Israeli "grape-picking" music echoes through the Assembly Hall on a busy Monday afternoon at Carol Woods Retirement Community as residents participating in the folk dancing class sway and snap their hands to the ethnic music as they dance in a circle.Allan Troxler, a professional folk-dance instructor, guides them and dances with them as they smoothly perform the steps of this traditional folk dance. About 20 residents attend the folk-dance class the first and third Monday of every month. Many have been dancing for years.Lee Sloane, a Carol Woods resident of 11 years, enjoys being a part of the dance group because of its health benefits. "The doctors tell us that dancing is the best exercise -- even better than weight lifting, yoga, walking, running, because we socialize, there's music, and it's fun," Sloane said. "You don't have to be an expert to do it and enjoy it."Dance classes have been held at Carol Woods ever since the community opened in 1979, and residents have been moving and shaking their way to good health through myriad activities available on campus. An original Carol Woods resident, Marguerite Watson, brought dancing to campus, and it grew and evolved along with the many options of activities offered today. Briskly striding around Harkness Circle may be one, two, three or more residents swinging their poles and getting health benefits from another activity. Nordic walking, an interesting and relatively new form of exercise that derives from Nordic cross-country skiing. This activity improves and maintains upper body strength and endurance and proves beneficial in easing neck and shoulder pain."It forces erect posture, and while you're walking you are using your upper body as well. You're getting more bang for your buck," said Shari Rivera Sharp, an independent certified personal trainer who teaches Nordic walking at Carol Woods. "I tell people if they are avid walkers, this will help increase the intensity of the exercise while doing something that they already do."Lois Ann Hobbs, a resident of eight years, has only been walking three or four weeks, but loves it and says, "I'm going to do it forever, if I can!""I now walk around the whole circle without stopping," said Abe Hirsch, another Carol Woods Nordic walker and avid ex-hiker. "I used to be able to do three times around without any trouble. I am hoping to work back up to that. Young people tend to walk straighter, but as one gets older one tends to bend and that makes it harder to walk. With these poles you have to straighten out because you are pushing down on them. You can walk much further and when you lean on the poles you strengthen your back."David and Jackie Sices enjoy the activity and find it a rewarding and enjoyable pastime. "It's very good for your balance," David Sices said. "I'm not a good walker, but I find that I can walk faster and much further [with poles]. It's excellent for upper body exercise. Burns off more calories because you are using your arms and torso muscles for walking."Exercising their spiritual muscles are those in the Spirituality Discussion Group, which meets about twice a month at Carol Woods. The Rev. Mark Weber, a pastoral counselor, licensed clinical social worker and ordained minister, coordinates the group and leads them in discussions ranging from "Keys to Spiritual Development and Growth" to comparisons of Gregorian chants and Tibetan Buddhist chanting. The group not only talks about traditional Western religions, but its members also focus on Eastern religions and how science and religion intersect. "For many of us, spirituality is part of our lives, not just a religious practice on Sunday or Saturday," Weber said. "I think folks really enjoy these samplings from all over, all different cultures, from different parts of the world, different religions. A couple of our residents are Zen Buddhists, and they've come and talked with us."The group watches one feature film a month about different cultures and spiritual beliefs, and then the members discuss the topics. The group has discussed Sufism, the poetry of Rumi, dream interpretation, art and music. "Carol Woods' residents may feel they are at a special time in their life when looking back at their experiences and making sense of them is important," Weber said. "It is a time for forgiving, resolving, and self-discovery."He also says that being open and inquisitive is a part of the journey to understanding spirituality. "You've lived through all of these experiences and now you have time to reflect on them -- to see the connections and to see the journey from a different perspective and have a sense of what it meant and where it was heading, and why it happened the way it did," Weber said. "The poetry, the symbolism, the connections between all these different experiences "In the Carol Woods computer room, residents tap away at the computer keyboards and send e-mails to children and grandchildren, some comfortably and some in need of a little assistance. Many of them have learned these skills late in life with the help of the Computer Interest Group. Helping with tasks such as word processing, e-mailing and Excel spreadsheets are residents such as Lois Frost, a former computer programmer and instructor of programming and systems analysis who has a passion for the machines. "You talk about people having a passion, I have a passion," Frost said with a smile.The group started in October 1997 when Frost, her husband (an electrical engineer) and John Young, another computer-savvy resident, met for the first time and were shocked that 40 people showed up. The campus computer room started with only four donated computers, each with a different operating system.While e-mailing is the most popular subject, there are a few residents who have taken on other practices, such as Internet research. It isn't uncommon for an Internet amateur to be amazed at the amount and scope of information that can be found in seconds online. Depending on the subject being taught, attendees range anywhere from 10 to 45 people"I have a friend who was a Ph.D. and learned how to use the Internet to find information, and she said she wished she'd had this when she was doing her Ph.D. because it would have taken her half the time. She was astounded at what she could find on the Internet," Frost said.Frost realizes that the Internet and computers in general aren't for everyone. Many residents choose not to have computers in their apartments or cottages and they simply use the computer room as a place to e-mail their children or grandchildren. Beyond that task, they find no use for them. But some just love the idea of being able to communicate quickly and inexpensively with family who live across the globe."I'm particularly pleased when people in their late 80s, early 90s learn how to do it [use e-mail]," Frost said. "It takes a certain person. I do not encourage people who don't want to do it. Their kids want them to do e-mail and they hate the whole idea, and I tell them to just give them a telephone call and forget it."One of Frost's best pupils is a resident who is in her 90s and visits the computer room every day to play Freecell, a solitaire game played with a 52-card standard deck. She doesn't use the computers for anything but Freecell, and takes great pleasure in this game of concentration and skill."I think the two things the computer does for people is to keep peoples' brains alive and to let them reach out to things that they may not know otherwise," Frost said.