Cambridge Fitness brings activity to the retired community
There’s no getting around it. Your body, and what it needs to stay fit, changes as you age. Cambridge Fitness provides workouts that take that fact into account, whether you are in your 30s or pushing 90.
“When members walk in the door, we focus on them and their stage of life,” says BLAKE SHEPARD (pictured below), wellness director at Cambridge Fitness. “Our specialty is determining exactly where each member is and developing individualized and structured programming so they are comfortable, gain confidence, and meet their goals.”
Cambridge Fitness fills a unique space in the exercise world. Its membership is limited to area residents who are 35 and older and those who live in Cambridge Village of Wilmington, a retirement community. Its mission is to ensure its members stay healthy in body and mind, and exercise plays an important role in meeting that objective.
“Staying active is so important for the body and the brain,” says Shepard. “Strength training helps prevent joints breaking down and replacement surgeries. Exercise also helps stave off early dementia by keeping the brain stimulated. And it’s an opportunity to be social, which is so important for any individual.”
Because Cambridge Fitness caters to an older crowd, its experienced staff not only have degrees in exercise physiology, they also are knowledgeable about the needs of those who have put some wear and tear on their bodies. They are familiar with the typical injuries, illnesses, and orthopedic issues that accompany aging, the ways pregnancy can affect women’s bodies, and the strains working out can put on those in mid-life; and they develop exercise programs that take these factors into account. For older members, those programs often focus on injury prevention and rehabilitation.
With all the activities Cambridge Fitness offers, members are bound to find a fitness routine that will help them attain their fitness goals and that they like. That’s important, because enjoyment is an essential element of any exercise protocol, Shepard says.
There’s strength training, which members can do on their own or with a class like the one pictured above led by HALEY SMITHWICK, assistant wellness director. Class options range from functional strength training to weight and TRX training, there is an indoor pool, which members can use to swim laps or join an aquatic class; and yoga, barre, and Zumba classes. Personal training is available as well.
Cambridge Fitness also offers a number of amenities, including out-patient physical therapy, concierge doctor, salon and spa, and smoothie bar and cafe–a favorite spot for hanging out and socializing.
For Shepard, serving the members of Cambridge Fitness is his perfect job. A former competitive gymnast, he learned first-hand the body’s ability to heal through movement; and that put him on his career path. Shepard worked in physical therapy, and when he found he loved working with seniors, he earned his certification as a functional aging specialist.
Shepard revels in the fact that many seniors improve rapidly when they have structured exercise programs they are committed to. Under his guidance, some previously sedentary seniors are now running 5Ks. Others, who had suffered from back pain for ten years have recovered in months.
“They (seniors) tell me, ‘You’ve changed my life,’” Shepard says. “When you hear that day after day, it’s totally rewarding.”
To view more of photographer Michael Cline Spencer’s work, go to michaelclinephoto.com.
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