“A lot of people exercise for aesthetic reasons—to lose weight or look better on the outside,” said Enriquez. “But seniors are intrinsically motivated. They want to do what they can to improve their overall quality of life."
(PRWEB) March 04, 2016
Earlier this year, a month-long fitness initiative called “Tackle the Towers” challenged residents at Friendship Village senior living in Schaumburg to walk the distance of the major buildings along the Chicago skyline. Accumulating steps on equipment in Friendship Village’s two fitness centers and on their own personal pedometers, residents joined together to complete the equivalent of 29 laps around the Loop. One woman in independent living walked 125,000 steps. A man in assisted living walked 29,000. Another, a 100-year-old resident, walked 12,000.
Developed and calculated by Nick Rivera, a Friendship Village intern studying exercise science at the University of Illinois-Chicago, “Tackle the Towers” grew out of several residents’ desire to reestablish a walking program at Friendship Village that previously took participants as far as Oklahoma and California in total steps. “They really wanted to do this,” said Friendship Village exercise physiologist Jessica Enriquez. Before the first step was tracked, 55 residents had enthusiastically signed on. “Many of them bought their own Fitbits to help them along. It was crazy how into the challenge they were!”
Instead of competing against one another, the seniors walked for bragging rights and the chance to throw a pie in the faces of fitness staff members if they achieved their goals. “We went too easy on them!” said Enriquez, who, along with her co-workers, set a target for residents of 26,608 steps per week. “When they exceeded their goals, we thought, ‘oh, boy, we’re going to get it!’ I got a pie in the face for sure.”
Pie tossing and boasting aside, the real win for residents was gaining greater strength, endurance, and balance. “A lot of people exercise for aesthetic reasons—to lose weight or look better on the outside,” said Enriquez, who has trained people of all ages. “But seniors are intrinsically motivated. They want to do what they can to improve their overall quality of life.”
Friendship Village residents also want to experience new things, said Enriquez, and they are regularly engaged in implementing innovative activities. Because of residents’ enthusiasm and staff members’ expertise, the community offers such weekly opportunities as Zumba, pi yo (a combination of Pilates and yoga), seated hockey, aqua classes, Wii bowling, circuit training and crossfit. The list goes on, and those are just the fitness options!
While “Tackle the Towers” participants are pleased with their accomplishments, they are eager for a bigger challenge. “Next time, they want to walk to Hawaii!” said Enriquez. Since the walking incentive, many residents are even more committed to their fitness routines. “They know it’s not about how many steps they take; it’s about moving toward better health every day.”
Friendship Village is a leading Chicago-area retirement community offering a complete continuum of care including independent living garden homes and apartment homes, as well as assisted living, memory support, skilled care, and short- and long-term rehabilitation services. For more than 37 years, Friendship Village has been providing Chicago area seniors with exceptional retirement living options. For additional information visit http://www.FriendshipVillage.org