Commercial Appeal - July 19, 2009
Fitness is a jaunt in the park
Stacy Chick has a solution for Memphians thick and tired of living in the most obese city in the nation: get off the sofa and come to Mud Island. Four days a week, Chick leads a class as part of the River Workout Fitness Program in Greenbelt Park on Mud Island. In connection with the Memphis Flyer's "Get Memphis Moving" push for a healthier community, Chick hosted a free citywide class Saturday morning. Chick said she hopes the program will not only slim its participants, but also the national image of Memphis, which was named the most obese city in the nation by Forbes.com last November. "We want to show people that working out isn't that hard," said Chick, who graduated from the University of Memphis with a degree in nutrition and physical education. Her regular classes, which cost $10 each workout or $225 for eight weeks, are composed of people of all ages and shapes. "It doesn't look hard, but you're constantly moving," said 32-year-old Scott Owen, who lives Downtown. "If you're not constantly moving, you're cheating yourself. It's pretty demanding." But unlike many similar programs, Chick's classes aren't grueling, military-like boot-camp sessions. "People who had never been here before thought it would be the hardest thing in the world, but when they got here, it was purely doable," she said. The 40 or so people who participated Saturday morning practiced yoga, aerobics, ran an obstacle course and Hula-Hooped. "It was a lot of variety, a lot going on," said 22-year-old Crystal Martin, who is seeking her master's degree in nursing from the University of Tennessee Health Science Center. "I never thought about working out with a Hula Hoop." Martin, who was introduced to the program by her aunt, Evelyn Archer, said she planned on signing up for classes that day. Archer, 35, has attended classes regularly three days a week since March. She said she keeps coming back to the park overlooking the Mississippi River because of price and motivation. "I need someone to give me that extra push, someone to motivate me," she said. "If we're left to our own devices, we'll just sit in front of the television. People think exercising takes a lot of time out of their day. But they've got three days a week to come." Another goal of the program is to give participants the knowledge of how to get in shape and stay that way, Chick said. "Exercise is not about running a marathon or a 5K," said 28-year-old Kristen Myers, who markets the program. "It's about taking that first step."
The River Workout Fitness Program meets four days a week at Greenbelt Park on Mud Island:
Monday at 5:45 p.m.
Tuesday at 5:45 and 6:45 a.m.
Thursday at 5:45 and 6:45 a.m.
Saturday at 8 a.m.