For 24 years, Sherry Elliott has been teaching fitness classes. But she’s always done it in a way that stands out to her students.

“It’s not just a class, it’s my family,” Elliott said after teaching a recent Forever Fit class at the Redmond Athletic Club. ”The reward is seeing people get stronger, more active and reaching their abilities. There is an athlete in all of us, we’ve just got to bring it out.”

Elliott, 71, plans to step away from regular instructing in the coming months.

“I’m old,” she says with a smile. “I have other endeavors I want to get to. I’ll still work out here, I can sub in for classes, but I’ve had enough of the stage for 24 years.”

Elliott has taught Forever Fit for the last 19 of those years. The class is a slowed-down version of high-interval workouts, drawing people from ages 18 to 92.

But just because many of the participants are seniors doesn’t mean it’s easy.

“We’ve had 20-year-olds in here that couldn’t do it,” said Greg Seaton, 65, a friend and student of Elliott’s.

Elliott works with everyone to help them succeed.

While she has taught other classes in the past, she’s stuck to instructing two Forever Fit sessions each week in recent years.

Bobbie Welch, 76, has taken Elliott’s classes for nearly as long as Elliott has taught them. She said others have been coming as long as she has.

Elliott is a great instructor because she always makes sure students are using the proper body form, Welch said.

“I’m going to miss Sherry,” Welch said. “She’s very explicit on what muscles you need to be using.”

Elliott, who works in hair removal as an electrologist at her regular job, has had setbacks of her own.

She said she suffered a brain aneurysm 10 years ago and was only able to stand and give instructions and not workout with the class for a while.

“God is good to me and never left me,” she said. “This class supported me. These are my brothers in Christ and my sisters in Christ. They stood with me.”

Feeling better afterward is what Welch enjoys about the Elliott’s class.

“It’s the best antidepressant in the world,” she said.

— Reporter: 541-548-2186,