Water exercises put less stress on the joints making it a perfect exercise for seniors. The water acts as a form of resistance, so strength exercises can be performed in the pool without heavy weights. Flexibility, balance, bone density and cardiovascular functions are increased while muscle-loss is decreased. Water workouts are a perfect alternative to exercising at the gym. Have you tried a water class yet?
This week, we did an Aqua Fitness Question and Answer session with Kari Richie, our Wellness Center Director.
Can you give us a short description of the classes offered at the Springmoor pools?
Aqua Basic – 45 minutes of fundamental water exercises to improve strength, range of motion, and balance.
Aqua Challenge – 45 minutes of challenging water exercises with a strong emphasis on cardiovascular endurance.
Aqua Free Time – The pool is supervised by a Health & Fitness Staff Member, allowing the residents to swim, walk or exercise at their own pace.
What level of difficulty is each class?
Aqua Challenge is in our “C” category, making it the highest level of difficulty. Modifications can be provided for different needs.
Aqua Basic is considered a “B” category… not as intense or fast paced.
Aqua Free Time is great for those who are motivated and like to exercise on their own.
Is one better than another for sore muscles or arthritis or other ailments? Do the physical therapy instructors also help?
Aqua Basic is the best option for those who have arthritis, chronic pain, or starting to exercise after a joint surgery or injury.
Physical Therapists do not teach classes but they can provide Aquatic Therapy for patients in the facility.
Water volleyball is a new monthly resident activity. Does the Wellness staff play too? Do you have an audience/cheering section?
The staff participates with the residents and we have a lot of fun!!! Cheering sections are welcome. We laugh and get a good workout while playing. (We don’t keep score.)
Lap swim – when, where and who?
Residents can lap swim during Aqua Free Time: Mon/Wed/Fri from 9:00 – 10:00 am or Mon/Wed from 1:30 – 2:30 pm.
Residents can use the pool on their own during non-programming hours. We strongly encourage the buddy rule.
Which resident swims the most laps (each day, each week)?
John Neal swims the most laps at one time. He swims a minimum of a mile three days a week (72 lengths plus another 6 to 8 laps just to be sure he counted correctly). Don & Jane Priess win the most consistent award. They come early in the morning and do their own routine.
Swimming in North Village – is this smaller pool just for aerobics? Anything else?
The Fitness Staff provides an Aqua Basic class in the NV Pool on Tues/Thurs at 9:15 am. A resident led group meets at 6:30 am on Tues/Thurs/Sat.
Some residents will use the pool on their own time to do their home exercise routine.
Time for play in the pool with grandchildren – how does this work?
Residents can enjoy spending time with their family while using the pool. We have several families who take advantage of this and they have so much fun! The rules are: residents must be present with their guests in the pool area at all times. We currently do not have “guest hours.” Residents may bring their guests any time there isn’t a scheduled program. Residents have first priority of the pool area.
Do residents do laps with kick boards or other equipment for lap swims?
Some residents swim laps with kick boards and others use the noodles or aqua dumbbells while water walking.
The hot tub and spa – tell us about this Wellness Center amenity.
The spa is popular after the Aqua classes as part of their cool down and relaxation time. It also becomes social time as they sit and relax with the jets on, talking and laughing with their friends. Some people only come to use the spa because of joint pain.
What is the most popular class? Why?
Aqua Challenge is the most popular class because it provides a good cardio and strength workout for all levels. Those who like the challenge can push themselves to their limit and those who like to take it easy can go at a slower pace and modify some of the movements.
What is the best class for beginners?
Aqua Basic is the best because it is slower paced and focuses on strength, range of motion, and balance.
What is the best class for life-long swimmers?
Aqua Challenge or Aqua Free Time
What hours is the pool open? Are there any special dos and don’ts?
