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It’s Never Too Late!

Active people stay independent longer – I see a real difference in our members at Brightwater where I work as the Wellness Director. We offer five levels of care, and those who exercise regularly move through those levels of care much more slowly if at all! Sitting a lot is the absolute worst thing you can do for your health. Without intervention, aging takes away our flexibility, muscular strength, and endurance, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Anyone, at any age, can improve their bone and muscle strength. Body composition is the other component of good health and is directly related to diet. Exercise classes are a fun way to get a work-out. A group of wellness directors, myself included, got together and created a class to reverse sarcopenia, which is muscle loss due to aging. The goal of the class is to win back lost muscle and bone and help our members develop a habit of regular exercise. We offer this class at Brightwater, along with another class, Stretch and Breath, that incorporates yoga and deep breathing, with a focus on stretching. We also have mat classes, Tai Chi, line dancing and more. The most important thing is to do something you’ll enjoy. Studies show that if you exercise regularly for 90 days it becomes a habit and you won’t want to stop – we help our members create this habit with our classes and you can get the same result with your preferred exercise classes. It’s not necessary to join a class if you are not a “joiner.” Walking and bike riding are both great exercises, but you’ll need to incorporate some resistance training. Each of us needs to address all areas of wellness. Adding variety to your exercise program keeps you improving and getting stronger.

Recently, there was a study done at Wake Forest University to try to figure out what keeps some people independent longer than others. The conclusion was lower body strength. The body adapts as it strengthens, so it’s important to do different exercises. That’s how we keep improving. Wellness is more than physical fitness. We all need physical, mental and spiritual stimulation. Interaction with younger people is great for our aging population and we incorporate it here through our award-winning JOY (Joining Older and Younger) program. Getting involved with something you love is another important component of healthy aging. I love helping people become “weller.” We coined that term because no matter how well you are, you can always improve. It’s important for me to be energetic, enthusiastic and encouraging – it’s contagious! Doing this work is a calling. I had planned to go to nursing school and while I was waiting to go, I went to work at the Lakes at Litchfield, our sister community. I was called to go to nursing school twice, but turned it down both times. I’ve been doing this work since 2005 – 5 ½ years at the Lakes at Litchfield, and then I moved to Brightwater. Making a difference in people’s lives means a lot to me. I live in Myrtle Beach and when I’m not working I love the beach and doing genealogy research. Until recently, I was a member of a Sweet Adelines Quartet – we sang at local assisted living communities. Unfortunately, our baritone moved, but I still lead sing-a-longs at work and members love them! Did you know our voices age as well? Singing is a great way to exercise the vocal chords and keep your voice sounding youthful!

Susan Parrotta is Wellness Director at Brightwater, a 5x Argentum award winning community in Myrtle Beach. The public is invited to participate in the upcoming Brightwater Sweetheart Run on Saturday, February 8th. A One Mile Fun Run will be held at 9:30am and a 5K Run at 10am. After you’ve worked out, stay for the popular Chocolate Festival with live entertainment. Proceeds benefit the local American Heart Association.

To register, visit www.brightwater-living.com or https://runsignup.com/Race/SC/MyrtleBeach/BrightwaterSweetheartWalkRun.