Residents of The Glades at ChampionsGate, an independent, assisted living and memory care community in ChampionsGate, are staying active with water aerobics classes taught by an unlikely instructor – the executive director of the community.
Heather Corton, who heads up operations for the 223-residence senior living community, has been teaching water aerobics classes twice a week since April. The class was requested by residents as a way to stay active – and cool – in the Florida heat and has become a popular activity among the community’s seniors.
“Our residents are very active, so when they requested this class I thought sure, I can teach that,” said Corton, executive director of The Glades at ChampionsGate. Corton earned her Aquatic Exercise Association Arthritis Foundation Aquatic Program certification in 2007 and since then has taught classes at the senior living communities where she works.
For seniors, water aerobics offers cardiovascular exercise that is easy on joints and bones, and provides a full-body workout. The water pressure also puts less strain on the heart by moving blood around the body, while exercising in the water allows for greater range of motion. Corton says residents have reported increased flexibility, improved strength and better quality of sleep since the class started.
Resident Della Kramer has been attending the class since the beginning and says it’s helped her to stay active while battling joint issues. It’s also been a great way to connect with her neighbors, and Corton.
“We have a nice group of women who attend the class and it’s very congenial,” Kramer said. “Heather is also a great teacher. She really has it together, and its nice for her to do something fun with the residents rather than always being the boss. It lets us get to know her in a different way.”
Prior to moving to The Glades, Kramer stayed active with regular chair aerobics – another class the community will be offering based on resident interest. Corton’s class was her first time trying water aerobics, and she’s been coming back ever since. While she’s noticed a difference in her body, she keeps coming back because it’s fun.
“Some days its like herding cats, but they have so much fun and love dancing around to Michael Buble and Frank Sinatra,” Corton said. “It’s been really rewarding to get in the pool with them and play an active role in their wellness journey. On top of being a great workout, it’s also a great stress relief for them – and me.”
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