Tijuana Gist is busily completing a registration form when I walk into the room. She’s a Prince George County resident who lives just minutes from the Central Wellness Center in Disputanta. She tells me, “I had some injuries and I just got released by my doctor. I’m here to lose some weight so I can keep up with my five kids!”
Before the Central Wellness Center opened its Fitness Room, getting in a workout was more difficult and time-consuming for her. “My son’s bus comes at 8:30 in the morning, and now I can just shoot right down here in less than five minutes. My plan is to get in a 30-45 minute workout 3-4 times a week then I’m good!” Living on the south side of Prince George County, she’s super excited to be living so close to the Central Wellness Center.
Hollie Perkins and Michelle Lape are regulars at the Central Wellness Center’s new Fitness Room.
I look up from our conversation and see a few more county residents streaming in the door of the Fitness Room. It appears this place is pretty popular – and for good reason. With a variety of cardiovascular and strength training equipment – purchased with a grant from John Randolph Foundation – residents living in the more rural areas of the county can now easily squeeze a workout into their daily routine. And not only that, it’s very affordable at only $5 per month or $50 a year for access to the Fitness Rooms at both of the county’s activity centers.
In addition to cardiovascular equipment, the Fitness Room offers free weights and other strength training equipment.
I catch Hollie Perkins as she’s pressing buttons on a treadmill. “I walk for about 60 minutes on the treadmill then do the bike or elliptical machine for 15 minutes. I work on my arms too.” So I ask, “What’s your motivation?” and she tells me, “I sit at a desk all day. Walking to a copier is not a workout. So I come here with my mom after work.”
Hollie works out side-by-side with her mom, Cathy, who tells me her story: “I started working out at the [original] Community Center (in the former North Elementary School) and I haven’t stopped since. Now we come here almost every day. I love it – and I’ve lost 27 pounds – two dress sizes! I watch what I eat now too – I’ve cut down on my carbs and sweets.” Hollie adds, “We keep each other motivated, and we encourage each other.”
Cathy Perkins enjoys a cardio workout alongside her daughter, Hollie.
This is the third time the Foundation has partnered with Prince George County Parks & Recreation to purchase exercise equipment. This time, the grant helps add to the other resources at the newly repurposed Central Wellness Center, like a computer room and the gymnasium. At the Foundation, we believe active lifestyles are a cornerstone of healthy communities and bright futures. This new Fitness Room makes it inexpensive and easy for residents to enjoy a workout – even when waiting on their kids who might be engaged in football, soccer, or basketball activities at the Center.
Steve Kruse, Coordinator at the Center, sums up a workout experience at the Center, “It’s like one big family in the evenings.” And Cathy agrees, “We’ve met a lot of nice people down here. We laugh a lot too!”Tags: Central Wellness Center, Disputanta, Exercise, Fitness Room, Grantee Spotlight, Health and Wellness, Prince George, Prince George Recreation and Parks
This post was written by Ken Newman