Kathy Carver is one of the two fitness managers through the Sun City Texas Community Association who teaches and facilitates a variety of classes to keep residents active. Carver is a yoga instructor and personal trainer with 35 years of fitness experience and nine national certifications. She encouraged Sun City residents who aren’t taking a class through the fitness department to get involved to boost both their physical activity level and social connection.

These responses have been edited for length, style and clarity.

Tell me about your department and what all you do.

Well, I am one of the fitness managers. Myself and the other fitness manager, Beth White, manage the four fitness facilities in Sun City. We have about 150 classes per week. We hold classes at three studios. And we have about 46 fitness instructors that teach those classes. A majority of them are actually Sun City residents, which is incredibly fun and engaging, and helpful as well.

What types of fitness facilities does Sun City have?

The Retreat is a smaller facility and is an amenity center, and it also has a smaller weight room and an outdoor pool, and we do not hold classes in that one.

The other location, the Texas Drive location, we have three pools. We hold classes in the aerobic pool, and we hold a lot of classes in the main fitness studio, and then there's a large gym weight room along with that.

The Cowan Creek location has a cycling room, a walking track inside, a studio upstairs and another mind-body studio in the downstairs area along with two pools—one indoor and one out—and we have classes and the indoor pool.

Then the Northpoint location is the newer location where we have three studios, one quite large studio, a medium studio, and we have a small-group training studio, where we hold [total resistance exercise] classes and Pilates reformer classes. Also, it has a pool and outdoor swimming pool, and we don’t hold water classes at that location.

What are some examples of the types of classes being taught?

We offer classes from fit and sit classes, where classes are held in the chair, to chair yoga to full Pilates classes. Our age range starts at about age 50 and goes up into the 90s. So the class like the fit and sit classes, where everything is done in the chair, or the chair yoga of course would be for some of our older clients and older residents. We try to find a wide variety for everyone.

Then we get into the strength classes with a little more fit people, younger people. We have boxing classes at the Northpoint location with actual mitts and gloves, and heavy bags that they can punch, and we also have kickboxing classes at the Northpoint location.

The variety, it's just amazing, the things that we offer. I just finished teaching a balance class, and that's really for people to strengthen their core, and to work on their balance and their walking and their gait. We have lots of water classes; we have a special class ... that specializes in therapeutic exercises for arthritis and people with conditions along those lines. If you can think it, we have it.

Where does your passion for fitness come from?

I've been involved in fitness for 35 years. I attended Georgia State University and started teaching classes after I had my third child and really loved what I was doing. I went back to school and started to become certified. At this point, I hold nine national certifications in fitness, and it's continuing to grow.

It's just something that I fell in love with. The biggest thing is watching people get stronger—people who thought they can't do something and suddenly they can. Or another really rewarding thing is, for example, I had a grandmother that just wanted to learn how to get off the floor so she could play with her grandchildren. And so that's what I did. I trained her to get stronger to get up off the floor, which is incredibly rewarding when you're doing this kind of work.

You see that people's lives are changed, and it enhances the way that they live, and it just adds so much to living. It’s a passion, assisting people grow and learn and get stronger. It's just an amazing thing to experience.

What would your advice be to a Sun City resident who wants to get involved and take a class?

Well, if they want to take a class, it's incredibly easy for them to do that. We offer class tickets, so they come in, and we have the schedules available. The monitors will talk to them about the different classes that we have to offer. Also, the instructors are always open to talking to people about what classes would work for them, and we try to customize as much as we can for some of the residents.