Contact: Abigail Fota, College Relations Associate - Media, 610-740-3790


Allentown, PA (June 9, 2004) - Seven years ago, Sylvia Kief learned that she had developed spinal stenosis, a disorder that puts pressure on the spinal cord and nerve roots due to a narrowing of spaces in the spine. Only capable of walking two or three steps at a time, Sylvia decided to have an operation to improve her condition. Although the operation helped Sylvia improve her mobility, her exercise options were still very limited. An art teacher for the Owen J. Roberts School District, Sylvia found difficulty in daily tasks, such as climbing ladders to reach supplies, hanging up displays and sitting to conference with her students. After 39 years of teaching and with her orthopedic surgeon's advice, Sylvia retired.

Determined to improve her lifestyle, Sylvia noticed an advertisement for the Rodale Aquatic Center and enrolled in its first course offering - Aquaticise, a class that focuses on a well-balanced, total body workout. Taught in an 86º warm-water exercise pool, the aquatic movements were less strenuous on Sylvia's muscles than other types of exercise. Through her training, Sylvia not only regained her mobility, but she has also lost over 70 pounds.

"I am so proud of how far I have come," says Kief. "Walking up a flight of stairs used to be a challenge to me. Now I walk four to five miles several days a week and thirty minutes on the remaining days in addition to my aqua exercise."

Sylvia is currently enrolled in three courses at the Aquatic Center and exercises there five days a week. "I am internally competitive and set new goals for myself each session, says Kief. "When I exercise, the additional bonus is that the endorphins kick in and I feel great during and after."

"Sylvia is an inspiration to many of the people who use our facilities," says Heidi Hashagen, Fitness Director at the Rodale Aquatic Center. "She demonstrates how the physical and mental benefits of exercise can be extraordinary, especially through the recovery from an illness or injury. The buoyancy of the water allows for less restricted movement and increased flexibility. The result is a higher tolerance for exercise with lower amounts of pain."

For more information or to set up an interview, please contact the College Relations Office at 610-740-3790.

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Abigail Fota
College Relations Associate - Media


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