Park Crawl a hit, workout
Hays Daily News
June 1, 2015
Saturday was the fourth Park Crawl at Hays Medical Center’s Center for Health Improvement. The event was funded through a grant from the Heartland Community Foundation. It embodied the center’s motto, “To help people get well sooner and stay well longer.” The Park Crawl was free for anyone to attend.
There were five different sessions of workouts at four different parks and at the center throughout the morning, followed by breakfast.
“People enjoy being outside,” group fitness instructor Kassidy Stecklein said. “It’s a nice change of pace from the monotony of working out in a gym.”
The morning began with an indoor warmup as participants arrived. Stretches, high knees, lunges and other exercises designed to prepare the body for the upcoming challenges were encouraged.
No preregistration was required; those interested in participating could show up at the beginning or at any of the locations with workouts that interested them.
“There’s something for everybody,” participant Jennifer Jury said. “You can mix and match a bit, do the events you like. You don’t have to do all of them.”
Jury has participated in one other Park Crawl, where the events were mostly the same.
“It’s a great way to get a good workout in outside, as well as trying some new stuff,” Jury said.
The first session was a kickboxing workout at Kiwanis Park. It helped attendees warm up on the chilly morning. Kickboxing included short intervals of kicks, punches and lunges before the group members moved on to more complicated combinations of jabs and kicks.
A core workout at Sunrise Park was the next stop. Four stations were set up, and participants paired up to work with medicine balls, exercise bands and each other to strengthen core muscles.
Hickok Park hosted the next event, Hill High Intensity Interval Training. Hill HIIT included running, walking and lunges on an incline. This session was led relay style, allowing teams to motivate one another and introducing a competitive element.
Yoga was the final park stop at Auble-Bickle. This session was led by group fitness instructor Jackie Wehrli and challenged participants flexibility and stability. Many different poses were introduced, as well as a few familiar ones, such as the downward-facing dog. Participants were reminded of the importance of paying attention to proper breathing during exercise.
“One major benefit of doing these outdoors is it challenges balance,” Wehrli said. “You get a firm foundation for the different positions and get used to centering balance because focal points are always changing.”
The final session was at the center, a final combination of pilates and yoga.
“This was my first time doing the Park Crawl, and I really enjoyed the different locations and exercises, some of which were new to me,” participant Amy Kipp said. “I had never done PiYo before.”
Offering the free classes outside and providing transportation between parks encourages people to participate.
“The Park Crawl is a great way to get the community involved in outdoor exercise,” cooperate wellness coordinator Samantha Horacek said.
Most participants went to all the parks, with approximately 20 at each event.
“It was an experience,” Kenny Sweeney said. “It was a lot of work.”
Participant Karan Randa, who works out routinely at the center, offered advice for future participants.
“Don’t try to push yourself too hard the first time,” Randa said. “Start by taking it easy.”