Recent rankings place our beloved Baton Rouge as the most obese city in the United States. Decadent Cajun/Creole cuisine, decreased physical activity due to oppressive heat and lack of pedestrian amenities, economic challenges, cultural tolerance of excess weight … factors contributing to this ranking are many. Thankfully, there also are many talented fitness professionals across the area dedicated to the advancement of healthy living.

Fitness Rocks! pulled together a collection of these professionals for a morning of free fitness classes. Sponsored by Adrian Brumfield, Sr. in partnership with the YMCA of the Capital Area and HealthyBR, the event was a 3-hour workout par-tay. 20 minute exercise classes were conducted concert style, giving participants a serious workout and exposure to varied fitness offerings in the city. In recognition of National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month children were included, and I was drawn to the event due to this family focus.

The children and I arrived about an hour after the event started and hit the red carpet.

I was bummed that we missed several workout sessions including the class offered by Tanesha Craig, but we jumped right into dance aerobics offered by Gracie Perkins.  She was founding director of  the Southern University Dancing Dolls.  In her 70s, Ms Perkins is vibrant, energetic and still has moves! She led us in a series of line dances.  I had no idea there were so many line dances – beyond the Electric Slide and Cupid Shuffle I’m lost.  My children and I looked like we were doing some version of the River Dance most of the time – but it was fun and got my heart pumping.  If you want to take part in this fun fitness, Ms Perkins teaches Tuesday and Thursday evenings at the Sherwood Forest BREC.  Her class came out to support. These women were wonderful.

Etana and I with Gracie Perkins (center kneeling) and members of her Sensational Aerobics Class

Next, we watched a demonstration by the Academy of Martial Arts.

At the end, the children (and a few adults…myself included) tried a few kicks and blocks.

The finale was a Adrian’s kickboxing class. His light, upbeat personality balances the intensity of exercise. Kickboxing is not my favorite form of exercise, but I really enjoyed this class and was dripping at the end.

Fitness Rocks! was well attended and Adrian shared how they will keep this momentum going thru the year as well as plans to make this an annual event – showcasing different fitness offerings across Gtr Baton Rouge.

Kudos to Adrian Brumfield, the YMCA, HealthyBR and all the instructors on a wonderful event.
Thanks for all you do to promote health and wellness in our city.  A change will come to Baton Rouge.

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