School bells are ringing across the Wiregrass to usher students into a new school year, and class is also in session at Fort Rucker's physical fitness centers.
The Directorate of Family, and Morale, Welfare and Recreation will host its Back to School, Back in Shape Challenge Aug. 24-Sept. 25.
Anne Sullivan, fitness program coordinator, said the program provides a perfect opportunity to try new approaches to fitness or simply ease back into a routine.
"Try new classes," she said. "Nothing crushes motivation like boredom. Get into a routine, gain accountability via a workout buddy and maybe even start keeping a workout log. There are so many different fitness apps and gadgets out there - find one that works for you."
But Sullivan urges anyone who has not exercised in a while to ease into physical activity.
"If you've been away from physical activity for a while, it's wise to consult your doctor before starting something new," she said. "Be OK with being a beginner. Don't force yourself into a fitness routine that you don't enjoy. My advice is to find something that makes you feel amazing and keep doing it."
The challenge provides prizes for people who attend the greatest number of group fitness classes during the time period. Those who attend 20 or more classes in that timeframe will receive prizes. They will also be entered to Female Fitness win 25 percent off the price of registration for Fort Rucker's Fall Boot Camp, which begins Sept. 28, or win a one-month unlimited group fitness class pass.
"Conventional wisdom says it takes 21 days to form a habit, and we are looking to help you get there," Sullivan said. "A healthy, active lifestyle is grounded in a routine that includes time set aside for exercise. You may also discover a new class or two, meet some likeminded people - things that help keep your exercise routine fresh and fun going forward."
People can stop by the front desk at the Fortenberry-Colton Physical Fitness Center to sign up and create their official competition log.
A wide variety of classes are available to patrons to accommodate as many fitness levels and needs as possible, according to Sullivan.
"We have a new Aqua Blast class held Wednesdays and Fridays at 10 a.m. at the Fort Rucker PFC pool," she said. "This is not your grandmother's water aerobics. It's a challenging, intense pool class with a really dynamic instructor. For anyone looking to mix up their routine and also give their joints a break, this is for you. And you do not need to be a strong swimmer to get maximum benefits from the class. The schedule does shift slightly from month to month, but it is available online and on Facebook as well as at the gyms."
Participation in the competition is free. Group fitness classes cost $3.50 for a single class, $15 for two weeks of unlimited classes and $30 for one month of unlimited classes.
Sullivan said it is important to pace oneself and be patient with fitness progress.
"Listen to your body, increase volume and intensity gradually, and find classes that can meet you where you are," she said. "Spinning Female Fitness is a great cardio option - you can adjust the level of resistance on your bike to accommodate your fitness level throughout the workout. Yoga provides a great combination of cardiovascular fitness, muscle strength and mindful breathing - very beneficial for all levels of fitness. "
For more information, visit https://www.facebook.com/pages/Fort-Rucker-FMWR-Sports-Fitness-and-Aquatics-Branch/ or call 255-3794.
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