Love of exercise leads to lasting friendship

Anna Koon

When they initially went to Boston Pilates on Centre Street near the monument, all Maria Ganak (pronounced “Mariah”) and Ruth Tenofsky expected to get was exercise.

“I’m of an age when one starts to get creaky, and I was getting really creaky,” says Tenofsky, who began taking classes at a facility in Brookline after a friend encouraged her to try Pilates. “My knees were starting to bother me, and my back was killing me—the whole nine yards. So… I started taking Pilates.”

Ganak went to Boston Pilates after giving up on gyms: “I’d join them and go for a couple of months. I can’t stand being cooped up in them. So, [Boston Pilates] is perfect.” At the studio they got the toning, lengthening and strengthening Pilates provides, but they also found something more—a strong friendship.

The two met while taking a group class in early 2006. Ganak, a former JP resident, had been attending classes at Boston Pilates since November, 2004. She first learned about Pilates through her neighbor, the original owner of the JP studio.

Tenofsky had just moved to the area. The process of relocating had forced her to take a hiatus from Pilates, during which she says she became “creaky” again. Once settled in JP, she was anxious to continue her Pilates regimen, so she went to Boston Pilates.

The two began getting to know one another and discovered they have the same sense of humor and similar backgrounds. Tenofsky said they “talked before, during and after [class].” Ganak adds that the friendship “just sort of developed over time. We would sit outside and talk.” Finally they decided to have dinner together with their husbands after finishing an evening workout.

Over the past year their friendship has deepened. They often go out as couples or just the two of them. They are pleased that their husbands, Frank and Steve also enjoy each other’s company.

In addition to Pilates, Ganak walks her dog, a Weimaraner named Moses, twice a day. Tenofsky says her fitness regimen is not as structured. When asked how Pilates has affected her she says, “Look at me. I can move!” And when asked about Boston Pilates she adds, “I love it here. I love the instructors.”

Tenofsky says she has found it difficult to make new friends as she grows older and that it is easy to fall into a rut—doing the same activities, talking about the same topics. So her friendship with Ganak has been nice. Tenofsky and Ganak schedule almost all of their Pilates classes together, taking up to three classes weekly. Often the pair can be seen sitting in their fitness apparel on the wall surrounding the Civil War monument that divides Centre and South Streets, chatting up for over an hour after finishing a workout.

The author works with Boston Pilates.

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