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Sante Health is offering free fitness classes at Fresno's Woodward Park. Photo contributed

published on April 6, 2021 - 4:14 PM
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Santé Health System in Fresno is finding new ways to get people moving after gyms have intermittently faced closures. Santé is holding group fitness classes, open to anyone, at the Art of Life Healing Garden in Woodward Park. 

Kelly Lilles, director of marketing, physician services, events and education, said Santé’s Exercise in the Park is a great way for people to get outside for Vitamin D while social distancing. 

“It’s good and healthy all the way around of mind and body,” Lilles said. 

The company used to host painting events at Pinot’s Palette, but when the pandemic hit, it offered a source of fitness outdoors in partnership with Art of Life Cancer Foundation. 

The classes are in partnership with local fitness instructors.

Upcoming classes on April 14 and May 5 will feature Fresno’s F45 Training and Jenna McGill. 

Fresno-area fitness instructor McGill will host the high fitness class on May 5. 

Before the pandemic, McGill taught classes with GB3. Working out outside has reminded her of her sports practices growing up. 

“Fitness has always been a big passion of mine,” McGill said. 

In recent years, teaching fitness classes has given her a lane to accelerate in, aside from her day job and raising a family. While a lot of people teach fitness classes as a career, she finds the time outside of her job.

“It also helps keep my mind, my body, my spirit healthy,” she said. 

She’s looking forward to being in a class setting again now that Covid-19 restrictions are easing up, and a sense of community plays a huge role. 

“Losing that community feeling since last March has been one of the hardest things for me personally” 

The benefits of community workouts are more than just physical, she says. Showing up tired or stressed and gleaning from others’ energy, she says, makes people walk away empowered. Even after just 30 minutes, the mental and emotional benefits are worth it, she says. 

“There’s just something magical about people getting together and what kind of energy it brings,” McGill said. “We’re able to just have that one hour to just kind of leave all that at the door.” 

Group workouts inspire motivation and a sense of belonging, she says.

Lilles plans to keep offering the classes even after restrictions lift. 

Upcoming classes April 14 and May 5 are at 7 a.m. They’re free and include snacks. Spots are limited to 30, but are open to the public. Individuals can sign up here. 

“It goes beyond calories and losing weight or anything like that. High fitness is truly a mental health game changer,” McGill said.  

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