Waukon Wellness Center celebrating its 10-year anniversary with "10 Days of Wellness"

The Waukon Wellness Center is celebrating its 10-year anniversary during the month of November with a "10 Days of Wellness" promotion offering a variety of free activities and usage to experience the benefits of the Center. Pictured above near the cardio exercise equipment at the Center are, left to right, Program Director Kim Kraus, Park & Rec Wellness Director Jeremy Strub and Customer Service/Office Manager Bonnie Wild. Submitted photo.

It has been 10 years since the Waukon Wellness Center opened its doors to the local community, November 15, 2007 to be exact. Now, 10 years later, staff and board members of the facility want to celebrate that milestone and show their appreciation to the local community for the generosity and support shown over the last 10 years with a "10 Days of Wellness" promotion.

For those not as familiar with the Waukon Wellness Center, it is a city-owned, 32,000 square foot facility designed with a goal to provide recreation and improve and maintain the health of the local community. “Our intention is for all to feel welcome here and to offer a wide variety of membership opportunities, classes and a positive atmosphere, striving to meet the needs of as many people in our community as possible,” says Jeremy Strub, Director of the Waukon Wellness Center.

The Wellness Center opened in 2007 with a variety of cardio and weight equipment, a teen area, exercise room, two full basketball courts, two racquetball courts, a track, batting/golf cages, and convenient break area, but has since evolved to much more over the last 10 years. Progressively, the Center has grown to include a bouncy house, a cycling studio, a rock climbing wall, the addition of numerous new state-of-the-art cardio machines, and “The Edge,” a much utilized free-weight room.

Also, the addition of 24/7 access has proven to be a very popular attribute of the Center, giving members the ability to include exercise in their daily routine where it may not have been possible before because of their work or family schedule.

A frequent comment from those touring the Center, especially from outside the area, is “Wow, that is really nice!” or “I wish we had one like this in our town!”

Classes have also changed a bit over the years to stay in tune with Center members, with cycling still being a mainstay, as well as Zumba, Cross Train, Kettlebells and Yoga. That class offering has grown to include some newer classes over the years, such as Barre classes, Kickboxing and HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training). In addition, the Center has added a “Smart TV” to provide on-demand classes via You-Tube for those unable to attend group classes.

It was once said the Wellness Center “is like a village,” particularly in the winter months where so many families and individuals gather together to exercise, walk the track together, play together and “catch up” with those whom they haven’t seen for some time. When asking long-time members what keeps them coming back to the Center, the above holds true, with some of the more mutual comments being “the sense of community, friends that I have made since coming here, and the positive, family-friendly atmosphere.”

“Having a clean and year-round safe environment, as well as the friendly, accommodating staff who strive to meet our needs whenever possible are important to us,” stated members of the 10 a.m. coffee and exercise group when asked what they like about the Center.

“If I had to exercise on my own, I wouldn’t; I have tried, but when I come here, it is just easier and I seem to get it done,” is a comment often heard by staff at the Center. There is a sense of camaraderie, whether it be group classes or just exercising in the midst of others, which seems to be the common thread so many members attribute to their success in achieving their fitness goals.

Phyllis Kubitz attends the Wellness Center almost daily and says, “There are few 90-year-olds that are as active as me, and being able to come to the Wellness Center year-round helps me remain active without any assistance, such as a walker or cane.”

When asking members about the benefits received from the Wellness Center, replies included, “increasing and maintaining strength, relieving pain, much more flexible, lower blood sugar, and I just feel better!” Many appreciate being able to locally recover from injuries or surgery quicker and more efficiently by utilizing the equipment at the Center versus having to travel long distances for continued rehabilitation.

The future of the Waukon Wellness Center and local community looks brighter and healthier with more and more people of all ages understanding and reaping the benefits of regular exercise.

To celebrate its 10-year anniversary, the Waukon Wellness Center will be holding “10 Days of Wellness” November 13-17 and November 20-24. “It’s Kind of a BIG Deal” has become the event’s slogan, referring not only to the 10-year anniversary celebration, but even more importantly to the improved “wellness” the Center and staff have witnessed in the local community.

“10 Days of Wellness” will include free admission to the Center, free exercise classes, free participation in all events (with the exception of the annual Turkey Trot) for 10 days for the entire community to enjoy, as well as numerous daily drawings. The staff's goal is to do something "special" each day. See The Standard’s November 8 publication for a full schedule of events, which is also available at the Wellness Center and online.

To kick off the event, Monday, November 13 will be “Honor our Veterans Day.” All veterans will receive a special gift. Monday evening will be “Family Fun Night” to include a full obstacle course, numerous other games around the Center, face painting and a healthy snack.

Tuesday, November 14 will offer chair massages from 8-10 a.m., and Liz Happ, Nutritionist will be instructing the evening of November 15 on an “Intuitive Eating” class in the Senior/Community Room at the Center. Rounding out the first week will be instructor Debbie Rixen with an informative class entitled “Exercise - Where Do I Start?”

The second week will be as eventful as the first with Monday, November 20 welcoming all children grades Kindergarten through sixth grades for “Kids Yoga Classes” with Bobbi Jo Wild, at 6 p.m. for grades Kindergarten through third and at 6:30 p.m. for grades fourth through sixth. Parents and all adults are invited to participate in “Beginner’s Yoga” with certified yoga instructor Lois Henry during the same time frame as the children's class is offered.

Tuesday, November 21 will include taste testing sessions at 6 and 10 a.m. and Wednesday, November 22 chair massages from 8-10 a.m., with both of the massage sessions being offered compliments of Veterans Memorial Hospital in Waukon.

Thanksgiving Day, Thursday, November 23, the Wellness Center will be providing a “pre-feast” workout with its Fourth Annual “Turkey Trot” 5K Run/Walk & 8K Run beginning at 8 a.m. The event will include seven age groups, all with first-, second- and third-place winners taking home the coveted prizes to include medals, turkeys, chickens and, of course, it wouldn’t be Thanksgiving without each participant receiving a mini pumpkin or apple pie.

Friday, November 24 there will be no loss for excitement with the Wellness Center’s first - and possibly annual - Free Throw Contest to be held at 5:15 p.m., which will include five age groups ranging from 8 & under to 18 & over. Prizes will include medals to the top two shooters in each category.

For more information on the Waukon Wellness Center's "It’s Kind of a BIG Deal" 10th anniversary celebration, call the Center at 563-568-0074 or visit the Center's website at www.waukonwellness.com.

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