Well Talk With Avi Dresner
Ruth Smith & Regina Santamarina - http://www.pittsfieldfsc.com/

My family are part-time residents of the Berkshires and the Pittsfield Figure Skating Club is our home club. We spend all our weekends and most vacations here. All 3 of us skate: my husband, my daughter and myself. My husband was the first figure skater in the family; he was a teen when he first learned his jumps and spins. Jeannie, our daughter, is the best skater in the family; she) started when she was just 8 years old (she's now 18). I am the newest skater; I started 7 years ago, already in my 50's.

I am an internist by training. for 25 years, I was the director of employee health for the St Vincent Catholic Medical Centers in NYC. Although I am no longer in private practice, I've counseled many patients and employees over the years about the importance of physical activity as part of our daily lives. In fact, wellness counseling is one of my passions. Since I became a figure skater, I've touted the benefits of our aport as both a pleasant and exciting way to get exercise. In fact, I'm always trying to convince the parents at our club that they should join the club as skaters alongside the kids.

Interestingly, a few years ago at a women's health lecture at one of my internal medicine conferences, the discussion centered around how to get women approaching middle age to get more exercise (have you seen the studies that indicate middle age women need double the exercise of men just to keep their weight stable as they age?. The lectureres from Harvard pointed out that hip fracture in elderly women still ranks as about the 4th leading cause of death. The premise is largely that women stop doing physical sports in their 20's, eventually losing muscle tone to such an extent that when they take a bad step off a curb, they don't have the strength and balance to stop the fall and this results in hip fractures to a much larger extent than the ostoporosis that has been felt to be a major culprit. At any rate, these investigators felt that we need to find things women like to do to get them exercising and they suggested that skating and dancing are two great ways to give women strength and balance. After hearing that, I felt less odd at starting skating in my 50's.

Now my whole family works at the sport, skating several times each week and taking US figure skating tests as we accomplish new achievements in our abilities. My husband has competed at US Adult Nationals (you only compete against your level and your own age group). Our daughter loves to do show programs with the club where she can demonstrate her artistic side of skating. My husband and I have now joined the new adult Pittsfield Pinwheel Synchro Team and are finding it lots of fun - something we actually never expected.

Another aspect of figure skating that helped my family had to do with my daughter's learning differences. as a young child, whenever she encountered difficulties in learning new information, she would become frustrated and just shut down and refuse to try again. She had some natural ability at figure skating and enjoyed the feeling of skating. I immediately saw this as an opportunity to show her that some things are just not immediately possible - that no one gets it the first time. Figure skating is one of those things. The more you do it the better you get and it takes lots of repetition to accomplish the pretty jumps and spins but it's worth the effort to get the results.

Shows: 2011-01-03 2012-01-03