Tomalyn Pearson-Hall, into her fifth decade, knew she needed a little help in her quest to maintain good health, but she didn’t want to spend a lot of money.
The Irmo resident was surprised by what she found last fall – a free healthy living class at the BlueCross BlueShield South Carolina BLUE retail store in the Harbison area.
“I’ve taken exercise classes, but nothing quite like this that has exercise and nutrition,” Pearson-Hall said of the class. “It gave me a better insight into what I can actually do instead of what I can’t do.”
The popular saying is if something’s free, you get what you paid for it. This class belied that idea. So do many other free or inexpensive offerings from recreation agencies or health care providers in the Midlands. People who plan to make healthier living a New Year’s resolution simply need to search around for the right program for them.
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The S.C. BLUE store opens its space for a variety of health related classes (though those are on hold until the Health Insurance Marketplace enrollment period ends Feb. 15). Instructor Cliff Wang devised the six-week healthy living class last fall based on his background as a fitness instructor and exercise science student at the University of South Carolina. The idea was to focus on healthy living, not weight loss.
Of course, if class participants followed his nutrition suggestions and did the exercises he prescribed, they most likely lost weight. As she prepared for the final class, Pearson-Hall said she dropped about seven pounds in the six weeks.
The classes typically started with warm-up exercises involving hand weights or stretch bands. Then Wang talked about nutrition, everything from the proper approach to grocery shopping to checking the calories for restaurant meals to healthy cooking. Then they finished each class with more exercises.
The workout wasn’t as aerobically taxing as Zumba or a spin class, but it worked multiple body parts every week. Each class closed with a block of squats, working up to 95 at the end of the last class.
Pearson-Hall was surprised that most of the class participants were younger than she. “It’s inspired me that I can keep up with them,” she said. “I want to have quality of life when I age. I don’t want to just age.”