Samantha Lenz, Fitness Specialist, Walker Methodist Westwood Ridge, West St. Paul
It was love that got Samantha into senior fitness at Walker Westwood in November 2020. She and her husband are Minnesota and Wisconsin natives but their west and east careers had them nearly 1,100 miles apart. The answer was the Twin Cities. That and a methodical cross sectioning of the values she sought in her fitness work against all the available fitness job postings landed her on Walker.
Sam already knew from her adult fitness students on her previous college campus jobs that there are more benefits to be derived for adults investing in preserving and improving their health. And they are more appreciative too. It was challenging to help kids work up to exceptional weight lifting limits. But it just didn’t compare.
Sam had also connected with seniors as a teen when she and a friend got into Zoomba. But when the friend dropped out because they were the youngest by nearly 30 years Sam carried on. She eventually filled in for an instructor friend. Then came the certification and a year and a half of instructing went by.
Fitness driven by a passion for improvement
The excitement for Sam’s work came through very clearly. The thrill she feels from helping her seniors recognize the possibilities, work at achieving them, and revel in the results is infectious. It is easy to see that Sam envisions clearly those possibilities. She doesn’t force it upon her folks, but in exuding such palpable certainty in the process I can see how residents are easily attracted to the idea of giving it a try.
So, true to her passion for the benefits potential she holds high the torch of increasing strength and conditioning over just maintaining current condition. “Raising the threshold is like getting additional insurance. Why wouldn’t you want that?!” Sam proclaimed. However, not all have the growth mindset for starting out for improvement. At least not at first.
Improvement driven by patience and persistence
Driven though she is, Sam is also perceptive and patient. For those who aren’t ready to jump on board at first she gives them the time and space. And then she’s right there to lead the way. One woman was familiar with exercise but wasn’t interested in any improvement ideas. She had her machine routines. And after respecting her space for some time the woman eventually asked about Sam’s ideas and tried some new approaches. Here is what another resident has to say about the results of Sam’s guidance:
“I feel like I’m stronger, my legs are better. Everything has gotten easier to do since getting stronger, especially walking. I recognize that I am taking bigger steps than I used to even a few weeks ago. I can feel the strength in my legs when I do my exercises now, which I never could before even when we did the same exercises. My muscles are definitely holding me up better and helping me to move my body more effectively.” – Ginny Weber, 83
“We have had residents move in with very limited mobility, and after a few months of working with Sam they are walking more confidently, some are even able to put their walkers in storage. Samantha inspires and empowers our residents to achieve their optimal physical and mental health!” — Michele Gorden, Director of Sales and Marketing, Walker Westwood Ridge