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New year, new you

Greenspring fitness center helps make fitness a habit

Created date

January 4th, 2018
The Greenspring fitness center staff

The Greenspring fitness center and staff help community members enjoy healthier and happier lives. 


Each January, fitness centers and gyms across the country reach record attendance as visitors hope to keep the No. 1 New Year’s resolution—getting physically fit. Fortunately, for community members at Greenspring, an Erickson Living community in Springfield, Va., the on-site, state-of-the-art fitness center and top-notch wellness staff encourage and promote fitness habits regardless of age or physical ability.

“It’s never too late to start an exercise program, no matter your age or physical condition,” says Brad Hibbs, Greenspring’s wellness manager. “We start everyone off slowly, ensuring that no one works out in a way that causes injury. And in doing so, we help create a habit.”

Proven fountain of youth

And this habit is a proven fountain of youth. 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), physical activity is essential to healthy aging. It recommends adults over 65 get two and a half hours of moderate physical activity a week and do muscle-strengthening activities that work all major muscle groups twice a week.

In the book Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain, published in 2013, author John J. Rately, M.D., notes that “exercise is the number one thing you can do for your brain.” 

In fact, research shows that cognitive abilities improve with just one aerobic workout.

And while science and research are on their side, the hundreds of people visiting Greenspring’s fitness center remain committed to their workouts simply because it is fun and makes them feel better.

Healthy decisions

Jim Hughes began working out in the fitness center shortly after his 2011 move to Greenspring. 

“My sister was already living at Greenspring,” he says. “When she arrived, she was using a walker and a cane. But as soon as she made the commitment to visit the fitness center every day, she no longer needed either.”

Like his sister, Jim visits the fitness center daily, engaging in stretching exercises, lifting weights, and using the aerobic machines. 

Joe Conlin began visiting the fitness center regularly after retiring last January. Like Jim, he visits every day, choosing to engage in a variety of workouts, including resistance training, cardio machines, and swimming.

“I find that I feel much better now that I’ve made a real commitment to staying physically fit,” Joe says. “My muscle tone has improved, and my lower back problems have disappeared. I feel stronger and don’t get as sick as often as I used to.

Excited by the opportunity to use Greenspring’s all-season swimming pool, Pam Walkup began making daily swims a part of her routine shortly after her 2014 move. This commitment to swimming, as well as walking on the treadmill, pays off handsomely during frequent world travels. 

“I recently returned from Portugal and my daily aerobic activity made touring and all the associated walking so much easier and enjoyable,” she says. 

Leading by example

All of the residents we spoke to credit the dedicated staff for helping them achieve their fitness goals.

“I’ve always been active, taking part in aerobics and walking,” says Ann Daniels. “But since moving to Greenspring I’ve enjoyed so many other opportunities that I never would have thought of doing before, such as pickleball, archery, and line dancing. I am grateful to the staff members who encourage me to continually try new activities.”

Jim agrees. “The staff is first-rate,” he says. “Everyone is so knowledgeable, not just about the equipment, but on what activities are best for each individual. And they make it fun, which is key to any lasting exercise program.”

The Greenspring fitness staff encourage visitors with an incentive program recognizing milestones from 500 to 3,500 visits to the fitness center.

“The incentive program has taken on a life of its own,” says Brad. “I’m thrilled that the program motivates residents. And their commitment, in turn, motivates all of us.” 

Powerful partnership

In addition to providing help while working out in the fitness center and teaching group exercise classes, staff members are also available for one-on-one personal training. 

Community member Ruth Wetherington recovered quickly after surgery thanks to her participation in weekly balance classes. 

“I ran into [fitness coordinator] Juanita Kuntz in the hallway and told her that I wanted to get my life back,” says Ruth. “She suggested I start working one on one with a trainer.”

Taking the first step, Ruth began working twice a week with Fitness Specialist Lisa Boorom. 

“The workouts immediately changed the way I felt and what I was able to do physically,” says Ruth. “I couldn’t wait to go. After every visit, I feel stronger.”

“It was important to Ruth to still be able to do what she’s done her whole life, including cooking and entertaining,” says Lisa. “We work on exercises that build strength in the muscles she needs to complete these tasks.”

Looking forward

With the new year ahead, both fitness center staff and community members are excited to see new and even more powerful results. 

“So many people tell me they never thought in a million years that they would be working out and now they can’t imagine not having exercise in their lives,” says Juanita. “The hardest part is getting started, taking the leap. But once you arrive, you will have so much fun, all while learning the tools to improve your physical fitness and overall health.”