Senior living residents swim their way to fitness and fun

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seniors in pool

New England summers often end abruptly, with a sudden cold snap freezing would-be pool-goers in place. Thanks to a heated indoor lap swimming pool, however, residents at New Horizons reap the physical and social benefits of pool weather all year long.  


“Water aerobics is one of the most beneficial forms of exercise for senior citizens,” said Madeleine Gelsinon, an American Council on Exercise-certified senior fitness instructor. “It’s especially helpful for people who have undergone hip or knee replacement surgeries or are managing other chronic orthopedic conditions.”

Gelsinon visits New Horizons at Marlborough four times a week to lead “Watercise” classes in the shallow end of the extra-large pool. Residents enjoy these classes, and general use of the pool, at no additional charge.

The water’s buoyancy minimizes joint strain, according to Gelsinon, making it a comfortable low-impact workout environment for people managing arthritis, osteoporosis, or diminished cartilage. 

Standing in shallow water is also great for balance and strength training. Seniors benefit from the challenge of working against the water’s natural resistance and the security of the water’s ability to prevent or cushion potentially risky falls.

“Working in three and a half feet of water is great for safety, and the residents tell me they love that they can get a great workout and enjoy the pool without even getting their hair wet,” said Gelsinon.

Her standard hour-long program targets participants’ balance, flexibility, posture, stamina, and strength. 

Watercise class starts with a “water walking” warmup. Seniors wade through the water to build lower body muscle tone and a steadier, more upright gait. Next is strength-training using water dumbbells, which get heavier and heavier as they absorb more water. She ends each session with a program of abdominal work and additional balance exercises.

(Left to right) Visiting instructor Madeleine Gelsinon and New Horizons
residents Mary Elizabeth York, Joan Lawrence, Henry Paltrineri, Margaret “Peggy”
Flood, Marguerite “Peg” Crawford, John Furey, and Margaret “Peg” Bouvier enjoy
Watercise class in the on-campus lap swimming pool.


According to New Horizons resident Peg Bouvier, “The pool is the perfect place to meet up and get the daily exercise we need.” 

Bouvier is among the many New Horizons community members who love the water. She swims with fellow resident John Furey as often as twice a day.

Whether residents visit the pool for a formal class, to swim laps, or simply to splash around a bit, this attraction is a great excuse to get out and connect with other residents.

“Having an amenity-rich campus makes it so easy for residents to stay active socially, which is critical as people age,” said New Horizons executive director Betsy Connolly, M.S. Gerontology. “They’re bound to bump into friends—and meet new ones—whether they’re at the pool, exercising in our fitness center, tending to our many raised planting beds, or getting their hair done at our salon.”

Connolly noted that other on-campus amenities, such as the movie theater, chapel, and pharmacy and general store, are also popular meetup spots for residents at New Horizons.

Family Fun

Although New Horizons’ pool is not open to the general public, residents are welcome to invite guests to join them for a dip. This feature is especially popular with grandchildren, accordingly to Connolly.

“Seniors are sometimes hesitant to ‘downsize’ to an independent or assisted living residence, but then they realize that the entire New Horizons campus will be their home,” said Connolly. “We love seeing families playing in the pool, enjoying meals together in our dining rooms, and helping to tend our farm-to-table gardens.”

Senior Living in MetroWest Boston

Located on a pastoral 40-acre campus at 400 Hemenway Street, New Horizons at Marlborough offers independent living, assisted living, memory care, respite stays, and geri-psych programs. The not-for-profit retirement community is owned and operated by Woburn-based Cummings Foundation, one of the several largest private foundations in New England. 

New Horizons is currently welcoming new residents to its MetroWest senior living community. Thanks to a unique rate-lock policy, new residents are guaranteed no increases to their rent and board fees for at least their first six years. These fees include all charges for lodging, gourmet meals, water, heat, air conditioning, basic cable TV, local telephone service, parking, and regular maintenance. 

Contact us online or at 508-460-5200 to arrange a time to tour our campus, meet our residents and staff, and sample a home-cooked meal. 

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