A Day in the Life: Gert Altieri, Senior Fitness Instructor

Gert Altieri has been helping seniors stay in shape in North Branford for more than 10 years.

Gert Altieri first got involved in the fitness field after her last son was born in the 1960s. She said she’d gained a fair amount of weight and was looking for a way to work it off. She joined a program at the Guilford Community Center and loved exercising.

Gert, a now-retired teacher, extended her teaching into the fitness room, when her teacher at the Guilford Community Center retired and suggested Gert take over the class. She taught exercise classes for a number of years before taking a break. After she retired from teaching, she had the opportunity to get back into teaching exercise.

North Branford Patch: How did you get involved in teaching in North Branford?

Altieri: I had taught a lot of programs in Guilford but had let them drop because my grandchildren came along who kept me busy. They got a bit older and I had some time and Marcia Richardson [a friend from North Branford] had asked if I’d be interested in teaching exercise for seniors. She gave my name to [Recreation Director] Pam Gery and within a week, I had the job.

North Branford Patch: How often do you teach?

Altieri: I started teaching at the one day a week and I loved it. I was so happy to get back into it. The next think I knew we moved from the Senior Center to the Community Center with a huge room and fitness section and it really took off. It’s my second life after teaching 36 years so now I’m teaching at the Community Center on Mondays and Fridays and at the Senior Center on Tuesdays.


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North Branford Patch: How have you seen your class grow over the years?

Altieri: At one point there were 28 people in my class. The ladies range in age from 59 to 90. We have grown to be such a group. It’s what women need when they get to be older and retired. One of ladies in groups belongs to TOPS [Take Off Pounds Sensibly] and asked me to come as guest to show ladies some of exercises. They invited me back a few times and the lady in charge said they wanted to come to my class.

North Branford Patch: What do people enjoy about your classes?

Altieri: They love it because I play the music from our era. My grandson gives me some direction for some new music, too. We use weights, resistance bands and stretch in beginning. We work on endurance and they can move for 20 minutes and that is fantastic. We work on a lot of things that I know I need–upper body strength and leg strength.

North Branford Patch: What do you enjoy about teaching?

Altieri: The women–sometimes we meet after and have coffee at , that’s the fun part. We look out for each other. One woman said this has been the best thing that’s ever happened to her because she’s with a bunch of women who care about each other.

North Branford Patch: What other activities do you enjoy?

Altieri: I’m park of Joyful Singers, a musical group that’s part of the Guilford Community Center. We’ll actually be singing at Senior Appreciation Day on May 18 so that will be fun for me because I know a lot of the people who will be there. Mark Sullivan is a wonderful leader and it’s something I’ve always wanted to do.

North Branford Patch: What would you say to those who may be nervous to try an exercise class?

Altieri: I’d encourage them to come and visit and see what we do. My group is very friendly. You’d be amazed at how quickly people accept you and you move right in. It’s not just exercising, getting out, getting with people your age. It’s good for the mind, good for the soul, good for the body. 

For information on Altieri’s classes, contact the .


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