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Carolyn Ulrich

In the six months since she started working at the Oakway Fitness Center, Carolyn Ulrich has attracted an enthusiastic following to the "Silver and Fit" exercise program that she designed. "It's like senior boot camp, getting people in shape for everyday tasks," she says. "The age group is 50 to 95. We listen to a variety of music to get people moving and to have fun." Ulrich didn't think of herself as athletic until she took up jogging in her junior year at the U of Alabama and found herself winning races. In learning to rehabilitate herself when she was injured, she became a pioneer in water exercise, developed a water aerobics program for the city of Columbia, Maryland, and took a degree in exercise physiology from UMass. In 2001, a year after she arrived in Eugene, she was severely injured and partially paralyzed in a car accident. After multiple surgeries and years of recovery, she resumed her teaching of water aerobics at the Downtown Athletic Club in 2004. "I got so much support from members and staff," says Ulrich, who left the club earlier this year when it cut most of its programs for seniors. "I still can't work full-time, but I love teaching seniors. They're different from other age groups, less egocentric. They're looking for socialization and help in overcoming things."

happening people

photograph and story by Paul Neevel

Eugene Weekly / 24 December 2008

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