Serving Up Pickleball and More at the Wellness Center

Published: August 30, 2022

Whitney Ariza has been with River Landing as Wellness Director for nearly 10 years. During that time, she’s been fortunate to be part of multiple expansions. However, the latest expansion, which included a new, state-of-the-art wellness center that opened in the fall of 2020, has allowed her to offer more programming and fitness opportunities than ever.

“I was blown away by River Landing when I first started,” says Whitney. “I love the people. And now the new wellness center just has so much to offer — the latest equipment, classroom, game room — our programming space is 20 times what it was.”

The wellness center is open 24/7 allowing residents and staff, even employees on third shift, the flexibility to prioritize their fitness and overall wellbeing. Whitney oversees all of the programming at the center, teaches several different courses for residents, and creates wellness programming for staff members. 

According to Whitney, one of the most popular new programs in the new wellness center — among residents and staff — is pickleball. The indoor sports court offers doubles pickleball play almost every day for players of every skill level. The wellness staff matches individual players of similar ability. Or, groups can sign up for a time slot during open court times. It has also become a great way for couples to stay active together.

Whitney estimates that at least 30 residents play on a regular basis ranging from those who are beginners to any kind of sport all the way to more advanced players who have transitioned from playing tennis. The staff also has a group of players who enjoy friendly games on a regular basis. 

Pickleball has seen a surge in popularity across the country over the past few years. Play resembles a compact version of tennis that allows for a fun, competitive game without demanding as much movement and impact on joints and muscles as tennis or other racket sports.

With all its popularity, residents and staff enjoy ample court time and even share the court with other indoor activities. This is no doubt due to Whitney and her team being exceptional at organizing and scheduling programs to make it possible for residents to enjoy regular access to the spaces, classes, equipment and activities.

And that is by design. River Landing’s whole-person approach to wellness helps nurture a welcoming atmosphere, especially when it comes to staying active.

“No matter their fitness level or interests, all are welcome,” Whitney says. “We’re excited to help each individual get started to match their interests with programs and activities they love.”

And with residents coming to the community earlier in life, Whitney has loved getting to know them and their families. “River Landing has a lot of doers,” she continues. “They are still active, busy, traveling and being more involved overall.”

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