BY CHUCK VANDENBERG
FORT MADISON – The Fort Madison YMCA is bringing health to a facility near you.
According to Ryan Wilson, executive director the Fort Madison YMCA, classes are now being offered in rural Lee County where adults interested in taking some exercise classes can do so without always having to travel half an hour to Fort Madison and back to get it done.
“We’re expanding our group fitness offerings and going offsite out into the pockets in Lee County. We’ve secured some space in a building near Houghton and we’re now utilizing the University Athletic Center in Donnellson,” Wilson said.
“We want to touch different pockets of the county with health and wellness. Instead of making people drive to Fort Madison from Houghton and back is not all that conducive to their schedules. People work out there and live out there and we’ve found these spaces that are available, so we’re going to try some classes out there.
Wilson said the YMCA is going to look at the programs for the next three months and then evaluate the success and determine a course of action at that point.
The facility near Houghton is located on the southeast side of the intersection of Highways 218 and 16. There are several buildings on the property, one of which is being used by Jones Contracting, but Wilson said theirs is a smaller building with some open space and equipment that is being used for the adult fitness classes.
Melissa Peitz is the instructor for the classes at the Houghton facility and those classes started this week on Monday and Thursday at 5:30. The classes feature PiYo, which is a combination pilates and yoga class, TurboKick, and Body Pump. They are holding a class on Saturday mornings at about 8 a.m.
The Donnellson classes at the University Center at 712 Orchard are held Monday and Thursday at 6:30 p.m. and Chrissy Ball is leading those classes called “Country Heat”, which Wilson said is a mashup of country line dancing and Zoomba.
“Right now it’s all group fitness for adults,” Wilson said. “We want to see how these next three months go and then re-evaluate the situation and see what’s next.”
The programs are free for current YMCA members, but non-members can buy punchcards that can be used at either the Houghton or Donnellson locations. The cards are $35 for five classes and $55 for 10 classes. The classes are for adults 18 and over.
He said response to the programs has been good considering it’s the first full week.
“We’re already talking about two classes at the Houghton site which is really taking off. Instead of just one, we’d have one at 5:15 p.m. and one at 6:00 p.m. if interest stays high.”
He said so far the program’s spreading on word of mouth, but some marketing is in the works.
“We’re putting together some flyers to get out to businesses in those areas, but I’m always willing to come out and give a presentation and talk about membership, and health and wellness and promote incentives through workplaces,” he said. “That’s one of my goals this year and we have companies that are paying 25% of their employees memberships and different things like that. Hopefully that keeps their employees healthy and productive and potentially could reduce their insurance rates a bit.”