Charlestown expands fitness opportunities

The Baby Boomers are coming and Charlestown in Catonsville is ready to make them sweat.

As people born during the 1940s, 50s and 60s seek to transition from their longtime homes to independent living facilities, Charlestown is undergoing renovations that will dramatically expand physical fitness opportunities for current and future residents.

The main building, Charlestown Square, will be getting a new 4,300 square-foot fitness center, fitness studio for classes and swimming pool. All will be significant improvements over current facilities, which are already impressive.

Wellness manager Teresa Reymann, a Mount de Sales graduate, said younger residents are “used to going to the fitness centers, having top-notch, state-of-the-art equipment and trainers who certified and educated. Here, we not only have that, but we have certified trainers who are experienced in working with the senior market.”

Classes in standard and water aerobics, balance, yoga, tai chi and strength training will be offered.

“Having a new facility will increase our space and give us more room,” Reymann said. “We’ll have the ability to upgrade the equipment, meet the needs of the Baby Boomers and what’s on the market now for 2012. I’m really excited about it.”

While Baby Boomers are certainly a major target, there are many residents from “The Greatest Generation,” which is the Boomer predecessor, living and thriving at Charlestown.

“There is still a need for classes that meet the lower level,” Reymann said, “but we also have a big group of more active residents that like the challenges and want the elliptical, treadmills and rowing machines just like at a normal gym. They want the creativity of programs designed for them. They want to be challenged by personal trainers.”

Reymann’s office is now collaborating with Charlestown’s rehabilitation and physical therapy departments. In addition, Reymann and her staff talk with residents about taking care of themselves through good nutrition.

Resident Rosemary Erdman has been at Charlestown for seven years and walks two-a-half miles a day on the campus. She said if it’s raining, she’ll go through the hallways of Charlestown.

“You can walk for miles here,” she said.

She regularly uses the workout facilities and, because of her osteoporosis, does weight baring exercises to assist bone strength.

Erdman and Reymann said Charlestown residents play table tennis, bocce ball, softball and golf. Erdman has become one of the facility’s best table tennis players and has the singles and doubles trophies to prove it. She said residents love the sport.

“You’ll hear them say they haven’t played in 30 or 40 years,” Erdman said, pointing out that there are players aged 90 and above playing.

Reymann added: “I think one of the things that is exciting about Rosemary and a lot of our residents is that they embrace the independent environment here at (the fitness center), which encourages community activities. They’re keeping active. Anything that we provide, whether it is through the fitness center or community resources, it’s a social engagement piece because as people age, they tend to feel very isolated.”

Erdman serves as a resident ambassador with her husband. She said everyone has a friend to exercise with at Charlestown.

“A lot of them are interested when they move in because have such a great opportunity to do it and they don’t have to get in their car to go do it,” Erdman said. “That’s really a plus.”

Catholic Review

The Catholic Review is the official publication of the Archdiocese of Baltimore.