Teacher finds fun in fitness

The Baltimore Sun

Judy Maberry

Fitness coordinator, aquatic therapist and associate professor

Franklin Square Hospital Center, League for People with Disabilities, Community College of Baltimore County

Salary: $25,000

Age: 48

Years on the job: 17

How she got started: Maberry graduated from the University of Baltimore with a degree in recreation management. She later became certified in water fitness and aquatic therapy. She then went to work for Sheppard Pratt Health System as a lifeguard and teaching swimming for its therapeutic recreation program. About 17 years ago, she began teaching part time at the Community College of Baltimore County. Three years later, she added being a part-time fitness coordinator for Franklin Square Hospital Center and shortly after that began teaching classes at the League for People with Disabilities. This spring, Maberry finished her master's degree in education with a concentration in athletic programming from Goucher College.

Typical day: Maberry divides her week among various part-time jobs teaching fitness and exercise.

At Franklin Square she works for the community health education department. She trains volunteers to operate certain exercise programs at various senior centers. She also manages exercise groups at White Marsh and Eastpoint malls three mornings a week.

"It's mainly a senior population, although anybody is welcome and it's free," Maberry said of the mall walking program. She also works with a nutritionist and pediatrician at the hospital's Fit Families program, designed for families who want to lead a healthier lifestyle. Maberry runs the exercise and fitness-education portion one night a week.

As a teacher at the League three days a week, Maberry works with disabled adults in a wheelchair exercise program and aquatic therapy class. For the League's wellness center, which is open to all members of the community, she teaches an aquatic arthritis class. "One of the greatest things in my life is to be able to work there," she says.

Maberry also teaches aqua fitness, which is a credited class, two nights a week at the Dundalk campus of CCBC. And from January through May, she's a swim coach for the Baltimore City Special Olympics team.

What she wants people to know: "Exercise not only makes you feel better, but could also help you prevent illnesses."

Keep it upbeat: Maberry likes to keep exercise lighthearted and enjoyable. She encourages people to exercise in groups and usually offers a mix of music - much of it from the '70s - as a way to keep it fun.

Love for fitness: She credits her father. "We just grew up knowing to appreciate our health and fitness. You're given this one body and you need to take care of it."

The good: "I love the people I interact with. I feel if I can help them be a bit happier and healthier in their lives, then I'm doing OK."

The bad: Some people at the League can't participate in water activities because of their disabilities.

Philosophy on the job: "Make it fun. If you're laughing and talking while [exercising], then it makes all the difference."

Nancy Jones-Bonbrest

Special to The Sun

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