Finding Fitness in 2023

The key to physical and mental wellness is finding the right workout

Were you among the many people who bought an exercise bike during the pandemic and now it's a glorified coat rack in the bedroom corner? Or maybe you're just looking for a new workout style and wonder if cycling is for you.

Now is the time to treat yourself to a cycling class. Janell Mergan has taught spin cycling for five years, with the past year teaching at Topeka Country Club. She says, "I love to use music in my cycling classes to motivate my clients. Riding to the beat of the music allows them to leave their problems at the door, get lost in the music, and almost forget they're getting a workout."

Cycling is a low-impact aerobic activity that works for any fitness level. For example, Mergan explains if you have an injury or health condition, she can adjust the workout around your limitations so that the class can still be fun and effective.

She says, "What makes cycling so great is that it not only challenges your mind and brain, it does so without putting too much strain on your body while feeding the beat in your soul! Anytime someone tries to improve their health and fitness is a positive in my book! Starting out slowly and setting attainable and realistic goals is key to having continued success." 

Topeka Country Club at topekacc.org

Topeka Yoga Network studio classes are perfect if your overall fitness plan includes physical and mental wellness. Evelyn Spangler, who owns the studio with her mother, Mary Boland, explains that yoga has many benefits depending on the type you practice. Vinyasa-style yoga can help you gain strength, mobility, and patience. Regular meditation and breath work practice can help with sleep, anxiety, and depression. The Topeka Yoga Network’s classes encompass both a physical vinyasa practice and a meditation at the end.

“We gravitated toward yoga for the physical benefits of this type of modality,” says Spangler. “We both played basketball for many years, and our joints could not take any more high-impact movement. The gentle process of yoga felt so good, as well as strength building that we both stuck with it. What has kept us practicing yoga for so long is meditation and breathwork. Yoga practice has been an invaluable part of our personal wellness.” 

The mother-daughter team started teaching yoga at businesses around the city, as well as public classes at places like Norsemen Brewing Co. and Evergy Plaza. Then in 2022, they opened a downtown studio at 925 S. Kansas Ave.

“For those wanting to start yoga as a healthy habit, find a community of people you can practice with,” says Spangler. “The yoga community in Topeka is amazing, and this group of people will help you stick with your new healthy habit even when you are feeling low in motivation.” 

You can find information at topekayoganetwork.com.

Vicky Millard, the owner of the Jazzercise Topeka West studio at Fairlawn Plaza, started teaching this dance form of exercise during its heyday in the 1980s. However, today's Jazzercise has moved past the legwarmers and leotards of those early days. Now a 60-minute class provides a high-intensity workout combination of cardio, strength, Pilates, hip-hop, yoga, and kickboxing.

"Jazzercise is always keeping up with the changing times through music, dance moves, and fitness trends," says Millard. "We incorporate free weights, fitness balls, fitness bands, and floor mats, and offer Dance Mixx, Strength 60 and 30, Express, Fusion, Intervals, Interval-Fusion, Strike, and LO (low impact) formats. They're safe, effective, fun classes that help with mental fitness as well as physical fitness." 

Millard's daughter, Shamara Parre, also teaches at the studio. The mother-daughter duo and 12 additional franchisees offer 40-plus classes per week. There are three Topeka Jazzercise Fitness Centers, providing more than 100 classes per week. A membership is accepted at all Jazzercise classes worldwide.

"I believe it's never too late to get started, and after the busy holidays, what better time to start feeling better and get healthier," Millard says. "By finding a way to get moving that you enjoy. Possibly find others with the same fitness goals to keep each other motivated. Maybe even make a friend or two along the way."

Go to jazzercise.com/location/jazzercise-topeka-west-fitness-center to sign up for two weeks of unlimited classes at a special price of $49.

Getting fit is at the top of many New Year’s resolutions. However, it can be hard to know where to start, or maybe your workout routine has lost its spark, and you’re looking for something new. A personal trainer to help guide your fitness journey may be the answer.

Every member at Colaw Fitness, located just off Wanamaker, can use the gym’s amenities, such as free tanning, massage, classes, and general nutrition information. They also can get a free fitness assessment with owner Charles Colaw and corporate fitness manager Chris Kirkpatrick via a virtual meeting. Clients can then take their workout to the next level by signing up for a personal training program designed for their specific needs.

Colaw and Kirkpatrick custom build a diet and workout program specific to a client’s fitness and health goals. They will even reach out to the member’s doctor to ensure the program is in line with any medical concerns. The client gets a fitness notebook to track their progress, and the plan is handed off to a local trainer who works one-on-one with them to achieve their goals.

“We custom build the diet and workout programs to help them with general health and wellness, weight loss, or muscle gain,” Colaw says. “The benefit of a trainer is accountability. Also, you have somebody who’s your workout partner, having fun with you, high-fiving you, and fist-bumping you. It’s just fun to have some camaraderie.”

Kirkpatrick adds, “We’ve got every walk of life that come in, and we want them to feel welcome. We want them to utilize every part of the gym and use us for that next step of reaching their health and fitness goals.”

To learn more about the Colaw Fitness personal trainer program, visit colawfitness.com/gyms/topeka-ks. Gym memberships start at $7 per month.

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