From the stress-reducing philosophies of yoga to the high-intensity movements of CrossFit, the Carroll Wellness Center in Hillsville offers 30 different group exercise classes designed to meet the needs of everyone.
The Carroll Wellness Center has the best group exercise program in the area, hands down, said CWC Manager Greg Hampton. Zumba is booming at the Hillsville facility and is now offered four nights a week. The Les Mills franchise classes BodyPump, BodyAttack and CXWorx are extremely popular as well.
CWC also offers water aerobics classes and Aqua Zumba for those looking for the same benefits of the popular classes without additional strain on joints.
“With 30 different land group exercise class options as well at seven water aerobics classes and 12 CrossTraining classes per week, there is something for everyone and to fit about any schedule,” Hampton said. “There are 16 different certified group exercise instructors that teach the various classes at CWC.”
Gretchen Lawson is one of three Zumba instructors at CWC for a group that averages 15-20 participants per class. This is a very dynamic and growing class that emphasizes fun and community. Zumba is lively and exciting — making it not feel like exercise — it can still give you a beneficial and effective workout. It’s a whole-body aerobic exercise that uses up a lot of energy and burns calories through dancing. Zumba can improve your flexibility, since there’s so much movement involved, and it can help to strengthen your core.
“We keep the lights down low. We only use black lights so everybody feels comfortable. It’s a non-judgmental zone, somewhere they can discreetly let loose where they can get the choreography down until they feel comfortable,” said Lawson. “We try to keep a party atmosphere. You can whoop and holler and smile and it’s not so strenuous on you. I refer to Zumba as exercise in disguise. You get your heart rate up and you are sweating, but you are enjoying it so much we have a lot of sad faces at the end of class because it’s over.”
Zumba is a Latin-based dance exercise program. Other Zumba instructors at CWC are Whitney Jackson and Kerry Crowley. The Aqua Zumba class is also taught by Lawson, but helps participants make a splash by adding a low-impact, high-energy aquatic exercise to their fitness routine. Aqua Zumba blends the Zumba philosophy with water resistance, equaling a pool party you don’t want to miss.
“A lot of participants have joint pain and things like that, and the water is used as a buffer so you get the same kind of workout with the same jumps and moves, just at a slower pace because you are in the water and don’t have that constant impact on your joints,” Lawson said. “I always encourage people who are ready to try Zumba but if they are a little hesitant because of the speed to start with Aqua Zumba. It’s a slower tempo and you have resistance, so it slows things down since you are in the water.”
The Aqua Zumba program is held Monday and Wednesday mornings at 10 a.m. It’s a program many of CWC’s senior citizens take advantage of.
“It gives them confidence and they have a great time. They are always smiling, whooping and hollering, just a great, great atmosphere to be in,” Lawson said. “For that age bracket to cut loose like that, it just makes me smile. They work the heck out of me.”
The Zumba class at CWC also exercises its right to give back to the community. The group’s recent Party in Pink raised more than $1,200 for the Susan G. Komen Foundation. Now in its third year, the event had its biggest turnout this year with 72 people.
The Zumba class has also reached out to the Carroll Christmas Fund and will hold the Toys for Carroll Kids toy drive. The Zumba event will be held Dec. 7 from 6-8 p.m. Entrance fee is an unwrapped toy valued at $5 or more for a child between birth and age 12. People bringing extra toys will be given an extra door prize ticket.
“Every one of these toys will go to a child in the Carroll County area through the Carroll Christmas Fund. It’s a local outreach program for these kids to bring Santa Claus and Christmas magic to these children. We are extremely excited,” Lawson said.
Sherri Bobbitt has served as the Carroll Wellness Center’s group exercise coordinator since the day it opened. She has seen the program explode over the past 11 years as it now offers three to four more group classes than it did opening day. Simply put, the program has progressed to the point that there is now something for everyone’s needs.
“There are no excuses. We have got it all. We’ve got classes all times of the day, too,” Bobbitt said. “We have classes from 6 in the morning up to 7:30 at night.”
Bobbitt said she tries her best to keep in touch with the most current fitness trends. Even while on vacation, she will go to classes in other areas to see what they are doing, what is losing popularity, and determining what people want.
“The trends seem to work their way to our end of the world. CrossFit is the very newest and CWC is the only place around that offers that. LesMills is also one of the latest things,” Bobbitt said. “The good thing about LesMills’ programs is all the instructors go to their certification process so no matter where you go, it will be the same and you get the same level of fitness.”
Bobbitt said while you always hear about the long-term health benefits of exercise, the stress relief it provides is also a major benefit. She notes how people often come into class straight from their jobs with the weight of the world on their shoulders.
“And by the time they get done with the class, they are sweaty and tired, but they are also relieved. You can see it on their faces the stress is gone,” Bobbitt said. “That is huge for them.”
Other CWC Group Classes include sculpt, circuit, yoga, the Sizzlers, Power Abs, Tai Chi, Morning Mix, Balance, LesMills Body Pump, LesMills BodyAttack, LesMills CXWorx, Gentle Yoga, CrossFit, Spin, Water Cardio, and Morning Motion.
More in-depth descriptions of each class offered at the Carroll Wellness Center can be found online at http://www.carrollwc.org/
Allen Worrell can be reached at (276) 779-4062 or on Twitter@AWorrellTCN