Inspiring Stories

Aging with Attitude: Roseanna Sottilaro on Why the Gym Inspires Her

Roseanna (standing) supports another Senior Planet member at the gym

Recently, Senior Planet launched a Team Captain program, helping fitness enthusiasts who are over the age of 60 lead workout teams in locations throughout New York City. These social workout groups span a variety of activities and are appropriate for a variety fitness levels, and are a great way to connect with new friends while supporting your health. Roseanna Sottilaro is one of our new Captains, so I sat down with her to learn more about what exercise means to her.

Senior Planet: What inspires you to exercise?
Roseanna: I love the feeling I know I’ll have after I’m done working out. I always feel amazing. Even if I’m feeling tired or sluggish, I’ll push myself to go because I know I’ll feel energized after just half an hour.

So what’s your fitness routine?
I like working out at the gym. I usually start my workout in the cardio room on the bicycle or the elliptical or treadmill. Then I’ll use the weight machines. My favorites are the leg press, the abductor and adductor machine, and the lat pull-down machine. I can control those machines really well.

I’ve been going to the gym twice a week, but I’m trying to make time to go three times. I used to go four times, but the holidays threw me off.

Why do you like exercising at the gym, in particular?
I really like using the machines. I also like seeing people my age who I can relate to. It’s motivating to see my peers who have their own exercise mission.

I work out at the Chelsea Recreation Center, and I like that it’s clean and isn’t crowded. It’s also really affordable. The people are really friendly too, especially when I wear my Senior Planet t-shirt. People will always come over and tell me about the events they’ve been to there.

How do you feel you’ve benefited from working out?
I have a lot more energy and I’m a lot more positive. I don’t get caught up in whining and negativity anymore. I feel younger. I’m a lot more flexible and stronger and I find that I’m able to do more than I used to.

I also lost 19 pounds when I first started working out. Truthfully, I felt so good and so much stronger that I didn’t even pay attention to the weight loss as much.

That’s amazing! Why did you decide to become a Team Captain?
I took the fitness classes at Senior Planet and had a really positive experience. The courses ended, but I wanted to keep working out and I thought this would be a great way to attract and meet other people I could exercise with.

What would you tell people to encourage them to join you?
The gym isn’t as hard or intimidating as people may think. They can even start with 15 minutes and keep building. Working out with someone else can be really motivating. When you see people exercising, you feel their energy and want to do it too. And it’s not about competition at all. It’s all about camaraderie.

It’s important to be physically active. It impacts your life in so many positive ways. It helps your outlook, which helps your relationships and other areas of your life. You feel a high that goes beyond the gym. You just know it’s going to be a good day.


8 responses to “Aging with Attitude: Roseanna Sottilaro on Why the Gym Inspires Her

  1. Hey Roseanna!
    I’m thrilled that you discovered so many benefits to exercising! Working out at the fitness center in my senior community has not only helped me to become a more positive person, aided in a weight loss of 22 lbs., helped me feel younger, stronger and more fit, but also boosts my energy level, revitalizes me, lifts any depression that tries to creep in, and has allowed me to reverse my 18-year diabetes, rid myself of sleep apnea, and eliminated my joint pain in both “bone-on-bone” knees, which helped me to delay any knee replacements. Keep on keepin’ on!

  2. Depending on the level of the class, I would also be interested in a class at Asser Levy, which is near my home. I was an attendee with Roseanna at the Senior Planet class held last year at the Chelsea Recreation Center and since then, I go out of my way to use the Chelsea Recreation Center, as the equipment is much better in Chelsea than at Asser Levy. I generally attend the cardio/weight lifting classes given by Dana Brown at the Chelsea location and then use the weight lifting machines.
    I also like the classes Caz gives at SP on Tues. and Thurs., but stopped going since they are too crowded.

  3. I agree completely with Roseanna. My husband and I have always been fairly active. At times when I’ve been unenthusiastic, he gets me up and going, and vice versa. I find exercise with others helps motivation. It may be a challenge to break your own barriers about strolling into a gym or a group, but once you do it several times, lifting weights or attending a class or jumping in a pool becomes the norm. I do remember maybe 35 years ago when I was the only woman in the weight room. The language from some of the men was enlightening! But as facilities have integrated the genders, there’s way less of that.

      1. Hi Anne,
        Is it possible to have this program offered through the Parks and Recreation Center — Asser Levy — on East 23rd Street & 1st Avenue ? Chelsea Rec is inconvenient.
        lots of seniors on the East Side — but no coordination or knowledge of how to maximize our exercise potential.
        Maybe rotate between different centers ?
        Thanks for all You do.

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