It's Fitness With a Twist at Tallgrass Creek

It's Fitness with a Twist at Tallgrass Creek OVERLAND PARK,KS (March 2, 2012) -- Do you avoid exercising because you think the only way to get -- or stay -- physically fit is to spend boring hours walking on the treadmill or doing dozens of dull crunches? For Tallgrass Creek retirement community residents in Overland Park, KS, staying in shape is convenient and even fun. Michael Hernandez, the in-house fitness specialist, says working out doesn't have to be tedious or repetitive. In fact, he says when it comes to exercise, variety can be the key to success. "Whenever you're doing anything different, your body will respond to it a little differently," he says. "When you do the same thing over and over, your body does not respond as well after a while. Breaking out of those routines can really help your physical fitness." Hernandez offers a variety of different ways for the nearly 300 Tallgrass Creek residents to stay in shape. They have access to the on-site fitness and aquatic center, where they can always work out on their own. Also , they can also participate in several different group fitness classes to learn new forms of exercise and stay motivated. The fitness center offers many of the usual group classes like water aerobics and Tai Chi. But Hernandez strives to offer some out-of-the-ordinary activities to help residents stay in shape and have fun at the same time. For example, Hernandez recently started teaching a juggling class, a moderate form of exercise he says is particularly beneficial for people who want to work on their hand-eye coordination. During this past football season, Hernandez organized a special event called the "Punt, Pass, or Dance Challenge." Residents spent a pleasant autumn afternoon outdoors, rotating between different stations where they tested their kicking, throwing, and end zone dancing skills. Participants accumulated points at each station in the friendly competition, and Hernandez kept everyone's spirits and heart rates high with football-themed music like the "Super Bowl Shuffle." Hernandez says residents sometimes jokingly ask him if he stays awake at night dreaming up new ways to keep them healthy. "[Start with] what you know works for building good physicality, and then you can branch out in a lot of ways," Hernandez says. "You can consider it exercise or consider it fun, and we try to do a little bit of both." Tallgrass Creek's resident-run wellness committee helps staff design health and fitness activities. A resident walking group meets regularly to log laps on the 65-acre community's scenic walking trails. In addition, many residents take advantage of personal training sessions Hernandez introduced last year. For just $12.50 an hour -- far less than the amount most personal trainers charge -- Hernandez works one-on-one with residents to help them accomplish their individual fitness goals.