Local Retirement Centers Make Fitness Fun
Staying active can be challenging for many seniors, but it doesn’t have to be a dreaded activity. Retirement facilities in Lynchburg—Westminster Canterbury, The Williams Home and The Summit—are always striving to find ways to keep their residents engaged and excited about health and fitness.
When it comes to fitness, Westminster Canterbury, located on VES Road, offers something for everyone to enjoy.
“We have a heated saltwater pool and a spa,” said Denise Watts, wellness coordinator.
They also currently offer 25 fitness classes per week including Chair Yoga, HydroFit, Tai Chi for Health, Strong & Centered, Balance from Head to Toe, Movement Matters and many others.
“Our class schedule includes both land classes and pool classes,” said Watts. “We have a broad variety to try to meet everyone’s needs.”
Additionally, they offer several unique fitness options such as volleyball, pool volleyball and a walking club.
“We have three walks a month. We do one campus walk a month, and we also do a local trail walk a month, and an away walk,” said Watts. After the away walk, participants enjoy stopping somewhere for lunch before returning home.
“We also have our own nature trail here on campus, so we encourage them to use that on their own as well,” she said. Residents are also encouraged to participate in local community walks such as the Walk to End Alzheimer’s and the Out of Darkness Walk for mental health awareness.
This year Westminster Canterbury plans to host a “mind and body” week where they will focus on health and bring in experts from the community.
“[Staying active] keeps [seniors]healthier longer, keeps them moving, and keeps them going longer,” Watts said. “It helps their health in every way.”
As Debbie Callahan, vice president of marketing and development, explains, their fitness programs give residents a sense of comradery.
“We have classes of over 25 people at a time doing aerobics three times a week,” Callahan said. “They encourage one another, and that is so positive. Whether they can do all the repetitions or not is irrelevant, it’s the fact that they are there, they are participating.”
The Williams Home
The Williams Home, located on Langhorne Road, provides independent and assisted living services for women. Their facility is equipped with an exercise room containing a variety of equipment; residents are taught how to use everything properly in order to prevent injury. And since it is open 24 hours a day, this gives the women an opportunity to exercise whenever they desire.
Aside from the exercise room, residents are encouraged to stay active in other ways as well. “Ladies are encouraged to participate in the weekly exercise classes,” said Sheila Peters, marketing representative. Because as she explains, staying motivated to keep active can be challenging, especially when you live alone.
“Participating in a group exercise class is a social as well as a physical activity,” Peters said.
Twice a week, exercise classes are offered by a trained instructor. During the cold winter months, the women are still encouraged to keep active.
“The Home’s hallways are equipped with hand rails, which makes it conducive for ladies to walk especially during inclement weather,” Peters said. “The Home provides at least 14 hours of weekly activities including outings. Many of the daily activities are offered in various locations in The Home which promotes walking.”
They believe it is important for seniors to stay active because physical activity helps with digestion, sleep, weight control and mental alertness.
“The Williams Home, Inc. lovingly encourages the ladies to keep moving and remain active not only for their physical well-being, but also for their mental well-being,” Peters said.
The Summit, resting on 143 acres in Wyndhurst, provides a variety of fitness activities for its residents. Enjoy one of their walking trails, be adventurous and take a canoe out on the lake, or dance in a Zumba class. Regardless of what residents choose, staying active is encouraged.
“We have a wonderful campus with walking trails,” said Brenda Dixon, marketing director. “We actually just recently completed our walk around the lake.” The “Summit Lake Walk” is nearly a mile long and circles around the lake with “paved walkways and natural walking paths,” according to Dixon.
Since The Summit has a partnership with the Jamerson YMCA, located within walking distance from the retirement community, they do not have a need for a large exercise facility. However, they still have a small fitness center on campus that has equipment such as treadmills, NuSteps, free weights and stationary bikes.
“We also offer a lot of fitness classes,” Dixon said. Some of their classes include Zumba, chair exercises, Tai Chi and yoga.
“There’s a pretty good range of opportunities for group fitness,” Dixon said. Some of the classes offered can be modified to meet the resident’s individual needs.
“We definitely know it’s important for seniors to keep moving,” she said. In the spring, they are excited to be starting a walking group. Residents will set walking goals and can reach them by walking both inside and outside.
“Here at The Summit we offer something for everyone throughout all levels of care. The beautiful campus, the walking trails and a lot of outdoor opportunities including gardening, are all in addition to the group fitness programs,” Dixon said.