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Start this year off on the right foot

Parkville community makes staying healthy easy with new, on-site fitness center

Created date

January 4th, 2018
Having a fitness center just down the hall from his home at Oak Crest makes sticking to a fitness routine easy for Diego Merida.

Having a fitness center just down the hall from his home at Oak Crest makes sticking to a fitness routine easy for Diego Merida.


The greatest athletes from around the world will compete next month at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea. Experts in 15 different sports ranging from alpine skiing and ice hockey to figure skating 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. Oak Crest, an Erickson Living community in Parkville, Md., makes sticking to a fitness routine easier than ever with a personal trainer just down the hall.  

Oak Crest’s on-site fitness center features top-of-the-line equipment designed specifically for the senior age bracket, including Matrix treadmills and ellipticals, SCIFIT Total Body Trainers, NuSteps, WaterRower HiRise rowing machines, and HUR strength equipment.

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 four professional fitness trainers. Personal training and specialized classes are offered for a nominal fee. 

“I go to the fitness center almost daily,” says Diego Merida, who experienced a medical setback in 2013 that gave him the resolve to make exercise a priority. “I use the exercise machines, and I do weight lifting. One of the things I love about living here is having the fitness center down the hall, so I can go to the gym whenever I have time.”

Extreme makeover

In 2017, the Oak Crest fitness and aquatics center underwent a complete facelift as part of a multimillion-dollar renovation to modernize the campus. 

“We have almost twice the space now compared to the previous fitness center,” says Wellness Manager Temica Hopson. “We also have a separate personal training studio equipped with a TRX suspension training system. Residents also have access to CyberCycles, which are recumbent bicycles that feature a video screen displaying bike paths, virtual tours, and racing challenges. Pickleball and Wii games also take place in our group exercise room.” 

The new 25-meter indoor heated swimming pool features three lap lanes that can accommodate up to six swimmers at a time. 

“Having a larger pool means more residents can participate in our fantastic aquatics programs to reap the benefits of warm-water exercise,” says Hopson.

Research shows regular exercise not only helps you manage your weight, reduce heart disease, and manage diabetes, it can also give your brain a boost. 

A study conducted at the University of British Columbia found that regular aerobic exercise appears to boost the size of the hippocampus, the part of the brain involved in verbal memory and learning. 

Another study conducted by researchers at the Mayo Clinic showed that those who regularly engaged in moderate exercise five or six times a week later in life reduced their risk of mild cognitive impairment by 32%, compared with more sedentary people. Those who began exercising at midlife saw a 39% reduction. 

The benefits of exercise come directly from its ability to reduce insulin resistance, reduce inflammation, and stimulate the release of growth factors. These growth factors are chemicals in the brain that affect the health of brain cells, the growth of new blood vessels in the brain, and the abundance and survival of new cells.  

Key to sticking with it 

Regardless of which type of exercise you prefer, Hopson recommends getting some form of exercise every day. 

“Whether its walking, swimming, tennis, or dancing, the best approach to exercise is finding an activity that is personally appealing,” says Hopson. “Selecting an exercise or program that you enjoy means you are more likely to stick with it. After consulting with a physician to make sure you’re ready to begin, know that consistency is the key to seeing and achieving results.”

Diego says living at Oak Crest has made it easier than ever for him to put his health first.

“It’s hard enough to stick to a regular exercise routine,” says Diego. “But when you have to get in the car and travel to a gym, it makes it that much more difficult. Here, all I have to do is walk down the hall, and I can complete my exercise routine within 45 minutes, walk back to my apartment, and get on with the rest of my day. Plus, we have a wonderful team of knowledgeable fitness instructors who are there to help. They really have made it difficult to come up with an excuse not to exercise.”