Healthy Resolution: Seniors Integrate Workouts
with Live 2B Healthy Senior Fitness Classess!

By Cindy Hadish

VernAnn Baxter isn’t big on New Year’s resolutions, but last year, she accomplished what few people manage to do: stick to a regular fitness routine. “I try to come regularly,” Baxter said of the Live 2 B Healthy Senior Fitness classes she and her husband attend at Summit Pointe Senior Living Community in Marion. “I enjoy exercising with a group.”

Research in the Journal of Clinical Psychology shows that while nearly half of Americans make a New Year’s resolution - many for losing weight, staying healthy and other self-improvement goals - only eight percent are successful.

Baxter’s achievement is even more remarkable given that she turned 100 in November, but the retired nurse is just one of many seniors who have benefited from Live 2 B Healthy Senior Fitness.

The company, which offers programs in 15 states in addition to Iowa, was founded in 2008 by sports professional Cory Czepa and provides onsite fitness classes to senior living centers that include skilled nursing, memory care, assisted living and independent living. Working with residents of all ability levels, Live 2 B Healthy Senior Fitness inspires older generations to live longer, healthier lives.

Chris Pipkin, Operations Manager of the Live 2 B Healthy Senior Fitness franchise covering ten Eastern Iowa counties, said the classes are unique on several levels. “An activity occupies time,” Pipkin said. “Live 2 B Healthy Senior Fitness classes make a senior’s time more valuable.” The classes do that by tailoring exercises to each resident’s ability levels. Baxter, for example, sat in her wheelchair during one recent hour-long session, but was able to participate with modifications. Stretches, balance and flexibility exercises are part of the workout, using hand weights, exercise bands and chairs.

Live 2 B Healthy Senior Fitness instructor Kelly Baker traded banters with a group of ten Summit Pointe residents, many of whom are regulars at the three-day-a-week workouts. “We pick on Kelly and he loves it, I think,” quipped Trula Ness, who, at age 85, said she has regained her sense of balance after participating in the classes.

Pipkin said the instructors are certified personal trainers, at the minimum; some have four-year degrees in exercise science. Pipkin said each community that offers Live 2 B Healthy Senior Fitness pays for the classes and offers them free to their residents and the senior public. The retirement communities and businesses that support them know that physical fitness is often the key to a happy, healthy lifestyle. “What we all need is opportunity and encouragement, and that is exactly what these classes provide,” Pipkin said.

In addition, the classes are viewed as a community outreach opportunity and many are sponsored by local businesses such as Home Instead Senior Care, JVA Mobility, and AIM Healthcare. These businesses pay for a portion of the class to further engage the senior public in positive ways.

Summit Pointe activities director, Cathy Weber, said the class size typically averages around 18 residents, with ages ranging from the late 70s to over 100. “They have really seen progress,” she said, citing residents who say they can walk “stronger” and for longer distances. “One man who fell a lot has not had a fall since he began.”

Weber said she is also impressed with the consistency and reliability of the Live 2 B Healthy Senior Fitness instructors. Many of the residents who regularly attend form a bond through the classes, she added. Pipkin said another aspect of Live 2 B Healthy Senior Fitness that differentiates itself from other activities is the testing conducted three times each year. In just three months, the average participant improves their balance by 100 percent, he said.

“We’re an evidence-based company. Our Trainers don’t hope for results. Based on hundreds of real life examples, they expect and deliver them,” he said. “When someone attends our class on a regular basis, they will improve.”

Besides physical benefits that include improved strength, balance, flexibility and mobility, emotional benefits are achieved, including improved mood, less anxiety and depression and improved cognitive skills. At age 82, Summit Pointe resident Diane Allen said the classes help her feel fit. “It keeps me strong,” she said. “Especially through the winter when the tendency is to sit for a long time.”

Seniors are invited to join the class for free to improve strength and balance, meet new friends and have fun. For more information call Chris Pipkin at 319.693.6354 or see:

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