Physical therapist Emily Stanton understands the value of people of all ages, but when she noticed a few years ago that she wasn’t able to do some things “the way she used to,” she shifted her focus to the 60 and older population.
In 2019, Stanton became a board-certified geriatric specialist, and she started her own business - Ally Wellness
- on Aug. 3 of 2020.
“Like everything else in life, we prepare for a career, prepare to have children, we prepare to buy a house,” she says. “Now that I’ve been doing (physical therapy) for 20 years, I see just how subtly these changes start, but it really could be another 10 to 15 years before they become problematic.”
Stanton ran a newspaper ad and landed her first client in October 2020. Her business has progressed from there.
She later offered a functional fitness program at the Springfield Country Club
and now offers classes three mornings a week at the Behind the Curtain Dance Studio
This October she will start teaching a class at United Senior Services
“It’s vital that you keep the aging community moving and engaged; they are your volunteers, your transportation drivers, they care for grandkids; imagine what would happen if we quit thinking they were important,” says Stanton. “Keeping seniors involved in your community ensures the longevity of your community.”
Stanton is also working on an education series for Clark and surrounding counties titled: “What to Expect When You Didn’t Expect to Live This Long.”
“I have a sense of humor. I want it to be fun and lighthearted and not scary,” she says. “This isn’t doom and gloom, this is putting you back in charge of aging, independence and confidence, and being able to participate in the community.”
While her focus is the aging population, Stanton does not discriminate; one of her classes includes a 47-year-old former soccer player.
“She noticed that she can’t do anything really hard and was also finding she can’t do what she used to,” says Stanton. “She needed something to keep her aware and accountable of balance, flexibility and strength.”
Stanton says aging really starts in your thirties, though people don’t consider themselves “old” at that age.
“We are hard on our bodies, and we start feeling some of that,” Stanton says. “The question is ‘Do I move as well as I want to?’ And if the answer is no, I encourage (you) to come to a class and see if there is a takeaway.”
Stanton’s gentle fitness classes work the large muscle groups and focus on strength, balance, flexibility, and a posture-breathing component.
Clients have told her the classes offer “the right amount of everything.”
“I’ve got a good program and I modify exercises when needed,” she says. “I want everyone to feel challenged. I really do think there is something for everyone.”
Stanton also offers private wellness sessions for clients who want to focus on specific areas of need, such as pain management.
“I take my time. I feel like my hands are gifts. I just help people by taking my time and getting to know you as a person,” she says. “You have to trust the person who is caring for you. I love to educate and answer questions. No one wants to be in pain or debilitated.”
While she was born and raised in Champaign County, Stanton says Springfield is close enough to home.
“There is a large number of seniors in Springfield that could benefit from my services,” she says. “Seniors in any community are important … it mattered enough to me to keep this community lively and independent.”