Senior fitness programs at Ardenwoods retirement lifstyle community in Arden, North Carolina, are just the ticket to health and well-being. In the resort-style senior living community just 15 minutes from charming Asheville and Hendersonville, Ardenwoods offers a wide array of amenities and fitness options to keep seniors healthy and engaged.
Group Classes for All Interests and Abilities
Through our senior fitness programs Ardenwoods offers between 10 and 12 exercise classes throughout the week, which are taught by one of four certified fitness instructors. Land classes include Tai Chi , balance classes, and a higher-energy functional fitness class, among others. Three pool classes offer a variety of everything from stretching to higher energy aerobics, including a “water” Tai Chi class. All water classes are taught in the four-foot deep therapeutic swimming pool.
Felicia Kimzey, Ardenwoods Wellness Navigator, said classes average about 10 to 15 residents, which allows instructors to modify classes or tailor more easily to each individual. The fitness instructors at Ardenwoods are certified in several different areas. “The instructors also modify all classes to include both sitting and standing, so that anyone who wants to can participate.” She added that an instructor is also available to meet one-on-one with residents to create personalized fitness regimens.
Uniquely Ardenwoods Senior Fitness Programs
A class unique to Ardenwoods is Foot Fitness. According to Felicia, this is not something senior communities typically offer. This class is a mixture of massage and fitness whereby the instructor works with pressure points, nerves, and bones in the feet by having the resident put their foot on a ‘foot saver’ or a ‘foot waker’ for different amounts of time and with different pressure.
“I’ve even done it, and it’s super beneficial to anybody who participates in it. There is an immediate difference,” said Felicia. “Many residents have claimed it helps with lifelong foot problems, with neuropathy, with issues from diabetes. It’s nice to hear how one 45-minute class has reduced so much pain and nuisance for them.”
Adjunct to our senior fitness programs, residents at Ardenwoods have a great input into their own fitness condition and the classes offered. Wellness Committee Resident Ambassadors will talk with other residents then meet with Felicia once a month to discuss what residents are saying or asking for.
“Foot Fitness, yoga and Tai Chi classes all came from residents asking for them,” said Felicia. “An instructor will run a trial period to see what kind of attendance we get, and if there is a good interest, we’ll make it regular as long as residents are interested in it. If residents don’t feel vested in their own fitness programs, they’ll be less likely to participate.”
Building Friendships While Staying Fit
“I’ll often see residents wait outside each other’s doors to walk to class together. For some of them fitness classes are their social gathering for the day or week,” shared Felicia. “And if someone doesn’t show up for a class, they will either go to that person or come to me to check on them. So it’s nice that they keep each other accountable.”
Ardenwoods also offers a chair yoga and a chair dancing DVD class, which are run by residents. “A small group of residents will come to me and ask me to put in the DVD, and then they will do their own class. The days and times are pretty flexible to when they want to do it, as long as a room is available,” said Felicia.
For those who like to walk and get fresh air, there are weekly group outings to the nearby arboretum and parks. Groups of residents also like to get together and walk around the Ardenwoods campus. Those looking for a little more adventure often walk along one of the community’s three scenic trails.
“Each one has a name, and goes through different terrain,” explained Felicia. “There’s the Bird Trail, which goes a bit through the forest, the Garden Trail that goes around our resident-maintained gardens, and Nel’s Path, which is named after a resident who used to live here. He helped create the path while in his 90s. It’s our longest and most intense path at about .26 miles one way.”
Benefits of Staying Fit
Staying fit is important at any age, but as you get older you deal with a multitude of challenges that affect everyone differently, said Felicia. “By staying physically fit, strong and flexible, and healthy, the easier we can overcome those challenges. And by doing that, you are also feeling more in control of yourself, which gives you a better mental outlook and you can maintain a better quality of life overall.”
Felicia shared the success story of one particular resident who was struggling to walk up and down hallways with a walker. “He took some pool classes – particularly the balance class – as well as the foot class, and did some independent swimming in the pool. He is able to walk upright, without a walker now. We gave him the Wellness Award for the month because of his success.”
To learn about how you can live an engaged lifestyle at Ardenwoods independent living community, get in touch with us at 828-684-7330.
Harvard Health Publishing ~ The Health Benefits of Tai Chi