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O’Connor Woods and Wellness Connection Fitness Club: Making Life-Long Fitness Enjoyable

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O’Connor Woods is a continuing care retirement community, or CCRC, that offers a lifestyle of freedom, service and security that will last throughout a lifetime. It offers a maintenance-free lifestyle while also offering peace of mind. The nonprofit retirement community provides an array of options for residents and unique services that are designed to support and inspire the human spirit. 

“A special, truly unique service that our residents and community fitness club members, folks 60 and older, enjoy is the Wellness Connection Fitness Club at O’Connor Woods,” noted Nanci Shaddy, Director of Fitness and Wellness. “The fitness club is open to the senior public for monthly fitness club memberships.”

Fitness Is Imperative
The Wellness Connection Fitness Club is dedicated to changing and improving lives and recognized for providing comprehensive programming designed specifically for older adults. It is where fitness and wellness are not only a priority, but a lifestyle. “Along with having a wellness/fitness philosophy, we understand the importance of educating older adults about exercise and why it is absolutely critical to exercise as one ages. Many older adults stop exercising due to various physical constraints but even so, it is actually more important for older people to get regular workouts,” she continued. “My goal this year has been to educate older adults about the value of movement. During the 2019 year I have been presenting on the subject of Exercise is Optional – Movement is Mandatory.” 

She stressed that physical activity is vital at any age but, as you grow older, changes set in that make functional movement even more crucial. Physical activity is one of the most powerful medicines for the treatment and prevention of diseases, and conditions that typically develop with aging can be delayed when you stay active. “Moving our bodies is one of the pillars of human health,” Nancy emphasized. 

Improving Lives
Exercise is also a natural mood enhancer. When you work out, the body releases endorphins that make you feel capable. If you’re fighting the psychological effects of aging, exercise may be the key to increasing your drive and energy. It will also improve cognitive functions, such as memory and mental focus. The Wellness Connection even offers exercise classes specifically for your brain through the Brain Fitness Program.

“We currently teach 32 group exercise classes per week including Tone Up & Strength, Core, Cardiovascular, FallProof™ Balance & Mobility, Brain Fitness, Tai Chi and a wide variety of aquatic classes. State-of-the-art Keiser strength training equipment enhances fitness development,” she commented. “Our indoor pool is comfortably heated to 88 degrees year-round. Classes have a family feel; residents and community members alike know each other by name and are socially connected. We treat both the body as well as the mind!”

FallProof™ and Delay the Disease™
Two unique programs are the FallProof™ Balance and Mobility Training and Delay the Disease™ classes. FallProof™ Balance & Mobility Training was recognized in 2003 by the National Council on Aging as one of seven exemplary model programs promoting healthy aging and improved quality of life. FallProof is scientifically tested and shown to improve balance, mobility and reduce the risk of falls. The course offers structured and progressive activities specifically designed to address the multiple dimensions that contribute to balance and mobility. The one-hour class meets twice a week at the Wellness Connection for an eight-week session. 

Delay the Disease is the number one Parkinson’s disease exercise program. This extraordinary program gives individuals with Parkinson’s the opportunity to help with management of the disease through exercise. The program is designed to empower those living with Parkinson’s by optimizing their physical function and helping to delay the progression of symptoms.

Providing Motivation
Their highly trained staff is dedicated to offering programs relevant to functional training. “As fitness professionals, we provide a high level of service while being mindful of our residents’ and members’ expectations. The goal of the Wellness Connection Fitness Club is to embrace whole-person wellness. This is accomplished through our unique exercise programs in which everyone is given the encouragement and motivation to develop a healthy lifestyle,” she smiled. “We inspire and motivate to enhance all abilities and levels in a compassionate, fun and dynamic setting.”

O’Connor Woods is a continuing care retirement community offering all levels of living on a 34-acre campus. Serving the community for 29 years, the campus includes independent living, assisted living, skilled nursing and rehabilitation, memory care and an adult social day program, A Day Away. The Wellness Connection serves not only residents but is open on a fee basis to the 60-plus community.

Visit for more information or call 209-956-3470.