TULSA, Okla. – The second Friday in January is known as “Ghost Day,” the day when people are most likely to give up on their New Year’s resolutions. If you’re considering quitting your job, the story of Gerry Dunbar might inspire you to move forward.
You see, Gerry is the sassy, spirited, and possibly Oklahoma’s oldest aerobics coach.
“I’m 86 years old! It’s just a number,” said Gerry.
From pushups to planks, Gerry is a fitness inspiration.
“There’s no one like Gerry. She’s such a lovely person; everyone loves her,” said Vivian Howard, who attended the class.
Gerry started teaching in his 60s and has been active for 25 years. The only fitness break this so-called ‘Energizer Bunny’ has done was after a serious diagnosis a few years ago. “During a routine check-up, the doctors found a spot on one of my breasts. I said, okay, what are we going to do? They said let’s do a mastectomy.” – Gerry recalls.
Gerry begins each class with prayer, grateful for the well-being of her and her students. “Before the pandemic, I had 80-100 students on average, and one day I had 120 people in this gym,” she said.
Her classes now average around 50 due to the pandemic. Gerry said, “I don’t charge for this class. I do it because it’s my heart. It fills me with joy.”
Classes are held three mornings per week on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 8:30-9:30 at First United Methodist Church in Broken Arrow. Free classes aren’t just for seniors; They are for all ages. The only thing Gerry required was that all attendees be vaccinated. “We’re trying to protect ourselves, but so are everyone else,” Gerry said.
Gerry isn’t the only member of the bodybuilding family. Her 88-year-old husband, Bill Dunbar, is a former runner-up. “Until about three years ago, I was in the Tulsa Run,” says Bill.
Now, Bill teaches a chair exercise class in the hall. “This class too, and it’s for people who can’t take my class now, not because of age, but because of physicality. It’s also a place where you can sit and talk to someone… and that’s important,” Gerry said.
You see, what’s happening here isn’t just fitness; Life is also being transformed through friendship.
“We formed bunco groups; we had parties, we just did all kinds of things together. Without Gerry, I wouldn’t know 99 percent of these people,” says Vivian Howard.
It’s a fitness community that’s making big strides, thanks to an 86-year-old grandma who never had a plan to act on her age.
For more information about the class and its location, click here.