Riverside Doctors’ Hospital Williamsburg will relaunch two specialized exercise programs this fall – Building Balance and Maintaining Movement – that encourage movement while improving cognitive abilities.

Building Balance, a prevention program geared toward adults who want to be proactive in preventing falls, is open to anyone. Maintaining Movement, a high intensity program that incorporates circuit style moves, is for anyone living with a neurological condition.

Both programs were put on hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Classes will begin again on Oct. 20 and will be held on Tuesdays and Thursdays at Riverside Doctors’ Hospital Williamsburg. Building Balance will be offered at 9 a.m., and Maintaining Movement will be at 10 a.m.

Building Balance focuses on strengthening the muscles of the lower body in order to prevent falls.

“As we get older, the muscles of the lower body deteriorate if you’re not training them,” said Beth Gross, Riverside’s Director of Clinical Wellness Development. “It’s important to make sure you’re working those muscles.”

Inactivity can also lead to balance problems, said Gross, who encourages anyone starting or returning to a fitness program to enroll. While fall prevention is a hallmark benefit of the class, gaining self-confidence is another side effect. The Maintaining Movement classes previously offered were specific to those with Parkinson’s disease.

“We’ve opened it up to all neurological patients,” Gross said. “Maintaining Movement is high intensity interval training based on your abilities.” Developed with Riverside physicians and therapists, classes will include exercises to increase hand-eye coordination, challenge balance and improve stability. Functional exercises will be incorporated.

“These are exercises that mimic the activities of daily living and raise the heart rate,” Gross said.

Exercises are modified for participants to perform standing or seated.

Cognitive “brain exercises” meant to stimulate the mind-body connection will be part of both classes.

Sterilization and cleaning precautions are in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Masks are not required during exercise but are encouraged. Participants will receive their own set of sanitized equipment to use and be separated by at least 10 feet. Class sizes are limited.

All participants need medical clearance from a provider prior to enrolling.

Each class will be offered in 10-week sessions for a cost of $120 apiece. If someone is a caregiver for another with dementia or if the interested participant suffers from dementia, classes are free due to grant funding.

Sign up by calling 757-875-7533.

In addition, either class is free for Riverside Wellness and Fitness Center members at locations in Newport News and Gloucester. Non-members can pay $120 for 10 classes.

Published: September 28, 2020