How a cardio drumming program is helping seniors get back in shape Leave a comment

MANCHESTER, Vt. (WCAX) – Residents of assisted living communities and their families were hit hard by the pandemic when they were cut off from seeing each other in person. But as life starts to open back up, some residents of an assisted living community in Bennington County are finding their rhythm again thanks to a new fitness program.

From March 2020 to the first few months of this year, it was tough to stay upbeat. That includes at Equinox Terrace, an assisted living and memory care community in Manchester.

“There was a period where residents can feel quite lonely,” said Ann Bouza, the executive director of Equinox Terrace.

“The last year has been hard,” said Teresa Cross, a resident of Equinox Terrace. “We were confined to our room and we couldn’t come to exercise and that was not good.”

But in February that started to change; restrictions were lifted and a new exercise program took shape. An idea from staff member Kathy Clary– a cardio drumming program consisting of music, drumsticks, and Pilates balls– became a hit.

“You’re leaning and raising up and going over your head. It gives you workouts you don’t get in our room just being by ourselves,” Cross said.

“It’s made a huge difference to the residents and just them participating together, and that’s the whole thing, togetherness now,” Bouza said.

Reporter Scott Fleishman: When you’re done with one of these workouts, how do you feel?

Gail Kielson/Equinox Terrace resident: Good. Energized and kind of proud of myself that I’m doing it.

Banging on the drum is a physical component of exercise for residents, but the music that plays in the background is a bit of a mental exercise. Some of the classic songs include “Jailhouse Rock” and “The Dock of the Bay,” we also heard more modern hits like “Uptown Funk.”

“It gives me a way to keep up the beat,” Kielson said. “You have to think. Even though I’m following her visually. You do have to think.”

“I’m stronger in my arms. I’m stronger in my legs because we do leg lifts and my whole body’s stronger,” Cross said.

“We had an inkling that it would be kind of an exciting and very different activity,” Bouza said. “The drumming was just such an incredible boost to the residents’ morale.”

After a year of keeping to themselves, cardio drumming is not only bringing Equinox Terrace residents out of their rooms, it’s bringing out their inner selves.

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