The grounds surrounding the Woodlands Retirement Community in Huntington are breathtaking, and many residents lace up their walking shoes nearly every day to take advantage of their well-kept surroundings.

While being active is commonplace at Woodlands, the community has gathered a group of staff and residents to further champion an environment of physical fitness and wellness. The group is spearheading the community’s participation in Active Aging Week, which runs this year from Sept. 27 through Oct. 3.

“Woodlands has been committed to active aging for a long time, but now we are making an official push to raise awareness,” said Dr. Cindy Pinson, Woodlands medical director. “We want to make it clear that Woodlands is a place seniors can come to stay active and live their lives to the fullest.”

The driving force behind Woodland’s commitment to wellness is new President and CEO Jeff Harkins. Pinson said he hit the ground running when he came to Woodlands, and his dedication to improving the lives of the community’s residents cannot be understated.

Active Aging Week was initiated in 2003 by the International Council on Active Aging to celebrate the capability of older adults to maintain active lifestyles. This is Woodlands first year participating in the event, and they are using the event to showcase their renewed commitment to wellness.

Woodland has created a new wellness team, comprised of staff members and four “Resident Champions.” Betty Anne Hale, John Hunt, Dee Cook and Charla Hardy are leaders within Woodlands Retirement Community who have volunteered to take on the role of raising awareness about the importance of wellness.

“Many of us are already doing this,” said Cook. “When we can, we walk outside. When the weather is bad, we walk the halls. There are quite a few of us that stay as active as we can. The thing is, we want to make sure all residents, new and old, know that this entire community is making our wellness a priority.”

There are a number of ways Woodlands is highlighting its commitment to wellness. New gym equipment, participation in Active Aging Week and, a resident favorite, a new indoor walking trail. The walking trail will be unveiled this month, and Woodlands staff has already worked out a number of events to get residents actively involved.

“We are going to put mile markers along the trail,” said Molly Watson, activities director. “Our first event is going to be having residents collectively walk miles equivalent to the distance of I-95 from Maine to Florida. We feel creating goals and making the event fun is a great way to get residents more involved.”

And that’s the entire point, said all members of the wellness team. Getting residents involved in wellness activities. Pinson said the community already has a large numbers of active residents and she has no doubt raising awareness will lead to more people walking the halls and grounds.

Woodlands is proud to join hundreds of other communities around the world in celebrating Active Aging Week and renewing their commitment to improving the wellness of its residents. For more information about Woodlands Retirement Community, please visit woodlandswv.com.

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