The pool is open from 5:00 am – 10:00 pm. The programming hours are listed on the Fitness Calendar in the back of the monthly Springtimes. Hydration is important! Even though you feel like you’re not working as hard, you still need to drink plenty of water before and after your exercise in the water. It’s even more important to be hydrated if you spend time in the spa because of the warmer temperature. Always get out of the water if you experience dizziness, cramping, or chest pain.
Do any of the Springmoor Fitness Instructors have a swimming background?
Becky Boulo is our head Aquatic Instructor. Swimming has been a big part of her life. She taught swimming lessons all through college and even taught Swim 101 at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks. Becky ran summer camps for the Aleut and Yupik Indians in Northern Alaska Villages through a program to help children learn to swim to reduce the rate of drowning. Becky also taught Aqua Fitness classes in the 1980’s when it first became popular. When she moved to North Carolina, Becky helped start the Summer Swim Team in her subdivision where her daughter started at the age of 5 and is now a collegiate swimmer at the University of Idaho. Becky has been teaching at Springmoor for over 5 years!
The rest of the fitness staff holds various certifications and helps teach some of the aquatic classes.
“Laughter activates the body’s natural relaxation response. It’s like internal jogging, providing a good massage to all internal organs while also toning abdominal muscles.” (Dr. Gulshan Sethi, Thoracic and Cardiac Surgeon at the Tucson Medical Center and University of Arizona Medical Center.)
Have you had your dose of laughter today?
Laughter is contagious – just hearing a laugh will make you smile and want to join in the fun.
Laughter boosts immunity – it increases immune cells and infection-fighting antibodies, therefore improving your resistance to disease.
Laughter helps you relax and recharge – it stimulates circulation and aids in muscle relaxation.
Carol Burnett, I Love Lucy, Spike Jones, and a good joke will all make you laugh. And that’s just what the doctor has ordered. A smile, a little giggle, or a great big belly laugh will enhance your intake of oxygen-rich air. Your heart, lungs and muscles will be stimulated with the increase of endorphins and your body will be energized. Studies show that laughter really is the best medicine! Continue reading →
Now that you have retired, what are you doing with all of your free time? The Administration for Community Living has declared this Older American Month and is asking the same question. They are challenging us to Age Out Loud: Are you taking charge? Are you striving for wellness? Are you focusing on your independence? Are you advocating for yourself and others?
We ask these questions to one of our newest residents, Jan Hagarty. She toured the Springmoor Community with her son and her daughter-in law. They live in the area and thought it would be a great place for her to really retire. Really, meaning better weather and closer to her family. The words, slowing down are not in her vocabulary.
Jan and her husband raised two boys in the Northern Virginia area. When their youngest was only five, they decided as a family that they should have a group project to help others. As a nurse, administrator, volunteer, mother and teacher, she describes herself more as a server than a taker. Teaching their boys this lesson was important to the Hagarty family.
Their youngest son, Kevin, suggested they become a foster family. He wanted one of his classmates to come and live with them. The idea was hatched and 21 children later; the family has been a strong advocate for foster parenting and adoption. Their seventh foster child, Marvin, came to them when he was only five days old. He was adopted into their family at age two.
When Jan and her husband decided to leave the hectic life-style and traffic congestion in the DC area, they moved to the mountains of West Virginia. Her husband was quick to say, “we are going to volunteer, we are going to be involved and we are going to make a difference in our new community.”
Jan has kept these lessons with her as she has made her move to Springmoor. She arrived in mid-March. Step One: get involved! She took the Springtimes activity book and signed up for every activity that she could. She tried the lectures, she tried the outings, she tried the exercise classes, and she tried the art classes. The list was long but she knew that if she didn’t step out, she would be sitting in her chair and reading all day.
Striving for Wellness
Reading all day sounds like fun but not to a great way to stay active and healthy. She volunteered to work in the library as another way to surround herself with books. She has joined the Springmoor tai chi class and the yoga class. These additions have been great for her joints and her movement. She is feeling better than ever before!
