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    Posted January 27, 2014 by
    Plano, Texas

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    Wellness Coordinator Encourages North Texans to Get Moving and Stay Moving

    A new year can mean a fresh start, and many take this opportunity to step back and set new goals to make the next 12 months even better than the last with resolutions focused on maintaining an active and healthy lifestyle. Exercise is beneficial for a number of reasons, and a recent study shows it plays a significant role specifically in reducing the risk of dementia. Alice Carpenter – the wellness coordinator for The Legacy Willow Bend, a senior living community in Plano, believes such findings are absolutely correct and emphasizes that it is never too late to make healthful changes and resolutions to become more active. She teaches various fitness classes for seniors in their 70s, 80s and 90s at the community including “Get Fit Exercise,” “Zumba Gold” and “Aqua Exercise” and provides one-on-one training and assistance in the seniors’ open gym in the mornings. The key is to get moving, and Carpenter is making sure these seniors are doing that at just the right pace for each of them.

    “Daily exercise routines do nothing but help as we go through the aging process; exercise reduces the risk of disease, increases mobility and allows us to do our day-to-day tasks with more ease. Ultimately, it allows us to live longer and better lives,” said Carpenter, a certified health and wellness instructor with more than 20 years experience.

    Carpenter was the health and wellness coordinator for the Family YMCAs of Plano and McKinney for 15 years and taught a wide-range of group exercises before joining The Legacy Willow Bend team. She holds several certifications including Aerobics and Fitness Association of America (AFAA), Zumba, Coopers, Step, Body Pump and various programs geared toward helping active older adults like The Silver Sneakers ® Fitness Program. She incorporates such experience and techniques into the fitness classes she now teaches at The Legacy Willow Bend.

    Irene Rosenberg lives at The Legacy Willow Bend and enjoys participating frequently in the exercise courses Carpenter offers. She believes age is a matter of the mind; it’s about whether an individual has spirit and chooses to be active, and therefore, stay young or chooses to do nothing, and therefore, grow old.

    “I have always been active and enjoyed working out,” said Rosenberg. “I attribute my good health to my regular exercise. When I lived in New England, I walked often and took advantage of the nearby fitness facilities in the area. Later, I lived in Florida and took advantage of the yoga and aerobics classes offered there. Now that I’m at The Legacy Willow Bend, I’ve been able to maintain my active lifestyle of exercise through attending Alice’s classes, which I love!”

    Carpenter says that some modifications are required, but anyone can participate in her classes. She focuses on helping seniors find their appropriate level. She recognizes when resting breaks are needed and incorporates various techniques that work different parts of the body and so everyone can be moving constantly during the class.

    “For Zumba Gold, we have lively Latin music and dance motions to make it fun,” said Carpenter. “I make sure even if some use walkers or wheelchairs, they are participating and moving continually by using the weights and toning sticks for upper body strength. Any exercise routine can be done sitting in a chair or standing; I just help show them how to do that.”

    Carpenter uses the ball, bands and small weights with the seniors in the Get Fit class. By the time they are stretching and cooling down at the end, Carpenter has worked each muscle in a comprehensive way to be as thorough as she can. In addition to the classes, offered for those in independent living – like Rosenberg, Carpenter also provides specific work-out routines for those in assisted living and memory support. Their classes have additional modifications, but Carpenter believes health and fitness is more than just physical movement.

    “Those in assisted living and memory support can still be active and move, but more than that, it’s good for them to work with others and engage in social interaction as a group,” said Carpenter. “They have a lot of fun, and it’s great for their mental stimulation as well.”

    “If you want to stay young, you better move,” said Rosenberg. “I know most everyone in the fitness classes at The Legacy Willow Bend, and when I see others around campus who don’t attend, I encourage them to join.”

    Carpenter and Rosenberg agree that it is a choice and it is never too late to make the New Year’s resolution to get more active. However, starting at a gradual pace with achievable goals is vital.

    “Studies show that muscle strength peaks at age 25, plateaus at 35 to 40, and by age 65, there is a 25 percent loss of peak muscle strength. The body has to work harder to exercise so you have to pay attention to it and know that you might have to start slow,” explained Carpenter. “The great news is that physical exercise is the war against aging!”

    Carpenter is excited about the improvement she has witnessed already among participants in her classes and is thrilled about the increased self-confidence many now have. The Legacy Willow Bend also hosts speakers to discuss important aspects like nutrition and hydration. Additional classes are in the works as well, including a new balance class that begins this month to prevent falls and build strength.

    The Legacy Willow Bend, Plano’s first and only life care retirement community, is situated on a 28-acre site at Spring Creek Parkway between Preston Road and Ohio Drive. The Legacy Willow Bend offers resort-style services and amenities for active, independent seniors, as well as all levels of health care services on-site. The community features 103 independent living apartment homes, 12 custom independent living villas, 40 assisted living apartment homes, 18 memory support suites, and 60 private skilled healthcare suites.

    The Legacy Willow Bend is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit retirement community owned by parent company, The Legacy Senior Communities, Inc. The Legacy Willow Bend, the only Jewish-sponsored life care retirement community in Texas, is open to people of all faiths. For information, call (972) 468-6208, or visit www.thelegacyWB.org.
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