Fitness Center Provides Year Round Opportunity to Stay Fit

Peg Williams working on a weight machine inside Brickstone’s fitness center

Peg Williams made a decision to reclaim control of her health. It happened soon after she moved with her husband Ken back to Rochester from North Carolina earlier this year. “I had this moment where I said to myself ‘okay, I need to do something,’” recalls Peg. Prior to her recovery from knee replacement surgery three years ago, Peg and Ken were avid walkers. Since that time, she had struggled to remain committed to staying fit.

Peg and Ken’s new town house at Brickstone by St. John’s is just steps away from a state-of-the-art fitness center, which supplied Peg with extra motivation to get moving again. “I had no more excuses,” she says. “I knew the ball was in my court.” And while the fitness center—originally a boat house used mostly for storage before being refurbished in 2017—would be an important place for Peg to put in the work needed to reach her goals, it turns out that the hiking trails located on and adjacent to the Brickstone campus would be just as significant. She was in a great situation to succeed.

Peg has more than kept the promise she made to herself that day. She also joined Weight Watchers and connected a physical trainer to develop a workout regimen, both of which she manages and monitors through applications on her Fit Bit. Getting back to regular walking—often with Ken in tow—got Peg moving again, and she has not slowed down since.

Implementing a nautilus and weight training routine at the Boathouse Fitness Center has made a world of difference for Peg. “I am here at least three times a week,” she says while stretching before a recent mid-morning workout. She uses the elliptical machine, tread mill, and four different weight machines—all part of the workout plan Valerie—her personal trainer—updates regularly.

Her hard work has paid off, as Peg has lost close to thirty pounds in a little over three months. Yet, she is far from finished. Peg hopes to lose at least another 20 pounds over the next few months. Her new peers at Brickstone are sure to provide even more motivation for her to meet her goals. “One of the great things about being here is that there are a lot of other residents—many of them older than me—who are in great shape,” says Peg. “It’s inspiring.”

St. John’s Vice President of Senior Housing Paul Bartlett and Brickstone resident Peter Swift after completing the 2018 Tour de Cure

One of those inspirational Brickstone residents is Peter Swift. Twenty years Peg’s senior, Peter does not fit most stereotypes of men in their late eighties. He plays golf regularly throughout Rochester’s warmer months. He is an avid cyclist, and in recent years has biked in charity events like the Tour de Cure and travelled with his bicycle to places like California and Europe. “I try to get my heart rate up,” says Peter, who turns 89 later this year. “I’m a believer that you have a strong heart, everything else should work better.”

Peter is a regular at the Boathouse Fitness Center, particularly during the winter months. “I’m in there every second day and I try to do an hour on the elliptical,” Peter says. There’s no impact—it’s a pretty good workout.” These workouts were even more important for Peter this past winter, as he was training for a summertime bicycling trip to the Burgundy region of France, where he climbed the legendary Col de Tamié mountain pass as well as some other of what he calls the “lesser climbs” of the Tour de France.

A Brickstone resident now for several years, Peter was one of the people who proposed the development of adequate exercise facilities when asked about what the community was missing. This consensus among neighbors led to the renovation of the boathouse to accommodate the increased resident demand for workout space. “I think it’s a great addition,” Peter says of the Boathouse Fitness Center, which is now utilized by dozens of residents like him. “For me at this age, I think it’s a bonus to be doing the things I can do. I feel that I am amply rewarded for keeping fit.”

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