Mar 302011

Photo by Linda Kor The Zumba exercise classes offered at the Holbrook Fitness Center are a great way to have a good time and keep in shape. Brittainy (left) and Kim Thomson practice some new Zumba moves to their favorite salsa music.

By Linda Kor —

The ability to take a deep breath, look great in that new outfit, shed unwanted pounds and build strong muscles all add to an improved sense of self-worth, and it appears many residents in Holbrook are feeling the rewards of better living.

When the Holbrook Fitness Center opened five months ago in the old library building with equipment leased from Northland Pioneer College Foundation, the intention of city officials was to provide a place for seniors in the community to get a little exercise. While seniors were quick to take advantage of the offerings they were not alone, as residents of all ages began to sign up to use the facility.

What began as a single room operation with a couple of volunteers has since expanded to three rooms of-fering a weight room and classes for all ages.

According to City Finance Director Randy Sullivan, while not all the members stay active, the gym cur-rently boasts 318 members, with 68 of those members volunteering to assist with the operation of the facility. While a portion of the $20 monthly fee paid by non-volunteers goes to cover utility costs, the remaining funds go back into the city’s parks and recreation fund for maintenance and additional equipment.

For those who may not be into pumping iron or riding the elliptical, Zumba dance and mixed martial arts classes are offered in an adjacent room at a separate cost of $5 per class. Those costs remain reasonable since instructors are asked to pay just $1 per student to the city each month for use of the facility.

The Zumba class combines a lively mix of Latin and other international music into an aerobic fitness dance, and is available to anyone 14 or older. The martial arts class teaches young and old a variety of mixed martial arts for exercise and control.

“We’re real excited about this. We have the facilities already, so this allows the city to put them to good use and gives the residents something healthy to do, it just creates a better community,” explained Sullivan.

Amber Smith, who has been a fitness instructor for 30 years, travels to Holbrook from Winslow each week to teach the Zumba dance. She says she averages 20 to 22 students per class and she’s very excited about the use of the facilities.

“The city has bent over backwards to make this happen. The facilities are great, they put in mirrors; it’s just been a great experience,” stated Smith. She also noted that more classes are being added as Holbrook resident Dolores DeSpain begins teaching Zumba this week.

In order to accommodate the demand for more activities, the city has also refurbished the community cen-ter located next to the library on Park Drive. This facility looks nearly identical to the one at the fitness center, and will be available for other types of dance and fitness classes as instructors show interest.

For more information on joining the gym or the classes offered, visit the city offices at 465 N. First Avenue or stop by the fitness center, which is next door.