Bethesda independent living residents now have more ways to stay on top of their game now that classes in Balance and Strength & Stretch are being offered at all of Bethesda’s independent living communities. Amanda Joggerst, Wellness Coordinator for Bethesda Senior Support Solutions, leads the classes twice a week and daily at Bethesda Orchard, besides offering one-on-one personal training for residents.

“My balance class is a program of exercises that is a combination of my experience and input from residents and their physicians. I will hear that someone needs a certain kind of movement to help them maintain their mobility,” Amanda says. She started working exclusively with seniors after participating in conferences on senior active aging in California.

The 45-minute class, while conducted seated and standing, assisted-with-chair, is still quite rigorous. Both lower and upper body movements are incorporated with stretches. Research has shown that physical exercise not only helps the body but helps manage stress, mood and will improve sense of self.

“Rather than slowing down as you age,” Amanda asserts, “ we need to add as much activity to our lives as we can.” She stresses that seniors don’t need to do strenuous workouts at a gym but that increasing the body movements in everyday pursuits can be a great way to maintain strength, balance and independence.

Several Bethesda Garden residents echoed her sentiments. Joe Day, a first-timer to the class said, ”It was challenging, but I will come back.” Peggy Striler’s physician recommended exercise to relieve rheumatism in both her hands. And Phyllis Edwards may have emphysema, but she keeps up with the group. Monetta Nelson’s husband plays softball and she participates in the Wellness Classes that Bethesda offers, “I can feel the difference, a little stronger, a little more confident.”

One sentiment all the participants shared was that avoiding falling was a priority. That’s a major goal of Amanda and all of the staff at Bethesda. She summed it up this way, “We want all of our residents to be able to continue their quality of life for as long as they can, I don’t really see an age limit to being active and healthy.”