Lose unwanted pounds at free, low-cost programs


A CHOICES Zumba class is held at Westside Baptist Church in Gainesville. (Guardian file photo)

Published: Wednesday, January 30, 2013 at 2:24 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, January 30, 2013 at 2:24 p.m.

The holiday season is a time to enjoy family — and lots of food.

But you can lose those unwanted pounds by taking advantage of free or low-cost fitness programs available in Gainesville and Alachua County.

And to help you choose the fitness program that works for you, below is a list of fitness programs available at HealthStreet, Alachua County CHOICES Health Services and the North Central Florida YMCA.

The HealthStreet and CHOICES programs are free, but there is a fee for the program at the YMCA.

“Our main goal is to reduce chronic diseases in Alachua County, and we focus on physical activity, proper nutrition and not smoking,” said Kourtney Oliver, health educator at CHOICES.

Oliver said the CHOICES Health and Wellness Program provides Alachua County residents with free low-, moderate-, and high-intensity exercise classes taught by certified instructors.

Alachua County residents can just show up for the CHOICES exercise classes, which include a 10- to 15-minute health education segment with topics that vary each month. For instance, the topic for February will be heart health. Monthly Zumba schedules are available at the various sites or by email at CHOICEShewprogram@doh.state.ufl.us.

John A. Bonacci III, CEO of the North Central Florida YMCA at 5201 Northwest 34th Blvd., said the “90 Day Weight Loss Challenge” at the YMCA, which is offered in partnership with an international company that specializes in nutrition and meal supplement programs, is a 90-day boot camp to help people to recover from the holidays.

Below is a look at the free exercise programs that are being offered in Gainesville/Alachua County:

CHOICES classes

— Alachua County Library Headquarters, 401 E. University Ave.: Zumba, high-intensity classes, 6-7 p.m. Tuesdays.

— Mount Carmel Baptist Church, 2505 NE 8th Ave.: Zumba, low-intensity classes, 6-7 p.m. Mondays.

— Millhopper Branch Library, 3145 NW 43rd St.: Piloxing, a mix of pilates and kickboxing, 7-8 p.m. Mondays.

— Santa Fe College, northwest campus, 3000 NW 83rd St.: Zumba, high-intensity classes, 7:30-8:30 p.m. Tuesdays; no class on Feb. 12.

— Senior Recreation Center, 5701 NW 34th St.: Zumba, low-intensity classes, 1-2 p.m. Mondays and Wednesdays.

— Westside Baptist Church, 10000 W. Newberry Road: Zumba, high-intensity classes, 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Saturdays

For more information, call 352-334-8889.

HealthStreet

— “Jumpstart 2013: Low Impact Exercise Class and Tips,” 2 p.m. Thursdays. For more information, call 352-294-4880.

YMCA

— 90 Day Weight Loss Challenge: 5:30-6:30 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays and 10:30-11:30 a.m. Saturdays, $100 for YMCA members and $150 for non-members, plus the optional cost of meal supplements. Although classes started in early January, Bonacci said new enrollees will get the full 90 days from their date of enrollment.

— Free Motion Boot Camp: Features a unique line of equipment that provides a full range of resistance-based motion or “train the way you move”-style workout, 6:30-7:30 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays and 10:30-11:30 a.m. Saturdays through Feb. 26, $50 for members and $75 for non-members.

YMCA memberships are $49 each month for adults and $66 each month for a family, with a 20 percent discount for seniors, students and single families.

For more information, call 352-374-9622.

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