A New Addition to Wellness at Pennswood Village: A Recumbent Tricycle
Despite having a low profile, Pennswood’s latest ‘resident’ has been getting around quite a bit since arriving recently, and has even attracted a small but growing fan club.
That ‘resident’ is a three-wheeled recumbent tricycle.
“It’s slowly becoming popular,” says Fitness and Aquatics Manager Becky Popik. “The small group of people who are riding it, love it! We have a really lovely campus with a lot of property that people can ride around. They can loop around the buildings and ride the paths around the meadow.
“I think there are some residents who have two-wheeled bikes that are now going unused because they’ve become a little more concerned about keeping their balance,” she explains. “It can be a little more challenging to ride a regular bike as you get older.
“I thought this three-wheeled bike would be a good thing to have in the community,” she adds. “It will let residents take rides and enjoy the wind in their hair without worrying about maintaining their balance.”
In addition to eliminating concerns about falls, the tricycle also provides some back support, making it usable by residents with a wide variety of physical abilities. Residents interested in using the tricycle get a brief initial orientation, and then can sign it out at the front desk for up to two hours whenever they’re in the mood. It’s available seven days a week.
“I’ve talked to other people who have used it, we all think it’s fun,” says resident Helen Villa. She and fellow resident, Lynne Waymon, had raised the idea of getting a tricycle to Becky. Helen’s experiences in traveling to Florida with her husband prompted the suggestion.
“We go to Sanibel Island in the spring,” she says. “It has 22 miles of bike paths. I found I was afraid of getting on a regular bike, so I tried a trike. I’ve been using it for the past six years. I love ’em!”
Lynne said she had a conversation with her husband and her sister a while back where she talked about wanting to get a bike. Her sister suggested she check out adult tricycles.
“I was talking to Becky about it, to see if we could get one,” Lynne says. “The trainers here are so responsive. They’re always looking for ways to support us in any kind of exercise program.
“The trike is so good!” she adds. “You can go out along all the pathways, and see all the birds and wildlife up close, and then also go in all pathways around the courtyards and in front of the community building.
“It’s just wonderful. It’s red and low to the ground. It’s very stable, has a basket, a bell, three speeds, hand brakes and foot brakes … and a big tall flag.”
Becky likes seeing that the residents enjoy taking the tricycle out for spins.
“The riders haven’t been too structured about biking specific distances, they’ve been more taking the approach of ‘get out and play,’ which is what I like about it,” Becky explains. “We do have maps that show the distances of different paths if people want to look that up, but no one’s been too concerned about that to this point.”
The tricycle is not the first resident-prompted idea the community has adopted. Becky and her crew of fitness trainers and aquatics instructors make it a point to listen to residents’ ideas when figuring out ways to promote wellness at Pennswood Village.
“We really take their feedback seriously and their ideas make for a much healthier campus and community,” she explains. “There’s a really strong community vibe here.
“I think people’s appreciation for these kinds of services has really risen,” she adds. “We have more people for whom being physically active has always been a part of their lives. They understand the importance of working at being active in order to stay fit and healthy.
“I’m a big fan of fitness and wellness,” she says. “I just like being involved with helping people live their best lives.”