Despite unexpected changes — including a two-month cancellation and location switch — Cherle Poulson’s tone and stretch class in Moscow still draws nearly 40 dedicated students three times per week.

Wednesday in East City Park, Paulson was once again leading dozens through their paces. The class, part of the City of Moscow’s Parks and Recreation program, uses elements of yoga and Pilates to target core muscles and increase flexibility and strength.

Poulson has taught exercise courses in the Moscow-Pullman area for more than 30 years, and she said her wonderful students combined with her love of staying active keep her motivated.

“It’s just a really close-knit group,” she said. “My students are really special to me, every single one of them. I’ve taught a lot of them for years.”

Moscow’s Sue Nelson has been attending the class on and off for three years. She said the class has given her a way to stay active when she’s needed it most.

“This is a very important class for me because I’m coming off a total knee replacement. It helped me get ready for that, and now it’s helping me recover from that,” she said. “It’s a chance to get outdoors and socialize while maintaining social distancing.”

Stretch and Tone currently meets from 9-10 a.m. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays in the park.

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the class was held in the Hamilton Indoor Recreation Center. After a two-month cancellation because of the gym’s inability to accommodate social distancing protocols, Poulson and Moscow Parks and Recreation Supervisor Greg Morrison decided to try out an outdoor venue for the class.

That change in scenery didn’t scare off Nelson and her dedicated classmates.

“I think it’s great that Parks and Rec has come up with a venue for us to keep exercising, because most of us are over 50,” she said. “It’s important for us to keep moving, so it’s really good they found this venue for us to exercise in.”

Along with providing a space to exercise, Poulson’s welcoming approach to teaching has kept her students coming back.

“She’s very personable and she can help you if you have special needs, or help you find a different way to modify the exercise you’re doing, if you need that,” Nelson said. “She picks out great exercise music and she’s always got a smile on her face.”

The next session of Tone and Stretch class is scheduled to begin on Aug. 24 and last through Oct. 9.

For more information including fees and signup information, visit

“If anyone’s interested, they can sign up,” Poulson said. “We always want new people to join us.”

Ellen Dennis can be reached at (208) 883-4632 or by email at

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