Oak Hill exercise stations part of larger wellness plan

Magnolia Terrace resident Milton Wild prepares to use an upper-body strength station on the walking trail. (submitted photo)

The Oak Hill elder care facility recently installed three exercise stations along its walking trail for added strength building while walking.

Each of the three stations has three sides, including one for wheelchair-bound users.

The exercise stations were made possible through the donations of several sponsors: the American Legion, First National Bank of Waterloo, Monroe County Surgical Center, Harrisonville Telephone Company, Southern Illinois Center for Health, the Rotary Club and Waterloo Lions Club.

Both Oak Hill residents and staff have been thrilled with the installation of this new equipment, and community events coordinator Stephanie Bastien said she has seen several residents out using them despite the warmer temperatures.

The overall project began in 2013 when Oak Hill administrator Kim Keckritz wanted to focus more on wellness at the facility.

“We have several different exercise programs residents participate in,” Keckritz said. “So much of the research shows that no matter how old you are, there’s a tremendous benefit to doing exercise. We want people to stay well as long as they can.”

The stations utilize both upper-body and lower-body muscles, and include activities like an arm bike, yoga stretches and balance activities.

“There’s different levels, too,” Bastien said. “It’s very senior-friendly.”

In addition to sponsors of the exercise stations, they’ve had numerous donations for the

walking trail as a whole, which includes a pavilion (currently in the works) and will include a playground in the future.

The walking trail and its features are open to the public.

The current walking trail spans a quarter of a mile and has benches along the way, but Keckritz said the trail could expand if the need and enthusiasm is present.

“(The residents) are very curious to get out there and see what they’re all about,” Bastien said. “Oak Hill really is doing the most they can for the residents.”

Oak Hill has a gazebo and fishpond with landscaping, and Keckritz said families are always out and walking around, so this is just another great step.

Christy Brinkmann, Oak Hill’s community services director, said the walking trail serves as a great way for families to get involved while visiting loved ones.

“It’s way better than just sitting in a room staring at walls,” Brinkmann said. “We’re really trying to keep everyone connected.”

Now that the exercise stations have been erected and installed, the next step is the pavilion, followed by the installation of the playground.

“Being outside changes your mood, and getting exercise helps, too,” Keckritz said.

She said final touches on the overall walking trail project should be done by the end of summer.

“In September, we’re planning a big open house celebration where we’ll recognize all our donors to this project,” she said. “We’ve had so much support.”

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