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Several studies show that a nutritional diet and regular exercise help prevent sickness, diabetes, heart disease, strokes, cancer and Alzheimer’s disease. Staying active in retirement also helps keep the joints moving and increas energy. It’s for these reasons that residents of Presbyterian Village North (PVN), a faith-based nonprofit senior living community, are biking, swimming, rowing and walking nearly every day. Three residents, Janice and Chester Bentley, and Pam Altizer, are working out for one-to-three hours a day in the wellness center at PVN. From participating in classes to using state-of-the-art machines, these seniors are not letting anything slow them down. 

“Chester and I start off our day with a three-hour workout,” said Janice Bentley, a resident of Presbyterian Village North. “I wake up at 3:30 a.m. and hit the gym by 4:45 a.m. six days a week. Chester is not far behind me, though he does not wake up quite as early as I do. We both work out for three hours exercising various muscles and joints. I do a bit of everything – Spin classes, elliptical trainer, rowing machine and exercises for my back. Exercising makes me feel better and gives me energy. I think everyone should do it, as it wards off depression and anxiety, helps with joint movement, along with several other benefits. I started working out vigorously in my 40s and haven’t stopped since.”

The inspiration to work out came when Janice turned 40 and Chester presented her with a cake that read “Over the Hill.” Janice decided she wanted to age gracefully and actively, so she picked out some workout clothes and shoes and started walking. Chester soon joined her and eventually they were doing 10K races every Saturday morning. The dynamic duo reached a point where they were running 10 miles every week day and 20 miles on Saturdays. At one point, they determined they had put more miles on their shoes than on their car. They eventually returned to walking and still covered an impressive eight miles a day. Now, they work out in the convenience of PVN’s wellness center.

“Janice has always had a lot of energy, and working out helps me keep up with her,” said Chester. “I feel like I miss out on a part of my day if I do not get my workout in. I spend about 30 minutes on each machine and do laps in the pool. I enjoy exercising on the stationary bike, elliptical trainer, rowing machine and getting in the pool four days a week. Sometimes PVN has monthly wellness challenges that encourage us to really push ourselves and makes working out even more fun.”

Presbyterian Village North’s Total Conditioning rowing classes are at 1:30 on Tuesdays and Thursdays. The Spin classes are held at 8:00 a.m. on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Pam Altizer, a resident of PVN, enjoys the Spin classes, combining them with the Total Conditioning class and a cardio class called Interval Blast. With both the conditioning class and Interval Blast held on Tuesdays and Thursdays, Pam gets in two workouts on those days.

“I'm on a personal journey focused on wellness. I'm working on toning up and strengthening my body while also losing weight,” said Pam. “I enjoy the Spin class so much I typically arrive earlier before it starts to do some exercises on my own. When I start off my day with a workout, it makes me feel better and more alert. If there is a day I don’t get my workout in, I notice my body feels differently. Before moving to PVN, I never tried Spin, but ever since I attended my first class here I have loved it. We are so fortunate to have access to state-of-the-art machines and a variety of classes here at PVN. I encourage anyone who wants to stay healthy to participate.”

Recently, the Presbyterian Village North Foundation gifted rowing machines to the wellness center, and Pam enjoys using those too. She says it is one of those workouts that does not feel that intense when you are doing it, but afterward you can feel it everywhere. All the residents agree that only good things can come from working out and encourage everyone to try it out even if they are intimidated because everyone has to start somewhere.

“It is inspiring to see residents such as the Bentleys and Pam dedicating so many hours of each day and week to maintaining a healthy and active lifestyle,” said Bryan Cooper, executive director of Presbyterian Village North. “Opportunities to start community-wide health initiatives help motivate individuals even more. Just last month the wellness team created a health challenge for American Heart Month. It brings everyone together in an environment that is supportive and goal oriented. It is amazing to see how far everyone progresses toward reaching their goals when they support each other in the gym and at class.”

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