Nutrition expert and personal trainer helps seniors live a healthier lifestyle
January 22, 2020 -- It's that time of year, when gyms are crowded with people eager to make good on their ambitious New Year's resolutions to get in shape.
Luckily, at Wind Crest, a senior living community developed and managed by Erickson Living, residents have a little extra help to keep them accountable. With years of experience and a true passion for wellness, Fitness Manager Terri Billings helps Wind Crest residents achieve their fitness goals with a fun, holistic approach.
Since joining the Wind Crest team last year, Terri has become a go-to resource for residents interested in educating themselves about nutrition and the benefits of a robust wellness program.
Read on to learn more about Terri, her personal fitness philosophy, and how she's helping Wind Crest seniors live better lives.
- What are some of the highlights of your career that led you to this role?
I grew up in Napa, California and spent a lot of time outdoors, horseback riding and other activities. From a young age, I was completely fascinated with physiology and learning about how food acts as medicine for our bodies, and exercise as the fountain of youth.
I studied nutrition in college and right before graduating, secured a position working with Indian Health Services, working on the Native American reservations. I spent several years working in wellness on diabetes education with everyone from young children to seniors. One highlight was teaching cooking classes, working to craft healthier meals with the resources available.
After becoming a mother to my two beautiful daughters, I earned my Certified Personal Trainer license and launched my own personal training and nutrition business. That led me to a job at Arapahoe Community College in Littleton, where I spent 12 years teaching health and fitness classes. From there, I transitioned into a role with Cigna Health Insurance, where I worked with corporations on developing health and wellness programs. It was a wonderful experience, but I found myself missing the personal relationships with clients.
I had a friend who worked at Wind Crest, and became very interested in the community's holistic approach to well-being for residents, embracing physical, mental and spiritual health. My role as Fitness Manager here has been really soul-filling for me, knowing that my day can be meaningful to someone.
- What do you like best about working at Wind Crest?
That's easy. My favorite thing about working at Wind Crest is the residents. I find absolute joy in exchanging hellos and "how are you's" with them; it feels simple but impactful to help make one another feel at home and comfortable. I take great pride in knowing that I work in our residents' home and feel honored to do so. I am by nature a nurturer and feel that I am able to thrive in that role in this community.
- Is there anything about working at Wind Crest that has surprised you?
One thing that sort of surprised me is how working at Wind Crest is like being a valued member of a small town. It is amazing to me how robust the service offerings are, and how well-run the community is. Everything you need is right here, from the bank to the salon. The Resident Advisory Council (RAC), and the various committees (COTRACs) offer so many opportunities for residents to get involved and actively participate in community life.
I have also been very impressed with Wind Crest's commitment to talent development and promoting from within.
- What is your favorite way to exercise? How do you personally make fitness a priority in your busy life?
I love to do Spartan obstacle course races. I do them every year and train for them all year long. I also love hiking. We are fortunate here in Colorado to have some amazing places to hike. I especially love Boulder and the Manitou Incline. All along the Front Range there are great trails to check out.
- What are you most looking forward to for Wind Crest in 2020?
I am so excited about making Wind Crest's already excellent health and wellness program even better in 2020. We are looking at what we offer holistically and trying to get an even deeper understanding of our residents' diverse needs to better serve them. I'm thrilled to continue developing relationships with my team and building on their strengths. We're looking forward to a great year!
About Wind Crest: Wind Crest, one of 20 continuing care retirement communities developed and managed by Erickson Living®, is situated on a scenic 84-acre campus in Highlands Ranch, Colorado. The not-for-profit community of more than 1,400 residents and 800 employees is governed by its own board of directors, affiliated with National Senior Campuses, who provide independent financial and operational oversight of the community. Additional information can be found at WindCrestRetirement.com.