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Step class instructor
Maureen Partlow is a step instructor for the Y of Central Maryland. She talks about her job.
What does your job entail?
My job is to lead a safe, effective and fun group exercise class that enables participants to maintain a healthy lifestyle. I also work at several Y-sponsored events in the community, such as the annual Turkey Trot run/walk, Y Healthy Kids Day and Y Healthy Halloween. The Y is a wonderful association to be a part of because what I do here is directly related to the health of the community in which I live.
What kind of schooling or training did you go through?
All Y instructors are required to take a certification course for group exercise. In order to maintain the certification, I need to take continuing education classes offered by the Y or other accredited agencies every year. CEC classes are necessary to keep me informed of health and safety concerns with regard to group fitness. They also provide new ideas for different segments of a fitness class such as warm-up, cool-down, cardio, stretching and strengthening. I am also required to be current with CPR/AED/First Aid certification.
What inspired you to this career?
My mom actually got me involved with becoming a class participant at the Towson Family Center Y over 20 years ago. She was advised by her doctor to enroll in a fitness class as a means to maintain good heart and bone health. I was immediately hooked on the fitness classes at the Y because they were not only a great workout, but the people were engaging and friendly. As a former high school and college athlete, I thought being an instructor would be great motivation for me to 'stick with exercise.' It was a commitment that I made for my own health as well as the health of my class participants.
What do you like best about your job?
During my years of teaching Step at the Y, I have developed many great relationships with not only my class participants, but also other Y members. I find it very satisfying when they say, 'How much fun is this?' or 'You killed us today!' That kind of feedback means I have accomplished my goal of creating a safe and effective class for promoting a healthy lifestyle. Developing personal relationships are so important for every aspect of a person's well-being.
The Y provides a great supportive atmosphere where anyone can share life's ups and downs.
I really look forward to my mornings at the Y because it usually makes a rough day better or a good day great for all of us.
What are the challenges?
The ability to encourage others to make health a priority is important to me. That said, my greatest challenge is to create an environment where beginners feel comfortable and not defeated, while the more advanced participants continue to get an effective workout — a place where the positive energy enables everyone to reach their health goals.
Median salary $31,090 per year in 2010, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics
April 10, 2013