“My philosophy is that wellness is a comprehensive concept,” she says. “That’s why Judson’s wellness activities also address the mind and the spirit.”
Diane, a certified yoga and aquatics instructor, and personal trainer, is also a professional signer with a knack for integrating rhythm into wellness programming.
While popular activities like cardio-drumming and ballroom dancing have an obvious musical component, Diane says she tries to incorporate music into everything she does. “After all, music is in all of us! It’s a mood enhancer. For people with dementia, for instance, the ability to respond to music remains long after other abilities are gone.”
Studies have indeed shown that music, like exercise, is good for the mind. It can reduce anxiety, blood pressure, and pain as well as improve sleep quality, mood, mental alertness, and memory. Combined with physical activity, it can enhance thinking by reducing insulin resistance and inflammation, and stimulating the release of chemicals in the brain that affect the health of brain cells.
While classes vary from campus to campus, fitness activities range from meditation and chair yoga to Tai Chi and deep-water aquatics. Even in group classes, instructors strive to understand the needs of each individual and design activities to meet them at their level, whether that means gentle conditioning or power walking in the pool.
In fact, the warm-water pool classes at Judson Park and South Franklin Circle have proven particularly popular. According to Judson Park aquatic instructor Chris Ridings, that reflects the fact that swimming is an ideal all-around exercise. “It’s great for heart health, it reduces the risk of coronary artery disease, it builds endurance, and it improves strength in both the upper and lower body,” he says. “Plus, it’s a great way to be active without doing damage to the joints.” Judson instructors are experts at getting residents comfortably into the water, regardless of their swimming ability. And for those with more limited mobility, Judson offers People with Arthritis Can Exercise (PACE), a group program developed by the Arthritis Foundation.
The pools are also important hubs for socializing, Diane explains. “They’re a very social environment. People come early; they stay late; they go to the hot tub and talk. It all goes back to that mind-and-spirit quality of exercise.”
While pool memberships are available to members of the greater community, Judson Manor residents are always welcome to use the pools at either campus.
Manor residents also can take part in a very special walking program, lead by fitness instructor Scott Curtis. Under Scott’s direction, the walkers meet in the lobby before striding out into the surrounding areas of University Circle, Wade Oval, and the Case-Western Reserve University campus, where they enjoy fresh air and conversation.
Body. Mind. Spirit. With so many ways to be active, Judson’s wellness program is the foundation of a life well lived.