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| September 30, 2015

Many people might think of a wellness center as intimidating. Or overwhelming. Or a chore. Not Mary, a Belton, Missouri, resident and newly converted fitness enthusiast. To her, the Healthe Communities facility is her home away from home.

Five years ago Mary started noticing a change in her health. She had begun working from home and became frightened by how little movement she had in her daily routine. She literally sat in front of a computer all day long, with no semblance of exercise to keep her physically active.

To counteract the inertia, she started getting on a treadmill every morning at home. That wasn’t enough. So she tried the local community center. That had limited success as well.

“I paid my money to go to the community center once or twice a week. If that works for you, that’s great, but it did not click with me for whatever reason,” admitted Mary. “I was just so desperate. I felt like I needed something, but I didn’t know what.”

At one of Mary’s Weight Watchers meetings, someone mentioned the Healthe Communities center. Mary did a little research and was surprised to learn that it was a community outreach program offering everything from free health screenings to health education to fitness classes.

Intrigued, Mary decided to give it a shot. She soon had her first health screening and took her first restorative yoga class.

“I started at the wellness center very slowly, with one class a night,” Mary recalled. “I was a little intimidated. I didn’t expect to be able to pull yoga off, but the instructor was very good. She gave great direction and was very supportive and encouraging.”

The other yoga participants also attended cardio classes and gave Mary the courage to try those as well. She soon went from one fitness class a week to five.

“I love these classes so much that they feel like my own personal classes. They supercharged me!” she exclaimed. “My ultimate goal is, of course, to be healthier, but I also need some weight loss. I think eating right and having this extra movement and physical activity really helps. And the only thing it costs me to come here and take these classes—that work with my schedule—was to have a free health screening, which I needed anyway.”

Mary was so buoyed by the classes that she even started riding her bike to the center.

“Before, I didn’t even think twice, I just hopped in my car and drove here. Then I realized that the wellness center is only a mile and a half from my home and I kinda wanted to get back on my bicycle anyway. Now I’m just too embarrassed to drive a car to go to a workout.”

The Healthe Communities center has quickly become one of Mary’s favorite places.

“It feels like my place, like home. Everyone is super loving, super generous. They don’t ask for anything in return, just for me to be here and enjoy the classes. Talk about a Godsend.”

Mary is so appreciative of the support that she made a generous donation to the wellness center.

“I was very willing to compensate other facilities for this type of activity. And here’s a place that offers more than my expectations and friendship to go along with it. I hope to be able to give more, actually.”

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