David Stone
Asteria Howard coaches free New York Road Runners Striders classes at the Senior Center.
Asteria Howard coaches free New York Road Runners Striders classes at the Senior Center.
© David Stone / Roosevelt Island Daily

Asteria Howard took over coaching Striders from her husband Sid, a legendary long distance runner, when the CBN/RI Senior Center recruited him for its own Balance program. Her holistic approach to fitness seemed perfect for a new challenge match, next week, January 10th, between Lisa and me. I'm determined to win this one.

When we last faced off, Lisa and I sat comfortably in Mindfulness Meditation with Prafulla. Lisa claimed the win, but I've argued that she out-meditated me only because she needed it more.

The thirstiest runner in the New York City Marathon drinks the most water at the next station, right? Or am I, as rumor has it, a sore loser?

And speaking of that, Asteria, an athlete who started out in Bolivia and became National Champion in several categories, has completed the New York City Marathon ten times. She knows something about fitness.

Asteria visits the CBN/RI Senior Center every Thursday at 10:00, coaching New York Road Runner's Striders, a free program that offers "walking sessions every week in senior centers, neighborhood facilities, and local parks.

"The NYRR Striders program aims to improve attitudes toward exercise and make running and walking more accessible for older adults."

Embracing an holistic approach, classes include "30-45 minutes of walking (indoor or outdoor) to build endurance levels; strength exercises, fitness activities and stretching movements to improve balance and flexibility; and active conversations on nutrition and best practices for healthy living."

After taking a look at me slumping in a chair at the Senior Center, Asteria said, "You should come to the class."

I guess I can use it, but to get started, I'll use a new fitness challenge to get me up and out the door next week: During the Striders class at 10:00 on January 10th, I'll challenge Senior Center Director Lisa Fernandez to compare stats on our Health apps. Whoever takes the most steps, as officially recorded on our phones, wins.

Lisa confidently accepted. So, why not join us? How do you line up in a fitness challenge that may lead to a new, fun weekly routine with Asteria?

If you're 60 or older, you're invited. See you at the Senior Center!