January Wellness Month
When Mackenzie Jones became the Wellness Director at Champion Hills in Hendersonville, N.C., in 2018, her main focus was to make fitness accessible for everybody. “For our older membership demographic, fitness can be a little intimidating,” she said. “I didn’t want it to be that way. At the end of the day, the healthier our membership is, the longer they can be living their best life. They can be out on the golf course longer, or hiking the hills here longer. That’s important for the health and longevity of our club.”
Jones and her team of personal trainers help members improve their fitness levels, come back from injuries, or address ongoing health issues with a combination of cardio, strength, and stretching programs.
“Wellness is as much mental as it is physical,” she said. “There’s so many studies that show how good physical activity is for your mental state. I always tell our members that the hardest part of any workout is walking through the front door. Jump on a treadmill for five minutes. And I promise you at the end of that five minutes, you will go five more. For my team and our membership, there is not a ‘can’t.’ There is a, ‘How can I?’”
It’s a successful formula. Jones said 75 percent of the Champion Hills membership utilize the Wellness Center, a 5,000-square-foot facility tucked into the side of a mountain across from the main clubhouse.
“We teach crazy hard, make-you-cry strength classes, but we also have classes that are more gentle, like yoga and chair-supported strength training,” she said. “We want to make sure everyone who walks through our front door feels welcome.”
Jones teaches six classes a week. “I always incorporate personal challenges in my classes, like a plank challenge, where we have had members in their 70s advance from 25 seconds to holding five-minute planks. We still have to cross train during the winter months to be ready for golf season.”
The meditative aspect of yoga impacts overall wellness, but so does being around other members. “It’s about the camaraderie,” said Jones. “A lot of our members might not see each other during the course of their regular day, but they know they will spend time together at the Wellness Center. That’s really important, especially during the winter time when things get a little quieter here. It’s as much social as it is being physical.”