Downtown facility gives Woods base for fitness classes


After 31?2 years of offering classes in multiple venues and communities in the area, Anna Woods of Woods Wellness will now welcome clients who come to her at a newly opened facility in downtown Hillsboro.

“I guess it came down to I got tired of hauling my equipment around to different places,” Woods said about the move. “I’ve been able to meet a lot of people that way and develop a clientele, but I was tired of the driving.”

After starting her fitness enterprise based in her rural home in January 2007, Woods has been offering classes in various locations Hillsboro and Marion as well as making weekly trips to Hutchinson and McPherson.

She said circumstances “kind of all fell together” in recent weeks, leading to the official opening of her center at 107 W. Grand this Monday with the start of June classes.

The space had been used for several years as a dance studio, then became part of Brenda’s Bloomers flower and gift store.

“I’d heard this (space) might be available, but I didn’t know for sure,” Woods said.

She eventually was contacted by a local real estate agent on behalf of the building’s owner.

“We came and looked, and said this will be good for doing my group classes and to work with individuals,” Woods said.

The space contains one large space for classes, plus two smaller rooms—one that will be used for individual workouts and the other for an office.

Prior to the availability of space, Woods said she frequently had heard from her people that the community didn’t have a place where people could go to exercise on their own.

That apparent need fit well with a conclusion she had reached from her years of experience.

“I?just realized in my own work that people will participate and are involved better if they have an organized class or an organized group session,” she said. “Everybody has their own home gym—but nobody uses it.

“I felt there was a major need in this whole area for people to have something like this.”

Woods said the response to the move already has been “great.”

“I have clients coming from Herington, Lincolnville, Tampa, Goessel, Hesston—it speaks to the need for this whole area,” she said.

Woods said helping people become healthier and more fit has been her prime motivation since opening her business.

“When my husband and I talked about doing it, we wanted it to be a service—that’s my whole goal,” Woods said. “I love being around people and providing these services for them. To get to do this for a living, I feel pretty blessed.”

A variety of classes

In addition to individual weight-training sessions three days a week, Woods’ schedule for June includes a kids’ camp two days a week for children age 3 to 6, a low-sweat “overall body circuit express” over the noon hour on Fridays targeted for people who work close by, an abs class once a week in the early evening, Latin dancing (commonly known as Zumba) on Tuesday and Thursday evenings, and a line-dancing class on Fridays.

Coming in July are yoga classes, water exercises at the Hillsboro pool and a martial arts class for kids.

“I want to provide what people are interested in,” Woods said.

She said plans to continue her work with seniors at Parkside Homes and her class in Hutchin­son for people with special needs.

Woods will lead some of the classes at the Hillsboro facility, while other classes will be led by area people trained in the specialized discipline.

Raising awareness

Woods said she hopes she has helped elevate the importance of health and physical fitness in the area through Woods Wellness.

“I feel that way more when I can see the changes in people, specifically like my Parkside group,” she said. “I have ladies who come in tell me they can fix their own hair now and don’t have to have the nurse aide help them.”

Woods said she has documented a decrease in falls at the nursing home and credits the commitment of residents to participate in classes that emphasize strength and balance.

“It’s people who come in and say, ‘I ran my fastest 5-K (race) Saturday,’ or ‘I’ve been able to get out of my chair without a using a walker’—it can be a simple as that,” Woods said. “Those are the things make me smile, and that’s when I know I’m doing what I’m supposed to be doing.”

Misconceptions remain

But there’s still work to do because people still have misconceptions about health and fitness.

“I assume people know a lot of these things that I talk about all the time, but they don’t,” Woods said. “I?say something about eating right and people look at me like, ‘I didn’t know that.’

“Sometimes it’s sad because I feel (those misconceptions) lead to a lot of the chronic issues we have today because people just aren’t aware,” she added. “You get so much media thrown at you about this diet and that one that it’s tempting throw it all off.”

Woods identified three myths or misnomers about health and fitness that she encounters most frequently.

“One is that you can spot reduce,” she said. “People come in and say, ‘My legs are good, I just want to work on this other area.’ It’s really hard to get it into people’s heads that (fitness is) an overall body effort.”

A second misconception is that physical exercise is the primary path to fat loss and better health.

“Eighty percent of fat loss is nutrition related,” she said. “People exercise an hour a day, then go home and eat the same things and complain about not having results. It’s all in the nutrition. That’s a huge part of feeling better, having more energy and looking better—which is a by-product.”

A third myth she hears is that walking is the best form of exercise to maintain strength and balance, especially for seniors.

“I wouldn’t agree,” she said. “It may be the easiest, as far as not requiring equipment, but walking is more for your heart and lungs. You have to do strength training to maintain your muscle.

“I’m a huge advocate of strength training because I see the most results from it,” she added. “Not everybody can walk or ride a bike, but everyone can lift weights.”

And it doesn’t require a lot of special equipment, she insisted. Woods recently led a session for seniors on strength-training that focused on using ordinary household items, such as cans of food.

While having a downtown facility will change the way Woods delivers her message to clients, her mission is largely unchanged.

“I just want to be able to maintain services to the community to help improve the quality of life, physically,” she said. “That’s pretty crucial to well being.”

More information about theservices offered through Woods Wellnes can be found on the Web at woodswellness.com. Anna Woods can be reached by phone at 620-877-7503.


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