Wellness pros helps community members stay active
Each January, fitness centers and gyms across the country reach record attendance as visitors hope to keep the #1 New Years' resolution—getting physically fit. Fortunately, for community members at Greenspring, a senior living community developed and managed by Erickson Living in Springfield, Va., the on-site, state-of-the-art fitness center and expert wellness staff, encourage and promote fitness habits, regardless of age or physical ability.
“It's never too late to start an exercise program, no matter your age or physical condition,” says Brad Hibbs, Greenspring's wellness manager. “We start everyone off slowly, ensuring that no one works out in a way that causes injury. And, in doing so, we help create a positive habit.”
Nothing stops progress
As a result of COVID-19, the last year presented new challenges to residents committed to maintain their physical well-being. However, the dedicated wellness team was quick to respond by finding new ways for community members to stay active and healthy.
“We creatively sought ways to build physical activity into daily routines,” says Juanita Kuntz, wellness coordinator. “I believe our community members will look back on this time as a time when they learned how to improve their physical and mental health, from the convenience of their home.”
Greenspring exercise classes that typically run on Greenspring-TV, the community's closed-circuit television station, were aired more frequently throughout the day, allowing community members the opportunity to build workouts into their new daily routines.
“Our efforts are directly aligned with the World Health Organization's (WHO) ‘Be Active Campaign,' designed to keep people active despite necessary precautionary measures resulting from COVID-19,” says Kuntz. “I have heard from so many residents who say these videos were lifesavers.”
According to the WHO, “Regular physical activity benefits both the body and mind. It can reduce high blood pressure; help manage weight; and reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, and various cancers—all conditions that can increase susceptibility to COVID-19. In addition, physical activity improves bone and muscle strength and increases balance, flexibility, and fitness, preventing falls and injuries.”
“During the months of staying home, my wife Lynn and I exercised regularly,” says Roy O'Connor. “One of two main ways we exercised, from early April through September, was getting outside and taking a long walk for about 45 minutes every day. Secondly, we followed one of the recorded video exercise programs produced by our fitness center. We chose, Walking with Juanita, as it is a good cardio and stretching, 30-minute video. We did it together, three times per week.”
This physical activity is proven to help keep residents healthy. According to a 2020 study published in the Journal of Sport and Health Science, “Physical activity has a positive effect on immune competence. In addition, active people are less likely to present symptoms of upper respiratory illness.”
Following all safety protocols, residents can also enjoy the Greenspring fitness center and pool. “We ask our residents to make appointments to use the fitness or aquatic center, as well as register for our exercise classes,” says Hibbs. “Our staff follows stringent occupancy guidelines, social distancing, mandatory mask wearing, and infection control/disinfecting protocol.
Greenspring community member Joe Corso has enjoyed returning to his fitness center workouts. “The fitness center is excellent,” he says. “The wellness team does an excellent job providing a variety of classes and working with residents one-on-one.”
Both staff and residents look forward to the 2021 opening of the new Greenspring fitness and aquatics center. These new, larger additions, will allow for more residents to safely return to the exercises they love. In the meantime, Hibbs, Kuntz, and the entire wellness team encourage community members to continue making fitness a top priority.
“So many people tell me they never thought, in a million years, that they would be working out, and now, they can't imagine not having exercise in their lives,” says Juanita. “The hardest part is getting started, taking the leap. But once you arrive, you will have so much fun, all while learning the tools to improve your physical fitness and overall health.”
To learn more about the active lifestyle at Greenspring, please visit www.GreenspringCommunity.com or call 703-913-1200.
About Greenspring: Greenspring, one of 20 continuing care retirement communities developed and managed by Erickson Living®, is situated on a scenic 58-acre campus in Springfield, Virginia. The not-for-profit community of more than 2,000 residents and 1,000 employees is governed by its own board of directors, affiliated with National Senior Campuses, who provide independent financial and operational oversight of the community. Additional information can be found at GreenspringCommunity.com.
Photo Caption: With help from Greenspring's community television station, Juanita Kuntz provides community members a chance to engage in classes from the comfort of their own homes.
Photo Credit: Kelly Shue
Written by Kelly Shue