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Aug 11

Health and Wellness Coalition offer free workout classes – Martinsville Bulletin

MARTINSVILLE As the summer season draws to a close, many people in the Martinsville-Henry County area will adopt a more structured schedule with more time in the area and less time away on vacation. It could be the perfect time to pick up the exercise regiment many planned to begin on January 1.

The Martinsville Henry County Coalition for Health and Wellness recently announced a community-wide workout schedule with free classes taking place throughout the month of August.

Held in area churches, community centers, clubhouses and health and wellness centers, a variety of workout opportunities await for those looking to add more activity into their lifestyles.

We encourage exercise because its part of what we promote with preventative measures, said Brittany Anthony, Martinsville Henry County Coalition for Health and Wellness marketing, public relations and development director. Exercise is a big part of our health initiative to promote being proactive.

While many people cite weight loss as a major goal for adopting a more active lifestyle, Anthony said there are other health benefits people dont always realize theyre getting when they set out to exercise.

A lot of people will just think primarily weight loss, but in addition to weight loss, we focus on being proactive in preventative health, Anthony said. Exercise can help lower blood pressure, increase mobility and reduce joint pain for people with arthritis and can reduce risk factors for heart disease.

In addition, exercising regularly can significantly reduce the risk of developing type two diabetes. For those with diabetes, exercise may lower blood glucose and improve the effectiveness of insulin.

Another benefit of incorporating more movement into a lifestyle is that the activity can help lower blood pressure.

Exercise also increases feelings of wellbeing, Anthony said.

The Coalition offers several opportunities Monday through Thursday, as well as on Saturdays, for those looking to workout with a group of likeminded individuals.

We have a variety of different ages from the younger generation to seniors, Anthony said. There are no age restrictions.

One of the best aspects about the exercise programs is that theyre all free and open to the public.

We are about promoting health and improving access, Anthony said.

While all are welcome to attend each program offered, there are some classes that could be better for beginners, while others are geared toward a more experienced crowd.

We try to have things on both ends of the spectrum, Anthony said.

Offering something for everyone, its easy to find a perfect fit for an individuals exercise needs.

A lot of our older exercisers like the water aerobics, Anthony said. Its low impact, but theyre still getting the benefits of exercise. Its easy on the joints, a lot of people say.

Classes are held indoors and outdoors, weather permitting, at the Martinsville YMCA and the Fieldale Pool.

The cardiovascular workout, characterized by water resistance, helps participants with strength and flexibility, increases muscle endurance and improves balance.

The exercise is designed to provide buoyancy and support that causes less injury to a persons muscles, bones and joints. The decrease in gravity thanks to the water makes the exercise possible for those who typically experience joint pain.

Water aerobics is also a good way to burn calories.

Another good exercise for beginners and seniors is chair aerobics, offered weekly at the Spencer-Penn Centre. The class increases strength, balance and vitality while participants remain seated. Participants are instructed to move and stretch in a series of slow-paced movements, which helps increase the exercisers heart rate.

That ones sitting down, so its not as strenuous, Anthony said.

There are other classes presented by the Coalition that require quick movements and lots of energy, like Tabata and step combo, both offered at the Bassett Community Center.

For Tabata, exercisers perform workouts at maximum intensity for 20 seconds and rest for 10 seconds before jumping into the next movement.

Step combo combines basic steps, intervals and cardio techniques in order to condition muscles and strengthen the abdomen. Exercisers use light weights and aerobic balls during the workout.

The Community Fellowship in Collinsville offers a community favorite when it comes to exercising yoga.

I think everybody likes yoga, Anthony said.

The class is designed for people of any age with any level of physical conditioning. Along with building abdominal strength, participants also practice flexibility.

The majority of the classes last an hour and take place on weekday evenings.

For those that work, theyre able to take part [in the classes] after work, Anthony said. Also, a lot of our instructors have other jobs during the day.

While classes are free and registration isnt required, prospective students are asked to fill out a participation form upon arrival. Filling out the form helps the Coalition track attendance.

In addition to the fitness classes, the Coalition provides primary and medical care at Bassett Family Practice to all ages regardless of ability to pay, based on a sliding fee scale. The Coalition also operates Health Connect, a one-stop shop for individuals in Martinsville and Henry County who need help breaking through barriers to health and wellness and can link individuals to services such as mammography, eye care services for diabetics and affordable prescription medications.

To learn more about the classes offered through the Martinsville Henry County Coalition for Health and Wellness or to see a calendar of events for free workout opportunities taking place in the area, visit the organizations website at and click on the aerobics/fitness tab.

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Health and Wellness Coalition offer free workout classes - Martinsville Bulletin

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