tailoring her work to meet the needs of older adults. “I love taking all the things I’ve learned about fitness and rethinking it for the senior population,” she says. “It’s really about their health, and a lot of the programs I teach are based on how I can help them maintain strength, flexibility and help them work on balance and prevent falls.”
Deb finds those who work out with her have put a focus on physical fitness their whole lives; she well understands this, as a runner since 1993 who continues to cover 12 miles each week. She says her strength training and balance classes are some of her most popular offerings.
“The people who exercise are the people who want to continue their physical fitness,” she says. “My goal for them, always, is that they’ll be able to do next year what they can do this year, maintaining that level of movement and health.”
“I love people,” she adds. “I love helping people get fit, and I really like helping them feel good about themselves through physical fitness.”
Deb also enjoys helping artists feel a connection and pride in their artwork. Her creative passion was born after Deb’s children entered school, allowing her some free time during the day to focus on interests of her own. She enrolled in an art class, using colored pencils as the medium, and was inspired to begin drawing portraits. She sketched children, adults, families, and weddings as an artist on commission, later transitioning to still life and landscapes and trying her hand at different mediums such as pastels and oils.
For many years, Deb taught art classes out of her studio in her home. And now, here, on Fridays, she offers a “Follow Me” art class, guiding our residents as they create everything from watercolor and pastel painting to acrylics and charcoal. On Wednesdays from 1 to 2 p.m., Deb leads advanced instruction for residents who are still interested in pursuing their artistic interests. She helps the artist with their specific projects.
Residents—here at Tabor Crossing and around Greater Springfield—may have caught a glimpse of Deb’s paintings at our recent Art Festival in December, which served as a fundraiser for the ALS Therapy Development Institute.
“I feel it’s important to share my work so my students can see where I am coming from when I teach them, she says. “It was great interacting with and getting to share my work with them.”
Deb adds, “At Glenmeadow, everyone is so grateful and happy to be a part of a class. It’s not about art anymore, but about the person and how they feel when they’re done with their beautiful piece of art they created. That’s the bigger picture.”