Fit for life

Fit for life

Created date

February 21st, 2019
Oak Crest Fitness Coordinator Renee Hill works with fitness member John Kraft on his exercise routine.

Oak Crest Fitness Coordinator Renee Hill works with fitness member John Kraft on his exercise routine.

Are you trying to lose weight?  Do you like to be surrounded by encouraging people? Do you ever wish exercising was more fun? Then head on over to the Oak Crest fitness center where you’ll find state-of-the-art exercise equipment, professional personal trainers, and a welcoming environment designed to inspire and energize.    

“I love coming to work every day,” says Fitness Manager Julie Sega, who celebrated her one-year anniversary at Oak Crest on March 2. Sega has more than 14 years of experience in the fitness industry working with older adults and holds a master’s degree in exercise science with a focus on active aging.

“The Oak Crest fitness center is a very encouraging and motivating place. People really feel like they are missed when they aren’t able to come,” Sega says.


The fitness center offers Oak Crest residents access to the latest technology and equipment designed specifically for the senior age bracket including Matrix treadmills and ellipticals, SCIFIT Total Body Trainers, NuSteps, WaterRower HiRise rowing machines, HUR strength equipment, and CyberCycles (recumbent bicycles that feature a video screen displaying bike paths, virtual tours, and racing challenges).

Residents also have access to a separate personal training studio equipped with a TRX suspension training system and a group exercise room for groups like the community’s new pickleball league.

Three staff fitness specialists complement Sega and offer personal training sessions during normal working hours. The fitness center is open 24/7.

“We do an assessment of each community member and go over all the equipment with them and how to operate it. After that, they are free to come in anytime they want and exercise,” says Sega.

A variety of instructor-led classes take place throughout the week in the adjacent exercise studio including yoga and joint mobility, as well as a resident-led stretch and aerobics class held five days a week. Beginner and advanced walking groups also meet two mornings a week to walk outside along the mile-long paved path around the campus.

“It’s the perfect opportunity to get familiar with the campus,” says Sega. “I even see people jogging. We have one gentleman who is 92 and still jogs. He just finished the half marathon in Baltimore. He inspires me every day!”

No excuses

Oak Crest residents receive a basic gym membership as part of their monthly service package. Basic membership includes a fitness assessment and consultation, personalized exercise program, and monthly monitoring of exercise progression from the center’s professional fitness trainers. Personal training and group fitness classes are offered for a fee.

For residents who prefer to swim, a 25-meter pool is perfect for laps and low-impact exercise. Residents can use the aquatics center for individual swims or take group classes such as water aerobics and volleyball.

“We offer many different water-based fitness classes including ai chi (which is kind of like tai chi, but in the water), aerobics, water walking, Golden Waves, aqua stretch, and aqua arthritis,” says Sega. “We have had a lot of interest in the pool classes. It’s great exercise. We also have residents who are daily lap swimmers.”

There are even special family time hours set aside in which residents can invite grandchildren to use the pool. A full-time lifeguard provides an added level of safety and comfort for swimmers.

Setting and achieving goals

Throughout the year, the fitness center hosts and participates in many different fitness activities and wellness events such as an annual triathlon, the National Park Fitness Challenge, a March Madness basketball contest, Senior Health and Fitness Day, Active Aging Week, and bocce and pickleball tournaments. A newsletter features articles on healthy eating, exercising, and upcoming events.

“Seeing people’s determination and feeling that positive energy is so inspiring,” says Sega. “We’ve seen people overcome incredible odds—people who have had knee replacements, cancer, blindness—and they are in here working out. They become like family. We get to see how they transform and improve over the months and years, which is really rewarding and humbling.”

Sega recommends both cardio and strength training for staying in shape. If you don’t live at Oak Crest, she suggests 20 to 30 minutes of aerobic activity five days each week and strength training two to three times a week with at least 48 hours in between each strength training session. She also recommends flexibility and balance exercises.

But living at Oak Crest opens up fitness opportunities right outside your door all year round, making it easier to stick with your program.

“It’s important to find something you enjoy doing,”Sega says. “If you hate bicycling, then don’t do it. Find something else you enjoy like walking or jogging to get your cardio so that you stay interested and keep up with it. If you have a fitness plan that is centered around activities you enjoy, you’re more apt to stick with it.”

Of course, always check with your doctor before you begin any exercise regimen to make sure you are healthy enough to participate.