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Fit for life

Charlestown was designed with healthy living in mind

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August 3rd, 2016
Charlestown resident Ed Mahlin exercises at the on-site fitness center six days a week and swims in the pool three days a week.

Charlestown resident Ed Mahlin exercises at the on-site fitness center six days a week and swims in the pool three days a week.

The greatest athletes from around the world will compete this month at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Experts in 39 different sports ranging from swimming to shooting and tennis to Taekwondo will vie to bring home the gold. But you don’t have to be at the peak of athletic perfection to reap the benefits of regular exercise. 

Charlestown, an Erickson Living community in Catonsville, Md., makes sticking to a fitness routine easier than ever with a personal trainer just down the hall.  

“I moved to Charlestown five years ago, and I’ve been going to the fitness center ever since. Living at Charlestown makes it easy to stay active because everything is right here,” says Elba Hinish. “I go every day. I use the machines, and I like to walk on the treadmill. I usually exercise for an hour. I also play on Charlestown’s softball team. It’s a fun way to get exercise. My goal is to keep myself in good health. Staying active also helps keep my mind healthy.” 

Just what the doctor ordered

A new study published in the March 2016 online issue of Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology, seems to support Elba’s theory, showing exercise in older people is associated with a slower rate of decline in thinking skills that occurs with aging. 

In the study, people who reported light to no exercise experienced a decline equal to ten more years of aging compared to people who reported moderate to intense exercise. 

The Centers for Disease Control recommends adults age 65 and older get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity (i.e., brisk walking) every week and muscle-strengthening activities two or more days a week that work all major muscle groups (legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders, and arms). Any aerobic activity that gets you breathing harder and your heart beating faster counts as long as you do it for at least ten minutes.   

Charlestown’s fitness center features top-of-the-line equipment designed specifically for the senior age bracket, including SCIFIT steppers, cardio bikes, ellipticals, New Life Fitness Treadmills, and HUR strength-training equipment. 

Charlestown residents can enjoy a basic gym membership for free, which includes a fitness assessment and consultation, personalized exercise program, and monthly monitoring of exercise progression from the center’s professional fitness trainers. Personal training is offered for a fee. 

For those residents who prefer the water, a 75- by 30-foot indoor swimming pool is perfect for lap swimming, water walking, aquatic aerobics classes, and water volleyball.

Ed Mahlin used to travel 15 to 20 minutes, three times a week, to exercise when he lived in Laurel. Now, six days a week he walks to the Charlestown fitness center just steps from his apartment home.    

“The fitness center and the pool were two of the things that drew me to Charlestown,” says Ed. 

“The convenience of having it right here in the community is nice. My goals were mainly weight control and staying healthy. I have a routine. I use all the machines. I walk 30 minutes a day, and I swim three times a week.”

Healthy options

A variety of regular fitness classes including strength training, low impact aerobics, Zumba, stretching and balance, and yoga are held in the on-site group fitness studio. 

Adele Salvucci was accustomed to working out before she moved to Charlestown. She continued with her healthy habits after moving to the community in 2006.  

“I exercise just about every day,” says Adele. “I take advanced aerobics, a spinning class, and yoga. I prefer taking classes. When I’m around other people, I’m motivated. And the instructors are able to point out things I may be doing incorrectly and show me the proper way to do it. The classes have helped me with arthritis. I’m pain-free, and I think it’s because I work out.” 

Fitness opportunities all year

Charlestown is uniquely designed to offer retirees an active lifestyle year-round. The community’s buildings connect by air-conditioned and heated indoor walkways, so residents can log quite a few steps just by walking to and from their apartment homes to meetings, events, and activities in the clubhouses. And when the weather is nice, Charlestown offers plenty of outdoor opportunities for exercise, including walking trails, bocce, softball, and gardening.

“There are just so many ways to stay active here,” says Adele. “I really think it’s important to take your health into your own hands.” 

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