In the summer months, he plays golf in the Berkshires, and, while wintering in Florida, he visits a gym to work out.
This physical rigor didn’t skip a curl, a crunch, or a class after Earl, now 86, moved to Glenmeadow with his wife, Phyllis, in May 2014. Each new day still finds him in an exercise class in the mornings, and in the afternoons, he uses the treadmill, one of three newly acquired step machines, and various weight machines to strengthen his arms, shoulders, and legs.
“I feel like I’ve accomplished something after I exercise, and I feel better by it, physically and mentally,” says Earl. “When I’m working out, I forget whatever problems I might have, and I concentrate on working out. It’s great for your mind and body.”
Earl believes so much in the power of wellness that he often talks up the Wellness Center and its various equipment and activities to other members in the Glenmeadow community. “You got to try to make a habit of it,” he tells them.
Debbie Padden is the personal trainer/fitness instructor who has led the wellness program at Glenmeadow for over three years now. She says many residents, like Earl, embrace the idea that a regular fitness routine benefits mind, body, and spirit.
She says Glenmeadow’s Wellness Center is well-stocked with new, quality equipment—from seated step machines to treadmills, recumbent bicycles, and hydraulic PhysioFit weight-lifting machines. Debbie says many residents use the center, attend classes—from yoga to line dancing to strength training or stretching—or regularly use the 20-by-40-foot indoor heated lap pool.
Even those who are not Glenmeadow residents can take advantage of the Wellness Center. “We’re here for the residents, but we also offer a Lifestyle Pass membership that allows us to serve the senior community as a whole,” Debbie says. “You don’t have to live at Glenmeadow to enjoy the programs here.”
Debbie says in addition to developing programming, her job also involves being a resource to the Glenmeadow community. Based on required paperwork from physicians’ offices, Debbie provides advice on which classes individuals might consider and which means of exercise could benefit them the most.
“Based on information from their physician, I might guide someone toward the pool instead of using the weight machine,” she explains. “Or, if I know they want to do some stretching or if their balance is off, I’ll suggest they come to a yoga class. If their arms are weak, they can come to a strength class.”
For those who aren’t interested in taking classes, Debbie is available for hire as a personal trainer. “In that case, I’m committed to them solely, and they’re committed to me,” she says. “It works well for some people and gets them to exercise where they normally wouldn’t participate.”
The goal at Glenmeadow, Debbie says, is not about making community members bigger and bulkier; it’s solely about maintaining good health. “Getting people moving allows for clearer thinking, and it’s also helpful for them to connect with others for that time that they’re in the classroom,” Debbie says.
During these cold winter months, Earl will continue to be an evangelist for wellness at Glenmeadow, and he looks forward to getting out on the course with his clubs in the spring.
“I’m pretty good physically,” he says. “Exercise is keeping me that way. It’s definitely helping.”