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Making Exercise FUN Again

Think back to your grade school gym class… Maybe you didn’t enjoy it, maybe dreaded it. But can you think of a time your teacher did something new? Something exciting? Something fun?

Fun. A concept not often paired with the term exercise. However, Wellness Director Haley Norris has found a way to ensure every INSPIRE exercise class at Carolina Bay at Autumn Hall senior living facility includes a little bit of fun.

The impact of enjoying an activity has the potential to go much further than implementing the newest high tech equipment. Why? Because residents find a reason to keep coming back. Residents agree that making class fun makes it feel like “less work… makes it personal…more enjoyable and more motivational.” They also stated that they are more likely to return to class if they have fun.

With the INSPIRE program focusing on not only aspects of rehabilitation and education but also inspiration and personalization, these classes have something for each individual and are built for residents of all abilities. The INSPIRE program offers classes including but not limited to Advanced and Beginner Water Aerobics, Circuit Training, Yoga, Functional Fitness, Balance, Agility, Coordination and Core as well as Supervised Bike rides and Walks.

Adding variety to the classes offered multiple times a week allows residents to diversify their capabilities and add in a neurological component as to not allow classes to become monotonous. There are so many ways to incorporate neuromotor exercise training into classes. Combined with a strong imagination and a calculated, creative approach for success, Haley seeks to increase fun had in each class.  FUNctional fitness is a class that focuses on practical daily movements while incorporating strength training for both the lower and upper body. Playing games that are educational and secretly physically active are a great way to make a class fun. For example, asking the functional fitness class to sit still, extend their right arm out front and following their finger left and right without moving their head while they move their right arm side to side allows residents to exercise their peripheral vision in a safe, supervised setting. In balance classes, creating a tape outline on the floor for residents to follow while doing various foot patterns such as walking tandem, toe tapping, heel tapping, etc. allows for a focus on changing direction quickly as well as increasing lower body strength.

Bringing in objects not normally paired with exercise, such as balloons, allows for a variety and a surprise for class attenders-motivating people to return each class. Using balloons during advanced balance classes allows residents to shift weight as to not let the balloon hit the ground. Residents must focus on a moving object while assessing moving persons in their peripheral vision.

Overall, classes must be in an enjoyable, welcoming environment for residents to have fun. Our wellness center is only open to our residents, which allows new and seasoned residents to quickly become involved in social circles with their neighbors. If you are looking for an innovative, professional, challenging and fun wellness program designed specifically for seniors, come check out Carolina Bay at Autumn Hall’s INSPIRE wellness program.

Stay tuned for updates on Carolina Bay’s own SENIOR OLYMPICS, scheduled for mid-October.

-Haley Norris, Wellness Director