Focusing on Independence
Not only is she jumping in to activities on campus but she is also learning her way around the city of Raleigh. Starting with the surrounding neighborhoods, she has found a church, an abundance of grocery stores and many new places to eat and shop. She hopes involvement in the church will enable her to find volunteer jobs in the community. She wants to enjoy all that her new city has to offer. Continue reading →
“As a full-body workout is optimal for all over muscle-growth, puzzle building can be considered a full-brain workout. The brain is comprised of two sides, the left and right. The right side is responsible for emotions, creativity and intuitive thought, while the left side is the logical, orderly and systematic component.
When you build puzzles, both sides are forced to communicate and work together, thus increasing cognitive function. You also give your occipital lobe a workout, which is the part of the brain that matches colors and shapes. Exercising the entire brain in this manner helps ward off future cognitive decline.” -The Alternative Daily
Puzzle building also increases visual perception and coordination of muscles. Children start early with large-piece puzzles to help with motor skills and problem solving. As we get older, puzzles become more difficult with smaller pieces and more detailed photographs. Jigsaw puzzles are a great workout for our short-term memories. Recalling the shapes and pieces as you scan through your puzzle and then to the pile of pieces, deciding which piece to try next, helps build muscle memory.
Residents of Springmoor will also tell you the puzzle table is great way to meet new friends and catch up on today’s news. On almost every floor of the campus you will find at least one, if not two, puzzles in the works. There are groups that meet in the morning after exercise class and groups that gather around the tables after dinner. There are some groups that have trays and separate pieces by color or shape and some that spread everything out on an additional table. You will find often find someone’s pet nestled under the table too.
As residents gather for “just a few minutes” they find they can’t leave the table until they find “just one more piece.” Time together is the best part about puzzle making. Everyone feels a sense of accomplishment as the last piece is put in place. And afterwards, no one wants to take it apart! Several puzzles have been glued together, framed and are hanging above the tables.
Peggy Blackburn, Eunice Bland and Pat Gessner are often found at their corner table on the first floor. The 2000 piece puzzle they recently completed of Cinque Terre, Italy was even more fun when they discovered that Eunice’s daughter and her husband had visited one of the restaurants on the mountainside. The colors were vivid and the pieces were small making the completion even more exciting when it all came together.
Ann Curren not only works flat puzzles but 3-D puzzles as well. When Leah Willis, our Residents Life Director, spotted her new style, she quickly ordered some for an afternoon activities class. They were a huge hit! A new dimensional challenge is added to your problem solving skills when you attempt this style. Not only do you need to find the pieces that fit together but also you must build the puzzle from the base up. Continue reading →
The Capital Area Greenway system in Raleigh has over 100 miles of trails. And the 3,700-acre system continues to grow! Have you walked a trail lately?
The 28 trails are located throughout Wake County and make for a great walk around the lake, through the woods or to a neighboring park. Some are short half-mile walks while others average one or two miles. The longest is the Neuse River Trail from Falls Lake Dam to the Wake-Johnston County Line. This trail is 27.5 miles long.
Kari Richie, our Wellness Center Director has taken residents to parts of the Neuse River Trail many times. The bird watching, photography and hiking (leisurely strolling or power walking) are always a favorite with our group. Finding the turtles lined up on a log for a sunbath or seeing the heron in the middle of the lake is an added bonus.
The shorter trails at The North Carolina Museum of Art highlight the outdoor art exhibits and the local foliage garden, an Amphitheatre and a water exhibit. There are more than a dozen outdoor works of art in the park. Spanning over 162 acres, this is the nation’s largest outdoor museum park. And while you are there, you can enjoy more than 40 galleries inside the museum too.
