Here’s the exercise program that kept seniors healthy and connected during the pandemic

News 6 viewer shows her appreciation for ‘Bone Builder’ instructors

BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. – Last year, the pandemic took away so many of the things we took for granted. But it also taught us what was important.

News 6 viewer, Loretta Bosch, wrote us to share her appreciation for a pair of exercise instructors that provided an outlet for her and other seniors at a time when there wasn’t much for her to look forward to.

Minal Desai and Trevada Peck are both volunteer instructors for the Aging Matters Bone Builders exercise program. The two teach classes at the Eau Gallie Civic Center in Brevard County.

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Bone Builders is a volunteer-led osteoporosis prevention exercise and education program for older men and women. Participants lift light weights to improve their bone and muscle strength while also working to better their balance.

Just as importantly, for students like Bosch, it’s also a way to meet and stay connected with friends.

Last year when the pandemic restrictions eased up, Peck and Desai were the first to step up and get the class started again.

“It was a mainstay during a difficult time,” Bosch remembers. “COVID has kept so many of us seniors isolated and once the program opened up again us seniors were able to get together for exercise, for socialization and it’s been a blessing.”

Three mornings a week the basketball court in the Eau Gallie Civic Center fills with women moving, stretching and lifting.

Minal Desai is a retired physician. She started volunteering for Aging Matters in 2018.

“I wanted to give back to the community,” Desai said. “As a physician, you always receive that satisfaction from the patient care. This is where I found my satisfaction. We have an instructor-patient relationship but we also have a friendship.”

Trevada Peck agrees. Peck has been volunteering since 2019.

“I just came to do the exercises and somebody didn’t show up one day. Somebody said you’re it and the next thing I knew I was certified,” Peck laughed. “I love it. I’ve met some nice people.”

Terry Stone, Director of the Retired and Senior Volunteer Program for Aging Matters said last June when the civic center was ready to reopen, the Bone Builders class was one of the first programs to come return.

The students returned with masks and social distancing guidelines.

“We were all in our homes. Everybody was afraid to go anywhere but they came here,” Stone remembered.

The program meant so much to Bosch and so many of the other students. Bosch nominated the pair for the News 6 Getting Results Award as a way of appreciation.

“I did it because I just thought it was the right thing to do. I just felt such gratitude for these two women and for the program. I just wanted to tell people about it.”

“We hear from people all the time that this is the best thing that has ever happened to them,” Stone said. “It’s free. All they have to do is show up. There are three classes a week.”

“I’m going to get emotional,” Bosch said. “I’m grateful because of the help that they have given us. Keeping us healthy during this period of time.”

You can find more information about the Aging Matters Bone Builders program here.

About the Author:

Paul is a Florida native who graduated from the University of Central Florida. As a multimedia journalist, Paul enjoys profiling the people and places that make Central Florida unique.