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Charlotte Fitness Coordinator on a Mission to Help Seniors Feel Their Absolute Best

For Katie Cracraft, fitness coordinator at Waltonwood Cotswold, helping seniors feel their very best is her passion. Cracraft works diligently to get to know each resident, striving to learn what physical activity will motivate each person on an individual level. Waltonwood Cotswold brought Cracraft onboard as a full-time fitness coordinator to help expand the community’s fitness program. She is quickly transforming residents’ physical health one exercise session at a time, which is highly important to the community of Waltonwood Cotswold. Cracraft works diligently to find physical activities that will resonate with residents’ individual goals. Cracraft said she gets to know each resident on a personal level in order to help her understand what activities would inspire each resident.

“It’s really about discovering each resident’s niche when it comes to physical activity,” said Cracraft. “Some residents prefer lifting light weights, and other residents enjoy stationary bicycling or participating in an exercise class. It’s my mission to cater to each resident’s needs and figure out which activity will motivate them to become healthier and stronger.”

One Waltonwood Cotswold resident in particular, Florence Rosenberg, has Cracraft feeling like her methodology is working. Rosenberg, 87, has rediscovered her passion for bicycling with the help of Cracraft. Rosenberg’s daughter, Susan, told Cracraft that her mother used to bicycle on a daily basis. Cracraft developed a twice-a-week exercise plan to remind Rosenberg of her bicycling days. To help motivate Rosenberg, Cracraft incorporated Rosenberg’s favorite classical music in her exercise routines, such as Mozart. Rosenberg, who has six grandchildren, and communicated to her daughter and Cracraft that her goal was to get physically stronger to help her arthritis, so she can keep up with her active grandchildren. She also had knee and hip replacement surgery recently, and finds that bicycling speeds up her joint and muscle recovery.

“I feel happy, and I have more energy,” said Rosenberg. “Katie motivates me throughout the week to keep moving on my stationary bicycle. My advice to other seniors is to start small. I take it one day at a time, and try to focus on feeling physically stronger. That way, when I spend time with my grandchildren I have the energy to play with them.”

To catch a glimpse into the residents’ backgrounds in physical activity, Cracraft spends time individually with each resident in her ‘One to One Fitness’ class. Cracraft, who previously worked as a personal trainer, feels one-on-one sessions helps her better understand residents’ physical activity goals.

“It’s incredibly rewarding to see residents enjoy working out,” Said Cracraft. “As the weeks go on, I’m able to witness them have more energy, laugh and overall feel like they’re accomplishing something that’s so important to their health. It’s really a beautiful experience, and I look forward to implementing more classes in the future.” 

Florence Rosenberg, 82, training on the bike
Thursday, January 19, 2017