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Longboat Key Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2012 5 years ago

Athlete of the Week: Sherry Fideler

by: Mallory Gnaegy A&E Editor

Sherry Fideler has always been active. When she took an aerobics class with her sister, she realized it combined two of her favorite things — dance and aerobics. (Fideler had been a dancer since she was 3 years old.) After a while, the instructor asked if she wanted to become a teacher. It took her two seconds for her to say yes. She teaches strength training and tai chi at Bayfront Park Recreation Center, the Anna Maria Island Community Center and at the fitness center at the State College of Florida Manatee-Sarasota.

What got you into tai chi?
(Ten years ago) my mother was getting older and I was concerned about her balance. I took her to a tai chi class, and she hated it — but I loved it! It’s wonderful and very gentle on your body. The strength you gain is great, and (it’s) a stress reliever.

What’s your favorite aspect of teaching?
My favorite part about teaching is helping my students to improve their own health and fitness. I give to them, and they give back to me. (I love) knowing that their quality of life has improved. It’s just to know I’m making a difference in their life and keeping the quality of their lives better for longer.

What’s the most difficult part of teaching?
Being able to work with a variety of fitness levels. If it’s someone’s first time, you don’t want to lose them. But you also don’t want to lose the people who have already been taking the class (for months).

Where is the most beautiful place you have practiced tai chi?
When I was in Seattle visiting my brother, I found a quiet spot on Puget Sound. I was standing up on a huge hill, and it was completely covered with evergreens.

What is the breakfast of champions?
I have a cup of coffee, but I can’t eat a big breakfast when I teach classes because I can’t be bogged down. So I’ll eat a banana and some cereal or a granola bar.

If you had any super-hero power, what would you have?
Since I was a child, I’ve wanted to flap my wings and fly. Skydiving was the closest I’ve gotten to it. But I’d want to fly.

If you could workout with any person in the world, who would it be?
I have two people. The first would be my son. He was a couch potato, but is now a doctor of physical therapy and fitness is so important to him, and he’s very knowledgeable. We haven’t ever worked out together.

My second is Dr. Paul Lam. He is a famous family physician in Sydney, Australia. He started Tai Chi for arthritis and the programs I started teaching. I’d love to spend the day with him.

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