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Fair promotes healthy diet, exercise

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POSTED: September 22, 2013 6:30 p.m.
Photo by Samantha B. Koss/

Medical detachment Capt. Marla Washington screens Kimberly McClora’s cholesterol during Fort Stewart’s health fair last month at Newman Fitness Center.

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Fort Stewart’s Newman Fitness Center hosted an aerobicthon and health fair late last month to educate the community on living a healthy lifestyle.
Instructors from the fitness center and the Hinesville YMCA led about 40 participants through four hours of vigorous classes, from kickboxing to cross-fit and Zumba workouts. Those who sweated it out for the entire four hours won prizes.
“Aerobics is a cardio and strength and condition type of exercise,” Newman Fitness Center program manager Devin Bradley said. “We want our families to get fit and learn about the importance of nutrition and wellness that will help prolong their life.”
The aerobicthon and health fair has been offered every year for more than 15 years. The event gives families an opportunity to see what classes the center offers while learning healthy habits from Winn Army Community Hospital dieticians and preventive-medicine staff. This year, the event focused on heart health.
“If your heart is healthy, everything else will fall into place,” Bradley said. “A lot of people like to focus on muscle toning, but cardio is the key factor in a healthy lifestyle.”  
Bradley said they try to include different types of exercises every year to keep the event fun for participants.  This year, hot hula-hooping was added to the exercise program.
“We try to keep exercising fun,” Bradley said. “We want people to know that exercise and diet are the best ways to improve health.”
Aerobics can help relieve stress while improving heart health.
“Soldiers and their families have to deal with so much from deployments and Army life, so it is important for them to take time out for themselves and de-stress,” Bradley said.  
While participants de-stressed during workouts, educational booths offered cholesterol and blood-pressure screenings and diet advice.
The screenings checked participants’ blood glucose levels to see if they are within the normal range for a healthy person. Normal is under 200 mg/dL, said Winn epidemiology technician Juana Henderson.  Blood pressure should be under 140 over 90, she added. Patients above those numbers usually are put on medication and told to improve their diet and start exercising. At the fair, participant who showed abnormal blood pressure or cholesterol levels were scheduled for follow-ups with their providers.
Irma Wright, a fitness instructor who works at Farmer’s Natural Foods in Hinesville, offered samples of organic juices and shakes during the event to educate participants about healthy snack alternatives.
“We want to give people options to lead a healthy life,” Wright said. “A lot of people tell me that they are always tired, and I tell them that it is because of what you eat.”
Wright has worked at the store for 30 years and has taught kickboxing, weight training and spin classes at the Newman for 23 years.
“We try to reach out to the community and teach them that eating healthy food will make them have more energy and improve their overall wellness,” she said. “I don’t take medication, and that has a lot to do with my healthy eating and exercising.”
Farmer’s Natural Foods offers seminars and a movie night once a month. Community members are always invited to participate in their events and exercise at the Newman Fitness Center.
“We don’t eliminate anyone outside the Fort Stewart gates,” Bradley said. “We want to get the community involved every way we can.”
Civilian community members are welcome in the fitness center if they are accompanied by a military ID card holder. Access is free, but aerobics classes cost $3 per session. People interested in attending classes can find a schedule at http://www.stewartmwr.com/index.php/sports_gyms_aquatics_fitness/newman_fitness_center/.

 

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