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When fitness is fun

Tallgrass Creek group classes get results

Created date

November 3rd, 2016
Enjoying Tallgrass Creek’s dance fusion class are (from left) Bonnie Brown, Camin Bell (instructor), Phyllis McCalmon, Joan Grant, Carlene Martin, and Diane Thompson.

Enjoying Tallgrass Creek’s dance fusion class are (from left) Bonnie Brown, Camin Bell (instructor), Phyllis McCalmon, Joan Grant, Carlene Martin, and Diane Thompson.

One of the first questions prospective Tallgrass Creek residents ask is if the community has an active, challenging physical fitness program. The answer is a resounding “yes”!

Residents Lorie and Bill Stapp can attest to that. Each week, Lori takes eight water aerobics classes, and Bill takes six land-based exercise classes. 

“There are so many choices,” says Lori, “and it’s all right outside your door.” 

Wellness Coordinator Cydney Cunningham oversees all aqua fitness activities, and Fitness Specialist Camin Bell coordinates land-based activities. Combined, the energetic pair leads 24 classes each week. They also offer one-on-one personal training and maintain the community’s fitness center and temperature-controlled indoor swimming pool. 

Lively land classes

Not surprisingly, Bell is enthusiastic about maintaining physical fitness. Along with a bachelor of fine arts degree in dance from the University of Missouri-Kansas City, she has 25 years of teaching different fitness classes. Bell performed in a dance company in the Pacific Northwest for 17 years and helped implement exercise programs, including dance, at a retirement community in Seattle, Wash. 

Bell’s four-morning-a-week Stretch and Strengthen class is so well attended that she recently added more times. Class participants follow Bell’s lead through a full range of bodily motion and use tools such as weights and handballs to ensure all muscles get a solid workout. 

Bell also teaches the popular Men’s Only Strength Training (M.O.S.T) class three mornings a week. The music is always on, and the chatter is light and fun while the group exercises with weights, balls, and resistance bands.  

“Exercise and camaraderie go hand in hand in the men’s-only class,” says resident Bill Klasinski. “Camin [Bell]’s personality and style fit right in, and it makes the class one you don’t want to miss.”

Last year, Bell introduced a coed dance fusion class that includes 45 minutes of rhythmic movements while standing and sitting. She also teaches a revolving class that focuses on different parts of the body each month. 

Additional classes include Gentle Yoga and Sit and Get Fit, a series of gentle exercises that improve range of motion.

Wellness in the water

Cunningham’s classes are popular with novice swimmers as well as more experienced aquatics enthusiasts. She has a degree from Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Kansas City, Mo., and worked for ten years at the North Kansas City Community Center where she supervised the center’s pool activities and organized programs for all ages.

Cunningham recently introduced a new water-fitness class called Slightly Synchronized Swimming. The class has developed an enthusiastic following and is all about fitness, flexibility, and fun.

The swimmers made their debut performance earlier this year at a pool party celebrating the 2016 Summer Olympics. While wearing red hats, the Tallgrass Creek swimmers performed an array of synchronized moves in the water while their neighbors, sitting poolside, cheered. 

Other water-based fitness classes at Tallgrass Creek include Aquasize, Aquamotion, and Aqua Gentle Joints, slower-paced classes focusing on moderate exercise. The more challenging Aqua Core ‘N More is also part of the weekly lineup.  

“The goal is always to increase everyone’s range of motion, flexibility, and stamina and have fun while doing it,” says Cunningham, also a certified lifeguard.  

Cunningham keeps classes fresh by utilizing noodles, weights, and dumbbells. Water exercise classes take place in Tallgrass Creek’s large, glass-enclosed pool where the temperature always hovers at a balmy 88 degrees.

“Before moving to Tallgrass, I hadn’t exercised in a pool for about 35 years,” says Jean Janacek. “It’s challenging but at the same time almost meditative. I enjoy it so much.”  

Great deal, great times

Residents pay only $20 a month to participate in any or all of the weekly land- or water-based fitness classes. Class schedules are available in the fitness center.  

Personal training is available at a cost of $75 for five sessions, which can be prorated. 

Cunningham and Bell also host creative social events that promote both physical and mental health. During the last year, residents have enjoyed scavenger hunts that include puzzles and memory games, themed poolside gatherings such as grandkids’ pool parties, lawn parties with competitive land activities, and wellness seminars. 

“Cydney [Cunningham] and I work together to ensure our fitness activities are both challenging and fun,” says Bell. “That’s what keeps people coming back and what produces results.”