Ziemann provides water therapy at fitness center
By Holly Neumann
After seeing first-hand how helpful water therapy can be, the Weyauwega resident sought the help of the Iola-Scandinavia Community Fitness & Aquatic Center.
“I needed a place to go where the water temperature was 86 to 90 degrees,” Stockard said. “I was not able to find a hotel that would do that, so a friend told me about (the center). Funny thing is, I had donated money to help build this place and I never even thought of it.”
Stockard now comes to the facility three days a week for one-on-one water therapy and praises the efforts of her personal trainer, Cheryl Ziemann.
“Cheryl helps me remain as mobile and as independent as I can be,” Stockard said. “If it weren’t for her, I would not be able maintain what I can do.”
Together, they work on walking, noodle exercises, stretching, resistance, dumbbell work and arm and leg strengthening.
“I have had MS for 21 years,” Stockard said. “The last five, I have started needing more care. Because of Cheryl, I am able to transfer myself from a chair to chair, am able to stand, dress myself and do other limited activities of daily living.”
This type of therapy means everything to Stockard.
“Cheryl is a very important part of my care team, which includes three specialized doctors, a physical therapist, a stretch therapist and a medical massage therapist,” she said.
Ziemann has an undergraduate degree in health promotion and wellness from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point and a master’s degree in adaptive physical education from UW-La Crosse. She has been working at the fitness center since 2001.
“I’m very blessed to have a job that encompasses the quote, ‘Find a job you love and you will never have to work a day in your life,’” she said. “That is truly how I feel waking up each morning. The patrons and co-workers are more than acquaintances, they are an extended part of my family and makes going to work more like going to a second home.”
Health and fitness has always been a very important aspect of Ziemann’s life.
“It has helped me lead a happy and rewarding life,” she said. “I am fortunate enough to have a job that allows me to spread my passion of health and fitness to others.”
Ziemann works with other members of Stockard’s care team to adjust their water therapy session accordingly for the best possible therapy outcome.
“Cheryl’s patience, her personal interaction and her genuine caring and encouragement goes above and beyond what her duties are as a personal trainer,” Stockard said. “She wants to bring out the best possible outcome, physically as well as mentally.”
Ziemann wears several hats at the center, according to its director, Tim Welch.
“Cheryl is a program director, trainer and instructor,” he said. “She helps develop new ideas for class offerings.”
Ziemann also teaches several types of fitness classes, from Zumba and Boot Camp to Water Aerobics, in addition to the personal training and physical therapy.
“Cheryl makes people feel better,” Welch said. “She has a great personality and she makes people laugh and enjoy their workout. Taking care of people is one of her strong points and she does that extremely well.”
Carol Lea and Melba Carey of Amherst agree.
“We do water aerobics and Cheryl definitely keeps us moving,” Lea said. “Even when Kate (Korb) is teaching the class, Cheryl is always in the background doing something.”
“It’s hard not to move when Cheryl is up there,” Carey said. “She lives the music. She cannot stand still.”
Both said Ziemann goes above and beyond for the people she works with.
“She thinks about us and finds options that work for everyone, even with an ailment,” Lea said.
“She gets to know the people, she notices when we are not there,” Carey said. “That smile of hers goes on forever.”
Ziemann is a very important part of the success of the center, Welch said.
“Her willingness to work so hard with others and as a team with our staff makes us successful,” he said. “She can develop relationships with all ages and is very giving, which comes through with everyone she contacts.”
“She often tells me, ‘We can get you through this, Shelley, we can get you stronger,’” Stockard said. “She believes in me and I believe in her.”
“It is very humbling and gratifying that she feels that I make such a difference in her life,” Ziemann said. “It is her determination and will that often inspires me daily to live my life to the fullest.”