Celebrating health

Tallgrass Creek offers a wide variety of exercise classes for every level of fitness

Created date

July 22nd, 2019
Sharad Gavankar carefully swings a mallet during a game of croquet on Tallgrass Creek’s back lawn. Residents celebrate National Senior Fitness Day each year with a wide variety of indoor and outdoor activities.

Sharad Gavankar carefully swings a mallet during a game of croquet on Tallgrass Creek’s back lawn. Residents celebrate National Senior Fitness Day each year with a wide variety of indoor and outdoor activities. 

Pat Kutey has developed a new habit since moving to Tallgrass Creek about two years ago. 

“I exercise every day,” says Pat. “I go to a different class Monday through Friday and love them all.” 

Pat attends weekly stretching and strengthening, basic fitness, and yoga. She finds the convenience, quality of the instructors, and social aspect of the classes “just amazing.”

Pat’s sentiments are echoed by many other fitness enthusiasts living in the Overland Park, Kans., Erickson Living community. 

“My body had gone to sleep, and now that I’m exercising frequently, it’s waking up,” says Donna Kempin. 

Day of fitness

Earlier this year, Tallgrass Creek neighbors celebrated National Senior Fitness Day with a full morning of physical and mental activities. Wellness team members Camin Bell and Ashley Huesers coordinated the busy morning. 

Indoor activities included residents demonstrating tai chi, Zumba, and meditation exercises. Tallgrass Creek’s ukulele players, a group started several years ago by residents Dick Yates and Bob Allen, also performed a 30-minute concert.  

“Most of us never played the ukulele before moving here,” says Bill Converse, who now leads the group. “It’s a fun way to spend time together and learn something totally new.” 

Tallgrass Creek neighbors continued celebrating the day outside playing croquet, bocce ball, and other yard games on the community’s freshly mowed green lawn. Underneath the patio’s shady pergola, residents planted colorful annuals in pots they took to their homes. 

The active group stayed hydrated with fresh fruit smoothies, watermelon, and lemonade.

Sharad Gavankar, a retired physician, participated in many of the morning’s activities. He is a familiar face in many fitness classes.

“The classes keep me active and fit,” says Sharad. “The environment here gives true meaning to the phrase, ‘health is wealth.’” 

Keeping it fresh

Bell and Huesers teach a wide variety of both land- and aquatics-based fitness classes. The two have extensive backgrounds in exercise instruction and offer 28 land-based fitness classes and 10 aquatics classes each week. 

“We’re constantly monitoring and updating our classes so there is something for every level of ability,” says Bell. “We want people to look forward to our classes, so we keep them fresh and fun.”

Zumba, a Latin-inspired dance fitness class, is one of the newer classes on the schedule. Resident Carol Murray says the class provides great exercise in a fun setting. 

“Ashley [the instructor] is cheerful and lively and teaches all the moves well,” says Carol. “You’re exercising both body and brain as you learn the dances.”

Another popular class, the four-day-a-week Men’s Only Strength Training (M.O.S.T) includes great exercise, fun music, and lots of humor. The class is taught by Bell and is always full. 

“Camin’s classes, including M.O.S.T, are far above anything I’ve done at other gyms prior to coming here,” says Rich Brown. 

Aquatics class participants are also enthusiastic about exercising in Tallgrass Creek’s large, temperature-controlled pool. The glass-enclosed swimming pool overlooks Tallgrass Creek’s manicured gardens and lawn, which adds to the relaxing experience.  

Many of the water aerobics classes require no prior swimming ability and attract community members like Doris Waller. 

“Swimming isn’t a requirement,” says Doris. “The water aerobics classes are invigorating and easy to follow. I’ve noticed a definite difference since I started water exercise.”

Community members often utilize Tallgrass Creek’s fitness center, which is stocked with well-maintained exercise equipment. Additionally, for a nominal fee, Bell and Huesers offer one-on-one personal training in both the fitness center and pool. Class schedules and descriptions are available in the fitness center.  

Carlene Martin is another resident who says the consistent exercise opportunities at Tallgrass Creek make a big difference.

“I take six or seven classes a week and have strengthened my core, balance, memory, and multitasking ability,” says Carlene. “I’m so grateful Tallgrass provides this exceptional fitness program and such delightful instructors.”