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Residents of Avanti Senior Living at Towne Lake are determined to participate in the community’s fitness classes and lead lively lifestyles, as they understand the importance and feel the benefits of staying active at any age. Three residents, Terrie Neill, Ray Portlock and Eunice Kent, all have different techniques, yet very similar goals. Neill attends every class and is very enthusiastic about fitness.  She desires to slim down, like many people do. Kent is also very active in fitness, and she enjoys the increased energy she gets from strengthening her arms and legs during stretching and movement-centered exercises. Portlock is big on fitness and will be turning 90 years old this year. He is working to become stronger physically. Charlotte Byrne, fitness coordinator at Avanti Senior Living at Towne Lake, leads the weekly exercise classes and works one-on-one with residents to go over individualized approaches to their personal wellness goals. She encourages everyone to set goals and stick with them, and the New Year is the perfect time to do that.

“The mechanics of weight gain do not change as you get older; if you sit and eat and don’t exercise or stay active, you will put on some pounds,” said Neill. “I am putting a lot of energy into the classes and working out on my own time as well to lose extra weight. You can’t have dessert with every meal and expect to stay the same size, unfortunately. The food here is wonderful, so it’s tempting to eat more than I am accustomed to eating, but I’ve been working on rationing out my healthy selections. I’ve always been pretty active and a busy body, but it’s even better if you can work out a few days a week, too. We have a variety of fitness classes, and they vary from week to week. Charlotte likes to change it up, as it keeps us on our toes. We show up ready for anything!”

Currently, Avanti Senior Living at Towne Lake offers a variety of exercise classes, including Re-Energize, Walking Trail and Unfold. Re-Energize improves posture and focuses on mindful breathing, as well as strengthening the core, arm and leg muscles. Residents use hand weights and exercise balls for added resistance. They also use the ballet barre to improve their balance and leg strength. The Walking Trail consists of an indoor route through the community with access to handrails to help residents maintain mobility. Residents walk as a group and stop to do various endurance and toning exercises the stations along the route. The Walking Trail stations focus on balance, strength and range of motion. Unfold emphasizes breathing, stretching and relaxation to allow residents to experience the benefits of yoga in a calm, soothing setting. Soft music and gentle, slow movements help residents improve their flexibility and posture. 

“It’s nice that the classes are designed for different types of physical capabilities,” said Kent. “I can do arm and leg movements, and it’s helped me a lot since I started participating more. I feel more energetic and want to continue my increased activity. It’s also a great time for bonding, as we get to know fellow residents better and encourage them in the classes. The exercises usually last 30 minutes, and Charlotte hosts them every chance she gets. Charlotte is extremely helpful and makes the classes both interesting and fun. We aren’t expected to jump right in, either. We can ease our way into the routines to see what works bests for our bodies.”

“I started participating in the fitness classes to help my health and mobility,” said Portlock. “I understand that exercise helps build strength, keeps us healthy and could help my bone cancer stay in remission. My doctor says it is important to move our joints as much as possible to increase flexibility and movement. I am trying to get more motivated. Just like the beginning of any fitness routine, we may not enjoy it at first, but we know it’s good for us so we just keep pushing. Charlotte does a wonderful job and helps me keep at it.”

In addition to their current offerings, Avanti Senior Living at Towne Lake will soon offer Dancercize. Byrne’s goal is to continue coming up with diverse, fun fitness classes for the residents to enjoy. She is truly passionate about helping seniors stay active. 

“I’m so proud of all the residents, and it is inspiring to see their determination,” said Byrne. “Their active lifestyles will help them to maintain mobility, strengthen balance and sharpen mental acuity by bringing more oxygen to the brain. When the weather gets warmer, I’ll be designing some workouts that we can do in the sunshine. We’ve got an exciting year ahead of us, and I am eager to work with everyone on maintaining and achieving their fitness goals! I recommend that everyone set goals and stick to them throughout the year. The health benefits will be tremendous.”

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