Shirley Ernst

Shirley Ernst

By Sarah Crowder

Expert trainers. A heated indoor swimming pool. State-of-the-art equipment. These are the makings of a professional-level gym, and they can all be found on-campus at the luxury retirement community, The Gatesworth.

Multiple fitness classes and open gym hours are offered on dry land at The Gatesworth, but it's the in-pool activities that interest resident Shirley Ernst. The Gatesworth offers Water Fitness and Arthritis Water Fitness classes, in addition to open pool time. It's then that Ernst, pool noodle in-hand, gets to exercising. While she says she has taken the courses before, her 30- to 45-minute, three-day-a-week regime of solo water exercises is more her style.

"I primarily do it for my mental health, my physical fitness and my balance," says Ernst, who has lived at The Gatesworth for almost two years. That drive for wellness through water helped Ernst decide on moving to The Gatesworth in the first place. "That's the primary reason why I came here… because they have a wonderful water facility and some wonderful instructors."

Outside of the pool, The Gatesworth's fitness facility also offers courses to residents like Power Toning, Men's and Women's Fitness Class, Tai Chi and Balance Class.

"Even though you work out, that doesn't mean you can go bouncing around like a 20-year-old; you still have aches and pains," says Ernst. Lucky for residents, on-campus Spa | One is available for massages, as well as facials, salon or barbershop appointments, makeup application, body treatments, and nail services.

"It's a great place for facials and massages," she says, noting that she also visits the in-spa salon. She says that the facials are her favorite part—a luxurious treat she hadn't tried before visiting The Gatesworth's retreat. "They do a wonderful job, and it's a lovely spa to go to."

Outside of the pool and spa, Ernst says enjoys the discussions that are held on-campus related to things like current events, elections and taxes. Other community happenings include group outings, theme parties, movie nights, art classes, musical performances and more. There are "so many different things to do here," she says.

ON THE COVER: The Gatesworth features a state-of-the-art fitness center and indoor swimming pool to be used by residents as part of its focus on wellness. Pictured: Shirley Ernst. For more information, call 993-0111 or visit

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