SARATOGA SPRINGS — Penny Jolly, a retired professor of Skidmore College shares how staying physically active keeps her lively and youthful.
When Jolly’s daughter Jennifer began taking ballet classes of her own, Jolly was in her thirties. Many of the student’s onlooking parents were eager to participate too and that’s when Jolly, among other parents, began to take an adult ballet class.
While Jolly continued with those classes for only three more years, she did return to a dance studio later on in Saratoga Springs. For the past twenty years, Jolly has become a diligent recreational athlete.
“I was getting older and feeling creakier. I do a lot of gardening so I’m always leaning over and stretching. By the time you’re in your 50s or 60s those things are aching more as you do them,” said Jolly. “I really wanted a way to be better in shape. And also lose a little weight, keep weight off.”
Jolly takes several classes at the Total Body Trifecta, a dance and fitness studio in Ballston Spa. There she takes a total of six classes every week, including a ballet - core class, kickboxing, step aerobics, and a High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) class.
Ballet may be her favorite class to take at the studio. Her husband was a reviewer of ballets, and Jolly has spent a great deal of time seeing shows throughout the years. She has always admired the movement of ballet. But aside from the chance to get up and exercise, Jolly has enjoyed expanding her social circle through athletics.
“I made friends. There I meet women whom I wouldn’t normally meet.”
Aside from her new friends, Jolly takes the opportunity of Ballet in The City coming to Saratoga each year, to take a master class with her daughter Jennifer and her grandson. Her continuous athleticism allows her to stay active for weekends with her grandkids which can involve kayaking and hiking.
“I think that I’m getting arthritis. So I have a hip that hurts and a knee that hurts, etcetera, etcetera,” said Jolly. “I think it’s the aging body, but I feel like class helps me extend that. I’m keeping active; I feel like I’m doing the right thing where I’m not pushing too hard. It makes me feel like I’m using my body well.”
Outside of her scheduled classes, Jolly counteracts the sedentary life of a college professor by regularly biking, walking and taking the stairs when necessary.
“The activity I think keeps me in the game If I were just sitting and reading all day - which is what I tend to do - I wouldn’t’ be able to be so active.”
Jolly continues to be an example of the many joys and opportunities that physical activity can bring to one’s life.