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Jumping Back Into Exercise Pays Big Dividends

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David Hutchens is a regular at the Joe Holliman Fitness Center at Inverness Village.

By David Hutchens

When Jill and I moved to Inverness Village in late September 2013, getting started on an exercise program was high up on my bucket list. Fast forward to mid-January; I finally made an appearance at the Fitness Center.

What a great experience that was. Cara Cooper welcomed me and set up an appointment with Tiffany DeSautell to do my indoctrination and physical evaluation and classification. After that appointment - I called it a workout - I was totally exhausted! But I agreed to attend the 9:00 a.m. exercise class on Tuesday and Thursday mornings. Walking into my first class I discovered that I was the only guy in a room full of ladies. Since my presence didn’t seem to bother them, I stuck around and got my first dose of real exercise in many years, maybe 20 or more. After that session I recalled that wonderful feeling that develops after a tough workout.

A day or two later Patrick Simmons announced he was going to conduct a four-week fitness class for men. Signing up for that is one of the single most important things that I have done in a very long time. First, I met six like-minded residents. I wasn’t too conscious of my age because I was in the middle of a group of 74- to 93-year old athletes. And I became acquainted with the wonderful staff of the Joe Holliman Fitness Center; Patrick Simmons, Tiffany DeSautell, and Cara Cooper, led by Jana Headrick, Director of Wellness for Inverness Village.

I decided to use the treadmill for about ten minutes before class, and each day I pushed myself a little harder and faster.

On a Saturday morning near the end of the program, I ran an errand to get my great-grandson some milk. I parked about 30 yards from the store and hurried in. I rushed to the grocery department in the back of the store and quickly headed back to the checkout counter. A short distance from the car I suddenly realized I was not gasping for breath; I wasn’t even breathing very hard. Normally I would have been breathless after walking that far that fast. I’ve noticed another important change. Now when I walk up stairs, I walk in the middle of the steps, not on the side holding the hand rail. Wow! That is great progress for me.

It might be possible that some residents don’t fully realize the little gem we have in the Joe Holliman Fitness Center. It is said to be about as nice a fitness center as any around. When you throw in the people factor, it is the best!

In the early planning stages  of Inverness Village, the Founder’s concepts of a fitness center were well ahead of their time. Dr. Landry, in his book Live Long, Die Short, describes fitness centers in retirement villages of the times as: “…an exercise room and donated equipment.” At Inverness there were dreams and plans to incorporate a fully equipped fitness/wellness center, and pool, to assist older people with the aging process.

Joe and Jean Holliman, for whom the fitness Center is named, arrived at Inverness Village about 2004. Joe had a desire to add additional equipment. He and Jana, who has been the Wellness Director at Inverness since the beginning, made the selection of new equipment and Joe made it happen. Later Joe and Jana planned an entire renovation of the fitness center which, again, Joe took care of the financial arrangements. This update doubled the size of the center and again added more equipment.

Open 24 hours a day, the 11,200 square-foot Joe Holliman Fitness Center has an indoor pool, solarium, showers, and professional personal trainers who create individualized fitness plans for residents, state-of-the-art exercise equipment, and a wide range of exercise classes and programs. With the exception of specialized classes, i.e., Yoga, Pilates, Tai Chi, there are no expenses.

What a great experience this has been for me. I plan on taking advantage of the fitness center for many years to come.