Explore Chartwell’s Rhythm ‘n’ Moves exercise class with Lifestyle & Program Manager Tracey McDonald

We all know how important physical activity is for our overall health and wellness; we've had that message indoctrinated into us since we were all in grade school. But in my role as the organizer of activities, programs and outings at Chartwell Hampton House, I've come to realize there are some especially unique benefits of leading an active and engaged lifestyle for seniors. Most of these are obvious—heart health, keeping limber in order to maintain good mobility and prolong independence, and even helping to manage or delay many age-related diseases—but did you know that exercise can also positively impact a senior’s emotional, social and mental health?

At Chartwell, we believe that leading an active lifestyle is very important to the well-being of our residents, which is why we created what we call our “LiveNow” lifestyle programming, which incorporates classes and activities that engage the body, mind and spirit. One program that’s particularly popular across our homes and contributes to an active seniors’ lifestyle is Rhythm ‘n’ Moves, an informal class that combines interactive music with fun exercise moves.

When some of my residents hear Rhythm ‘n’ Moves is a physical fitness program, they assume the activity is beyond their abilities, but that’s the beauty of the class—it’s suited for seniors of all fitness and mobility levels! Completed from the comfort of a chair, Rhythm ‘n’ Moves is essentially a workout set to upbeat music. The first word that comes to mind when I think of it is fun. In my retirement residence, I get a group together and choreograph dance moves that get everyone’s hearts pumping and cheeks hurting from contagious laughter. When I first invite a resident to join the program, they may feel hesitant, unsure of what to expect, but once they see how much fun can be had, and how nonjudgmental the atmosphere is, they’re sold! Today, I have anywhere from 20-25 participants each week, and we’ve memorized so many choreographed songs that we even perform them at various venues in our local community.

What’s great about Rhythm ‘n’ Moves is that residents are not only getting in a good workout each week, the class unites our retirement community—outgoing individuals with shy individuals, seasoned dancers with total beginners—and we have a great time together. It’s a place where friends are made, an opportunity to socialize and de-stress, and even a chance to shine while performing for others.

Here’s what some of my residents had to say when I asked them why they decided to participate in the class:

“I want to live well, and it’s important to me to keep active. I don’t know what I’d do without the program.” – Velma

“Exercise helps keep me feeling bright and healthy.” – Sheila

“I want to keep active, and the classes give me an opportunity to make friends. I’m sure I’ve made most of my friends here during water breaks.” – Lois

In addition to Rhythm ‘n’ Moves, many of my residents also take advantage of on-site fitness facilities, daily exercise, dance classes, and even a walking club once a week. I encourage them to get involved in an activity they enjoy—whether it’s exercise related or not—as active living opportunities not only help them feel a part of their retirement community, but help them to live life to the fullest.

To learn more about our Rhythm ‘n’ Moves exercise class, click here.

Want to know what other activities, classes and outings are offered at Chartwell retirement homes across Canada? Download a sample activity calendar.