Stretching and Bending and Flex – Oh My!

Our first months at Willow Valley Communities (WVC) reminded us of our first adventure aboard a luxury cruise ship which featured an incredible array of entertainment, activity programs and several dining venues.  We wanted to experience it all—and not miss a single thing!  In our attempt to do it all, we felt like the squirrel who scampers, hops and zigzags in the middle of the road and can’t decide which direction to turn.  But having too many choices is a nice ‘problem’ to have!

And yes, just like returning from that first cruise, we noticed a few more pounds registering on the bathroom scale and we wanted to take care of that!  We didn’t want to gain the Freshmen Fifteen, we joked–a testimony to the great dining opportunities.   My husband Ed and I always want to maintain—and improve—our fitness. 

Before we arrived at WVC, we were quite disciplined.  We walked 3 miles almost every day and went to the local fitness center for a variety of 1-hour exercise programs three or four times a week.  In addition, we mowed our lawn, gardened and kept our house well maintained, inside and out.  We did this routine until we were heads-down focused on selling our house, downsizing, donating, and packing.  Those activities consumed our waking hours but, we reasoned, we were getting lots of physical exercise, albeit a different kind.

Throughout our first year here at WVC, we discovered there are no excuses for getting/staying in shape because there is a plethora of exercise and fitness programs that make our heads spin.  We scheduled an orientation for the impressive equipment in the Cultural Center fitness room.  We used that occasion to identify areas we want to tone/reduce/strengthen and the fitness team developed a personalized program for us to do that.

We find the campus ideal for walking—even in winter—and we’ve enjoyed fast-footing it into the heart of our nearby town, Willow Street.  We walk to the dentist and  primary care physician we’ve chosen at the end of the campus.  Getting to them is a mere 20-minute walk away—maybe even less when we walk through the next WVC community via wooden bridge and footpath—a lovely neighborhood touch.  There are also maps available with suggested campus walking routes with numbers of miles.

When we check the latest issue of the Renaissance magazine, we see that we have available to us—at no additional fee—regularly and frequently scheduled courses for Yoga, Balance, Tai Chi (three different levels), Zumba Gold, Core Power, Muscle Moves, Fitness Fusion, Pilates and Exer-Stretch.  One just needs to show up:  mats, towels, weights, balls, bands, etc., are all provided.  There are also aquatic classes:  Aquacize, Joints in Motion, Arthritis Aquatics, Competitive Water Volleyball, Deep-Water Volleyball and Deep-Water Aerobics.  In addition, we can register for other activities like scheduled hikes, dancing, fencing, etc.

My favorite class is Zumba Gold where we let loose and emulate the proverb to “dance like no one is watching.”  What fun—and what a workout!

After breakfast, Ed and I typically walk across the street (to the Cultural Center) to an exercise class or to use the fitness center; we are always motivated by fellow residents and instructors.  We’ve tried most of the fitness programs, have been appropriately challenged, and always leave the class happy that we attended.  The extremely competent fitness instructors are amazing:  they give clear directions and demonstrate each routine so that even newbies can follow along easily.  There’s always uplifting music to set the beat and most of us belt out our favorite refrains—like Rhinestone Cowboy.

For the residents’ convenience, each community has its own satellite exercise room so we don’t have to leave our building and can exercise on our own schedule and time frame.  We can even watch/participate in daily exercise programs in the comfort of our own homes—via the WVC TV Entertainment Channel.

Of course, one can choose to not participate in exercise for whatever reason—and that’s certainly ok!  But for those of us who want the opportunity and motivation—Willow Valley Communities is the place to be! 

By Jean Mitchell

Willow Valley Communities’ residents, Jean and Ed Mitchell moved from Gaithersburg, MD in September 2018.  They love being a member of the Spring Run community and have met some fascinating and inspiring people.  Their interests are travel, volunteering and preserving our environment.

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