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Fitness with a purpose

Wellness Manager Shirley Woods shares the why behind the workout

Created date

February 23rd, 2015
resident on bike equipment at fitness center

When Bob Houston and his wife Elizabeth lived in Spring Branch in Northwest Houston, they were members of the YMCA on Clay Road.

“There was one particular YMCA employee who everyone liked,” says Bob, a lifelong educator and retired professor and associate dean of education at the University of Houston. “She had a warm attitude and explained the reason behind each exercise. She made us feel like we were working out with a purpose.”

That employee was Shirley Woods, now the wellness manager at Eagle’s Trace, the Erickson Living community in West Houston where Bob and Elizabeth moved in October 2012.

“We chose Eagle’s Trace because we wanted to live in an active community,” says Bob. “We like the variety of clubs and activities, and we appreciate having the continuing care neighborhood on-site.”

Bob and Elizabeth didn’t anticipate seeing a familiar face the first time they went down to the fitness center. 

“We were thrilled to see Shirley at Trace,” says Bob. “In the two and a half years we’ve lived here, fitness has been an important part of our experience.”

Whole body workout

Bob currently takes one of Woods’ most popular classes, Strength and Stretch, which she teaches three mornings a week.

“Strength and Stretch is a rigorous class,” says Woods. “It’s 45 minutes of constant movement and working every muscle group.”

Bob says he appreciates Woods’ approach to fitness. 

“Shirley has lively music playing in the background, and she takes the time to explain why we do each exercise, whether it’s working on strength, flexibility, or balance,” says Bob. “For me, it’s important to know why I’m doing something rather than just doing it.”

Woods currently teaches 20 group fitness classes each week at the West Houston community, including yoga, Pilates, water aerobics, tai chi, Silver Express, and Ageless Grace.

A trainer for more than 30 years, Woods is certified in CPR, aquatic exercise, and yoga and Pilates instruction. She is a member of the International Fitness Professionals Association, Yoga Alliance, and Aquatics Exercise Association.

Covington’s Who’s Who Executive and Professional Registry recently recognized Woods for her commitment to excellence in senior living.

“The field of fitness is constantly evolving,” says Woods. “I take professional growth classes so I can share new techniques and ideas with our residents.”

Targeted instruction

D.E. Smith moved to Eagle’s Trace eight years ago with his wife Joan. He works out daily in the community’s on-site fitness center and takes Woods’ Silver Express class twice a week.

“Shirley is outstanding,” says D.E. “We have so many fitness programs to choose from, and she helps us identify the exercise routine that meets our needs. Whether we need to work on balance or strength-training exercises, she offers concentrated help where we need it.”