May is National Physical Fitness and Sports Month, and residents at Buckner Villas are as active as ever thanks to wellness director Julia Tavasoli.
Tavasoli leads the Austin senior living community in nontraditional, but popular, exercise classes such as Aqua Fit and Better Balance. Dozens of residents attend each class, including Jim Sadler, 94, and his wife Ann, 88.
“The classes offered here at Buckner Villas are unique because they keep each resident’s fitness level in mind and offer morning and afternoon classes to fit into our schedules,” said Sadler. “Plus, the classes are so enjoyable that sometimes we forget it’s a workout!”
Aqua Fit is a challenging aquatic class which includes cardio, strength and agility, while Better Balance is an aerobics class incorporating specialized fitness equipment, coordination, drills and balance poses to improve core and leg strength. Though designed specifically for seniors, these fitness classes aren't for the faint of heart. Residents perform exercises found at most local gym classes, including frog jumps, jumping jacks, weight lifting, push-ups and cardio intervals.
“We want residents to find a class that brings them joy, and so far, that’s exactly what we’ve seen,” said Tavasoli. “It’s rewarding for me to see them benefit from the classes both physically and mentally, especially because these group classes add an element of socialization and accountability.”
Buckner Villas recently completed a $29.8 million expansion which allows the community to serve up to 138 additional seniors. Aqua Fit and Better Balance are part of the growing number of classes held in the wellness center at the senior living community.
Tavasoli consistently incorporates new classes to provide well-rounded fitness options. Studies show that working out regularly as you age reduces the risk for developing dementia, decreases the risk of stroke or heart attack, creates better bone density and gives seniors more confidence and independence.