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Despite the good fortune of being surrounded by some of Naperville’s best adventure and sporting opportunities, like TopGolf across the street and the 245,000-square-foot CityGate Centre beginning construction soon just down the road, residents of Monarch Landing senior living community in Naperville don’t have to set foot off their property to engage in a healthy, appropriately challenging, and undeniably entertaining fitness routine.

“We take fun in fitness very seriously!” said Monarch Landing fitness specialist Shannon Denny. A former exercise science major, Denny knows well the power of play in a fitness routine and the immense emotional, as well as physical, benefits of letting go and laughing a little – or a lot – while working out.

Beginning April 2, residents will take part in a nine-week Monarch Meta-Fitness incentive, whereby they will follow the Monarch butterfly’s metamorphosis model of three weeks to hatch eggs, three weeks of caterpillars, and three weeks in the cocoon. “The challenge is in doing a certain amount of workout minutes per week, as the butterflies grow,” said Denny. She will also be purchasing a butterfly kit in hopes that they will hatch at the same time the fitness challenge ends, and residents will release them.

“What’s On Tap” is a monthly class featuring a certified practitioner of the Emotional Freedom Technique, a mind-body-spirit therapy which involves tapping on certain meridians of the body to relieve stress, anxiety and unresolved emotional issues. “It’s a sort of vibrational therapy,” explains Denny, that residents do in Monarch Landing’s chapel for a meditative, spiritual atmosphere.

On April 19, Denny and residents will poke fun at – and take charge of – a well-known line in a class called “Help, I’ve Fallen…And I Want to Get Up by Myself,” which focuses on balance, fall prevention, and strategies to get up safely from the floor.

Programs with names like Drum Fit (which has participants drumming rhythmically to upbeat music on large ballast balls), Play Fit, Happy Hikers, Core and More are just a few of Monarch Landing’s ongoing offerings, as well as a folk dancing class and country line dancing. There are also plans for a pickle ball class this summer.

For Denny, not being athletic or a “fitness person” is not a barrier to encouraging residents to get on their feet. In fact, she welcomes the challenge of getting and keeping people interested in being as fit as their ability and mobility will allow. A beloved instructor among residents and staff, Denny does her homework when it comes to researching the latest programs and innovative ways to get and stay fit.

“We’re always trying new things, and what better way to engage people than to have fun while we’re at it?” said Denny. “I want to make our fitness program safe, effective and fun. Those are my three main goals!”

It seems she’s accomplishing them, and then some.