By Jean Clark
Every program, magazine or newspaper article on health stresses the importance of exercise. When they are young, people don’t even think about it — exercise just happens as they play sports, clean house, work in yards and repair their domiciles, chase their children, pursue education and careers. As they age, those activities diminishes and demands are lessened on their lives. That’s when they realize that they actually have to plan for exercise to keep those joints and muscles working and flexible.
Those living in Pleasant Hill are fortunate as there are multiple opportunities to continue enjoyable physical pursuits often with congenial friends. Uplands Village hires an activities director, Sally Nash, who leads two Flex and Stretch classes in Fletcher House three mornings a week. Those classes are a combination of aerobics, weight training, yoga, Pilates and – oh, yes – “flexing and stretching.” Nash also keeps the elders at Wharton Homes moving and engaged in stimulating activities. She is planning “wheelchair yoga” for them in the future.
Tammy Williams and Joyce Smith are trained in restorative therapy to keep Wharton Homes' elders functional and able to perform activities of daily living. There are also in-house physical therapists providing necessary therapy. There is a physical/occupational therapy gym on campus that other village residents can receive short term needed therapy, covered by Medicare or other insurance. Uplands Village will be renovating the original Wharton Nursing Home creating 31 private rooms for Medicare A skilled nursing rehabilitation. Besides a PT/OT Gym, there will be a 70-foot by 18-foot Wellness Center complete with cardio equipment and weights. An aquatic center is planned with two pools for lap swimming and water therapy, which will be located on the other side of Lake Rd.
Several other exercise venues are led by talented Pleasant Hill residents who encourage people to join with them. Ruth Peeples makes her indoor, heated pool available to others who swim on a regular basis, or sporadically if they make arrangements with her. Those swimmers contribute toward the expenses of the pool’s upkeep.
A tennis club welcomes players three mornings a week in all kinds of weather. Members contribute toward the upkeep of the court.
The PH Community Church provides the PH Community House for several groups who arrange to use it. Ted McKnight leads a contra dance group there every Monday afternoon. Laura Riester leads a Tai Chi group on Sundays. Karate classes are held on Thursday afternoons led by Larry Potter. Yoga classes and ping-pong sessions are held at Fletcher House. The Earth Heart Center at 44 East Main St. owned by Rebecca Kilmer and Jerry Ziegele contains a health center or day spa complete with work out equipment, exercise tables, a hot tub and a sauna.
The paths around Lakes Laura and Alice in Pleasant Hill lend themselves to hiking and horseback riding. Canoeing or boating on those lakes work those shoulder joints. Jade Pond in back of the Wood Lane neighborhood is the scene of swimmers in summer. Dedicated volunteers keep the trails open through the woods and around the lakes. Not sure if the “Adopt-a-Highway” program qualifies, but they certainly get their exercise climbing up and down the banks along Hwy. 70 and Main St.
It’s questionable as to whether the arms or the mouths get the most exercise in the pool room at Heritage Hall. The hills around the town are a challenge for bicyclers, but there are hardy souls who cycle places. Many walk to and fro throughout the village to the post office, to church, to meetings or just for the glory of enjoying physical activity in the beautiful surroundings. Backyard gardening either for flowers or vegetables is practiced by many. The Community Garden behind Church St. is shared by those whose yards are too shady or they want more space. As discussed above, these physical activities keep us healthy and the camaraderie keeps us involved.