Nancy Durkin spent most of her time at home during the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic. She passed the time by watching TV and working on crafts.
To get out of her apartment, she participated in a walking program through the New Britain Senior Center. She would report her mileage and steps over the phone to Chris Kuzia, who directs the Center’s exercise program.
Chris, also YWCA New Britain’s Performing Arts & Athletics Director, mentioned one day that the YWCA’s fitness center was reopening. It was getting too warm to walk outside most days, so Nancy figured it would be worthwhile to check out the YWCA.
She says it was the best thing she ever did.
Nancy felt welcome and supported the moment she walked through the door. New to exercising in a fitness center, the staff showed her how to use each piece of equipment and answered all of her questions.
Nancy soon met personal trainer Tabatha Stepensky. She and her friend Bernadette each decided to give personal training a try, starting with five sessions.
“Her first session with me was very difficult and frustrating for her. We did half of her session in a chair,” Tabatha recalls. “She needed the bar for balance, and when she did stand, her vocabulary was ‘I can't’ and ‘I'll never.’”
Fast forward three and a half months later and those first five sessions have turned into an All Access Plus membership, giving Nancy access to weekly personal training sessions, the fitness center, and exercise classes.
Tabatha has helped Nancy improve her balance and strengthen a shoulder she was having problems with. She has showed Nancy many new exercises that are simple yet effective. She has shifted her mindset from “I can’t” to “I can.”
Nancy credits Tabatha’s encouragement for the progress she has made. “She’s great. Her workouts are not boring,” she said. “Every time you go in it’s a little bit different, so you don’t get tired of doing it.”
Nancy has even seen some exciting, unexpected changes as a result of her fitness journey. She remembers how when she first started going to the YWCA, she was having trouble bending down to tie her shoes. Now she can do it with no problem.
“It’s when you stop and realize you’re doing these simple things – again,” she shared. “Things that were difficult, or becoming difficult, are now easy."
“Her confidence has improved greatly as well as her quality of life,” Tabatha noted. “I’m proud of her!”