July 30, 2020 —It’s sunshine and smiles at one of Kendal at Lexington’s most popular classes: Strength and Stretch. As activities begin to re-open across campus, group classes and the fitness center are experiencing a resurgence in popularity and activity.
“We’re so excited to welcome residents back to classes,” said Kristen McCabe, Health and Wellness Program Manager at Kendal at Lexington. Residents are thrilled to have the opportunity to use the fitness center or to join in one of the group exercise classes, all carefully structured to ensure safety and social distancing. Victoria Forman, Health and Fitness Program Manager at Kendal at Lexington says “it’s been extremely busy, but we are just so happy to meet the needs of over 110 residents who are regularly using the fitness center or involved in classes”.
McCabe adds, “We applaud them coming back. We know how quickly you can fall out of a habit, and for them to know how important it is to stay active and see how excited they were to come back, we’re really proud of them. We see them already making progress.”
Currently the fitness center is open for residents with a reserved time slot. Three residents can be there at the same time. Masks are required coming to and from the center. The wellness center staff takes care of sanitizing the machines and weights between users.
Over the past five to six weeks, group classes for Strength and Stretch, Yoga, Pilates, and Chair Yoga have grown from six to nearly 20 participants thanks to the lovely summer weather, shady lawns, and a few pop-up tents. Holding classes outdoors allows for plenty of space with the added bonus of enjoying fresh air.
Stay fit virtually or in person
During the postponement of many campus activities, McCabe and Forman created exercise videos for the residents and posted them on YouTube. McCabe estimates that a good number of Kendal residents are still doing at-home workouts thanks to the videos. “It’s something we’ll continue to do and build our library,” she said. “It’s a great resource in general if someone isn’t comfortable coming to class, or perhaps they just have a mild cold or illness that would keep them at home.”
Others who started with the at-home workouts have found their way to the fitness center and classes. “Once they got involved doing the videos, I think it built their confidence and they wanted to do more,” Forman added.
Fitness and wellness activities are a huge boost to emotional health as well as physical health. Since safety recommendations continue to evolve, Kendal at Lexington managers are drawing guidance from the Virginia Department of Health and the CDC and continuously reviewing plans and procedures that both serve the needs of residents and keeps them safe.
Forman says the morale around campus has greatly improved now that activities are starting to resume, even if on a smaller scale. “I had one resident tell me they were so happy to have a reason to get up in the morning. Routine is so important.”
While residents held virtual online meetings to get together, the simple pleasure of lingering after class to chat are also a renewed mood booster. “They stay socially distanced, but we see more people staying after class to talk and catch up. It gives them that connection and helps their social well-being.”