The Raleigh Rose Garden is one of three accredited gardens in the Carolinas. The grounds include sixty beds with 56 varieties of roses. A walk around this park will leave you speechless. The J.C. Raulston Arboretum is another one of Raleigh’s favorite gardens. Nationally acclaimed, this garden has one of the largest and most diverse collections of plants adapted for the Southeast. J.C. Raulston started the arboretum in 1975. He came to NC State University to teach in the Department of Horticultural Science and developed the facility as a living laboratory for his students and the faculty. The gardens have grown to ten and a half acres and achieved international recognition for its plant collections. You can enjoy a different walk around the gardens each season as the plantings continue to change with the season.
Ready to tackle the longest trail? The Neuse River Greenway Trail offers everything from winding boardwalks over the water to agricultural fields. The 27.5 mile trail is completely paved, making it an easy walk or a great bike ride. There are seven bridges over the Neuse River including two beautiful suspension bridges. A part of this walk includes a segment of the Mountains-to-Sea Trail, a path from the Outer Banks to the Great Smoky Mountains. Our group has enjoyed many segments of this beautiful park.
Prefer to stay in the neighborhood? Springmoor has paved sidewalks throughout our 42-acre campus that make walking easy. The community’s landscaping continues to change with the seasons – the cherry trees, azaleas and dogwoods will soon be in full bloom. The vegetable gardens on the South Village campus were mulched and tilled just yesterday. If walking around your own garden and digging in the dirt is more your style, you can enjoy a day in the sunshine a few simple steps away from home. Continue reading →
Line up, step up, turn it up and let’s start dancing…
…with The Temptations.
You got a smile so bright
You know you could have been a candle
I’m holding you so tight
You know you could have been a handle
The way you swept me off my feet
You know you could’ve been a broom
The way you smell so sweet
You know you could’ve been some perfume
Well you could’ve been anything that you wanted to
And I can tell
The way you do the things you do, ah baby, the way you do the thing you do, the way you do the things you do….
Achy Breaky Heart, Sweet Home Alabama: the music makes you want to move. The dance steps are easy – grapevines, step touch, mambo, and shuffles. Then twist and repeat. Each dance consists of a number of walls.
The wall is the direction the dancers face at any given time. With one-wall dances all dancers face the same direction in a line. In a two-wall dance, everyone faces forward and then repeats the step combination after turning 180 degrees. The samba is an example of this style dance. The four-wall dance, similar to the hustle, has the dancer make a quarter turn after each sequence. The choreography is easy once you learn a few basic steps. The music is great, turn it up…
Big wheels keep on turning
Carry me home to see my kin
Singing songs about the south-land
I miss ‘ole’ ‘bamy once again
And I think it’s a sin, yes
Well I heard Mister Young sing about her
Well I heard old Neil put her down
Well, I hope Neil Young will remember
A southern man don’t need him around anyhow
Sweet home Alabama
Where the skies are so blue
Sweet home Alabama
Lord, I’m coming home to you
Kari Richie, our Wellness Center Director, leads two classes each week for our residents. As a six year old, she began her dance career. Hip Hop, Jazz and Pom were her favorites. Competitive in high school and then as a JV Dance Team Coach in college, she knows how to lead an exciting workout while letting the music make you move. The speed and intricacy of the choreography make line dancing a class where beginners can feel comfortable and then continue to advance as each member finds their rhythm.
Line Dancing has proven to be a perfect exercise for those that need to work on their coordination and balance. The quick movements are good for increasing brain memory and heart health. With any weight-bearing exercise your bones get a good work out and help increase your bone density.
Doctors and therapists are now finding that patients with early signs of Parkinson’s disease greatly benefit from exercise with patterned movements such as line dancing. The repetition of the steps helps improve speed, balance and movement in everyday tasks.
So put on your dancing shoes; the 1950’s Madison, the 1960’s San Francisco Stomp or even the early 1800’s European polka and waltz, can all be found in the origins of line dancing. You’ve done the steps in your youth! What better way to spend your Monday mornings or Thursday afternoons than with Kari and a room filled with pop music and friends? Join us for a class in the Great Room or at The Wellness Center. Your bones, your muscles and your attitude will all be glad you came to class. Continue reading →