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The Healthy Living Magazine

Kelly Ayris

By Benjamin Hubbert , ,

Kelly is participating in the Norma Jean Family Challenge. Here is her progress so far.

Name: Kelly Ayris

Age: 56

Location: Fruitland Park, Fla.

SMART Goal: Increase muscle flexibility

Since last May, Kelly Ayris has added a few new exercises to her regime, with the help of a physical therapist. However, she feels like time spent at work has caused her to lose ground. “I’m spending a lot of time at my desk, so I haven’t been keeping my muscles warm with movement,” she says. “Realizing I lost a little ground has caused me to make it up too quickly… I’ve had some muscle pulls and re-injured one of them.”

Her experiences have reminded her that increasing flexibility is a long-term goal, and pushing herself too far too quickly can be counterproductive. “I’m just trying to keep in the forefront of my mind that what I do daily establishes a pattern that will become a habit,” she says. “Discipline doesn’t come easily to anybody and you just have to make that daily choice.”

In December of last year, Kelly Ayris found that her usual stretching routine wasn’t enough to alleviate stiffness and discomfort in her joints and muscles. She enrolled in the Family Challenge in the hopes of expanding her stretching routine and improving her flexibility.

“Initially, I did some research,” she says. “I also talked with friends and family members who have a regular routine.” Once she’d developed a stretching routine of her own, Kelly began to see some improvement—but also ran into setbacks. “I pulled muscles in three different parts of my body because I was too aggressive,” she says. These experiences taught her that she would need to strengthen some muscles as well as stretch them, and she now uses a Theraband [a stretchy fitness band] to warm up and exercise her muscles. As she refined her routine, Kelly began to see results: “I’ve got a better range of motion, less stiffness, and I feel better overall.”

Kelly’s experiences so far have led her to favor a slow but steady approach to her health goals. “You need to have a regular, gentle approach,” she says. “Just stick with your plan and don’t get discouraged if you have a delayed result because the results will come.”