Heather Durham, Windsor Run's New Fitness Manager, Provides Options for Everyone

By Kelly Shue
January 2, 2024
Heather Durham is the new fitness manager at Windsor Run, the Erickson Senior Living community located in southeast Charlotte.

Windsor Run, the Erickson Senior Living community in Matthews, N.C., is happy to announce that Heather Durham has been appointed as fitness manager!

Durham brings more than 15 years of experience working as a fitness instructor and personal trainer, primarily with seniors.  

"Working with seniors is truly a passion of mine," Durham says. "I began teaching 'Silver Sneakers' classes at Lifetime Fitness in 2009. At the time, I was one of only three instructors certified to teach those classes. I've always found older adults to be uniquely dedicated to their personal fitness. I find that to be refreshing."

Full speed ahead

Arriving at Windsor Run last spring, Durham dove right into meeting residents and developing classes to meet their needs.

"I started with aqua exercises as well as strength and stability classes," she says. "What struck me right away was how enthusiastic Windsor Run residents are when it comes to their health and wellness. In such a short time, our programs have taken off."

Currently, Durham leads 14 group exercise classes a week, but she hopes to increase that number this year--with the addition of a new fitness coordinator.

"The demand for classes and exercise opportunities is incredibly strong. There are always people in the fitness center," she notes. "In fact, we've outgrown the space for our group exercise classes. To accommodate the larger class size, we've moved locations--and are still growing!"

Something for everyone

Perhaps the biggest reason for the popularity of the fitness and wellness classes is Durham's dedication to providing options for everyone, regardless of experience or ability.

"I believe that focusing on health and fitness promotes longevity and great quality of life," she says. "As a result, we offer something for everyone, no matter what you've done in the past or your level of conditioning. And it is never, ever too late to start!"

For those who are hesitant, Durham suggests starting by doing something small every day, like walking a certain distance through the community's climate-controlled walkways, which connect all the buildings on campus.  

"I just don't want residents to feel intimidated," she explains. "And once you're ready to join a class, sign up for what you feel comfortable with."

All are welcome

Durham also stresses the importance of listening to your body.

"We can modify all of our exercises," she explains. "I really feel this has encouraged residents to come into the fitness center and join our classes. We are a judgement-free zone! I tell residents, 'You are here to do something that is good for you, no matter the difficulty.'"

Ensuring the safety of all residents, Durham provides personalized equipment orientations when someone is visiting the fitness center for the first time.

"We talk about goals and what you can do to get started," she says. "I show residents how to use and operate our various exercise machines. We then set up a baseline program with their own individual settings, which we keep records of at the fitness center. It really helps residents feel confident."

Durham's dedication to the community extends to Piedmont Overlook, Windsor Run's continuing care neighborhood.  

"We are all one family!" she says. "At Piedmont Overlook, we offer a 'Sit and Be Fit' class, and attendance just keeps growing. The residents who come love it, telling me how excited they are to come to class."

Eager to help

When she's not helping retirees live better lives, Durham enjoys spending time with her husband Mike and her two children, Ty and Taryn.

"We like to travel, spend time at the beach, and cheer for the Pittsburgh Steelers," she says, despite her love for North Carolina. "I've lived in the Charlotte area since 2008. My parents moved to nearby Monroe from Pittsburgh last year."

Since New Year's resolutions bring more residents into the fitness center, Durham looks forward to the opening of Windsor Run's second fitness center and pickleball court later this year.

"With new construction and the recent opening of Fullwood Ridge, our newest residence building, I'm excited to help even more Windsor Run residents live healthier, more active lives," she says. "In the short time since I arrived, I've noticed improvement in the residents who come to class or the fitness center regularly. They have better balance, greater strength, and improved stamina. It's wonderful to see!"

To learn more about senior living at Windsor Run, request your free brochure to get the scoop on amenities, floor plans, and so much more.