The West River Community Center is a place where newcomers or avid fitness sharks can work on their own personal goals, while also having a variety of amenities available such as the swimming area, basketball courts and workout equipment.
“From swimming to basketball to racquetball courts and tennis, we’ve got things that aren’t just related around fitness equipment and those types of things. So that’s a huge driver to get families in here and kids, that’s a big thing for us,” Facilities Operations Manager Matt Mack said. “This time of the year basketball kind of dominates everything, so our basketball gyms have been popular along with the swimming. Swimming is popular pretty much year-round, but once it gets colder and things like that, people are looking to do things with their families and they’re coming here and they’re going swimming.”
As of this past December, the WRCC had 5,700 memberships which was down by 1,200 from 2019. Typically, January is where memberships will see a “huge spike,” Mack noted. However, with the coronavirus pandemic, there are cancellations coming in but there are still people who are signing up, he added.
Many people are tired of the isolation and long for camaraderie and fellowship, Group Fitness Supervisor Andrea Johnson said.
“I think for the community, they’re like, ‘I’m so tired of working out at home and not seeing my friends and my workout people,’ so that would be the number one driver. Of course, they’re like, ‘Oh because of COVID-19, I quit working out and I gained weight.’ But I really feel like that’s secondary to the community,” she said.
Baby steps are crucial when trying to adopt a healthier lifestyle, Johnson said, adding that implementing simple changes such as going to bed one hour earlier, drinking half of your body weight in ounces every day and shooting for 10,000 steps per day will make a large impact in someone’s fitness and lifestyle.
“I would really encourage the new people to come. You don’t need to be flexible to come to yoga. You don’t need to know how to workout to come to a fitness class, that’s why we facilitate them,” Johnson said. “We love the new people and they’re welcome and the people who are here are just great at making them a part of our community. They should come try a class and if they don’t like it, try another class. There’s a lot on the schedule.”
All group fitness classes are included with a WRCC membership. Currently, Johnson has a “Stronger Together Challenge” going on, which entails a six-week challenge where people are required to attend three classes — two strong nation classes and any third class the WRCC offers. At the end of the six-week challenge, participants feel more stronger and confident, Johnson added.
Working out doesn’t mean people need to get it done immediately in the morning hours, Johnson said.
“I always tell people, ‘Doing it is what’s important. Not when you do it.’ You can get very technical on a lot of things and get really sciency, then you just get out in the weeds and it doesn’t really matter,” she said. “We’re not college athletes. (We’re not) doing this full-time and being paid to actually play a sport. So since that’s not the case and we have people smarter than us programming for us, really it’s just that consistency every day. And some people are better off at night, then do it at night. There’s no rules about that at all.”
The WRCC is also running a self-paced triathlon for 30 days, in which participants can either do biking, running/walking and swimming. This challenge is offered each year at the WRCC.
“It’s nice to keep people motivated going into the new year and it’s a challenge as well,” Mack remarked.
Mack also wanted the community to know that the WRCC has incorporated and altered cleaning procedures to make sure people can workout and still be safe with the COVID-19 precautions still in place.
“We’re a one-stop shop, so you can pretty much get anything fitness-related here at the community center, and I would say that would be the biggest (factor). Our group fitness classes are the best in town and so, that would be another one,” Mack said. “… A lot of people need other people to encourage them to come and workout, and you build a base of people you surround yourself with to motivate yourself to come back. That’s a huge deal. You don’t get that off of doing something at home in your living room and online.”
For more information on the WRCC and its services, call 701-456-2070 or visit dickinsonparks.org/west-river-community-center.