Stay fit for outdoor activities by keeping up at the gym

Sanford Wellness Centers offer indoor-outdoor balance through all seasons

Sanford Wellness Center coach Jill Fries talks near a shelf full of colorful workout balls.

People tend to abandon their inside fitness when the weather starts warming up and they come back inside when it cools off.

It’s an understandable migration, particularly in the Midwest, but it doesn’t have to mean completely ignoring the charms of an inside workout.

Sanford Wellness group fitness supervisor Jill Fries loves the outdoors but wants to remind everyone that there is still a lot going on during the summer at the Wellness Centers. Plus there are plenty of opportunities to combine indoor and outdoor activities that can enhance quality of life.

“When it’s nice outside, we want to get out there,” said Fries, a former University of South Dakota volleyball player who is a registered yoga instructor. “But sometimes we don’t think about maintaining our fitness throughout the summer. We just want to jump right into different activities. Maybe we feel a tweak here or there. If we can maintain coming in here and working out, working different body groups, it will help with our outdoor activities.”

What are summer activities that really don’t get much love during the winter? Gardening, fishing, cycling, golfing — the list goes on.

“If we’re being proactive about it and coming to a group fitness class, we might be working each one of those different body groups,” Fries said. “That can allow us to be stronger and have the flexibility to be able to really enjoy all the aspects of outdoor fitness and all the other fun things we do outside.”

Fitness with friends

Fries and the Wellness Center staff have plenty to offer. Flexibility, in this case, goes well beyond loosening up the hamstrings. It also applies to the number of group sessions and variety of activities. Between the 49th and Oxbow and Tea-Ellis locations, there are more than 100 weekly classes, including seven that are completed by 7 a.m.

“We encourage people to go online, look at our schedule and match it up with what fits best into their world,” Fries said. “Maybe it’s a 45-minute class over lunch or maybe it’s a start to your day.”

The fitness classes vary from indoor cycling to options focusing on strength to cardio dance to yoga. The added bonus is the company you’re keeping. Exercise can be more fun with other people involved.

“We all have these different systems — our circulatory system, nervous system, respiratory system — that we’re concentrating on in a physical sense,” Fries said. “But by coming in to a large group or even a smaller group where people become more familiar with one another, it does help us with our own brain health. Maybe it’s just a routine where you meet up with two or three friends and you enjoy working out. You can enjoy the physical aspect but you’re also gaining that mental health aspect as well.”

Not stuck inside

The Wellness Centers will also go outside for some classes occasionally during the summer when the weather is agreeable and the activity does not require a lot of equipment. Yoga, for instance, can be a popular outdoor workout.

“We have some beautiful grassy areas we use outside,” Fries said. “We’re also partnering with entities like the city of Sioux Falls to do yoga in the park. Our members have the opportunity to connect with the same people they normally would, but in a different setting.”

Ultimately, the Wellness Centers offer variety. Everyone approaches the challenges of fitness a little differently. The staff in place understands that.

“I’ve been hearing from different members that they appreciate everything that we have going on,” Fries said. “It’s kind of a one-stop shop where they can come in and get their group fitness. They can use the swimming pool or any of the other amenities we have. They appreciate having all of it under one roof.”

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Posted In Healthy Living, Orthopedics, Sioux Falls, Sports Medicine