“It feels like a distant memory,” said fitness expert Kristen McCabe of the more restrictive safety measures put in place during the height of the pandemic.

Currently fully re-opened and operational, the program is better than ever, thanks to the silver lining that came from Kristen and her colleague, Victoria Forman, “thinking outside the box” to keep residents physically active during the pandemic.

Fitness Onsite and Online

Now, in addition to renewed claim on all the state-of-the-art amenities in the fitness center itself, residents have unlimited access to the videos Kristen and Victoria made and uploaded to YouTube to keep them in shape during the pandemic.

“Even now that we’ve returned to full capacity in the fitness center, residents request new videos,” said Kristen, who admits that instructing in front of a camera took some getting used to. “We put together a blooper reel for fun!” she said.

Self-Motivated Residents

“I tell them all the time I can’t teach motivation – that comes from within,” said Kristen. “We have a very active, vibrant community that prioritizes physical and overall well-being.” Testament to that statement are the approximately 80 residents who voluntarily take an annual senior fitness test (reinstated after a two-year COVID hiatus) to assess their strength, flexibility and endurance accomplishing daily tasks.

Administered by Kristen and Victoria, the test is far from intimidating to its willing participants, who feel encouraged and validated in a “no-judgment” zone. “I recognize where residents are in their abilities,” said Kristen. “Of course, I want them to meet the standards, but for some it’s celebrating a small gain…it can be very inspiring for residents to keep movement as a top priority in their overall well-being.”

Adding Activities All the Time

Gains in fitness continue to grow at KaLex. “I want people to keep moving in a way they enjoy!” said Kristen, who, along with Victoria, is always thinking about ways they can increase fitness offerings in and outside the fitness center. To that end, a monthly whiffle ball game has been added, and the ever-popular chair volleyball will soon be expanded to pool volleyball.

“We love adding activities that are accessible to as many residents as possible,” said Kristen, noting that people with balance issues can now play volleyball because they are either seated or in water.

woman doing pilates on mat
man on workout machine
group exercise class
fitness manager leading class with ball
man and woman with strength bands

“I Love What I Do”

As if it weren’t apparent to anyone in her path, Kristen attests, “I love what I do. I love the energy and enthusiasm residents bring to the fitness center.” In a “beautiful symbiotic relationship,” residents feed off her energy, and she feeds off theirs.

Part owner of a yoga studio and certified Pilates instructor, the fitness guru with a degree in athletic training has worked with all ages. “But I have found the senior population particularly rewarding.”