The YMCA, Ensuring a Brighter Future

Community Fitness

The Y and La Crosse County Collaboration


 The Dahl Family YMCA is dedicated to providing a variety of group fitness classes outside the walls of the Y, knowing it makes a meaningful impact on the well-being of our community. Y fitness instructors lead safe and positive exercise opportunities for all fitness levels at more than a dozen area businesses. By bringing classes on-site to employees, people who may not otherwise take their time for physical activity benefit from the Y’s offerings.

      “Our instructors all have a passion for what they do,” says Kylie Formanek, Dahl Family YMCA Fitness Director. “They truly enjoy building relationships with people while offering them the opportunity to de-stress and be physically active.”

      For the past five years, the largest group of participants is La Crosse County employees. “It isn’t always easy or affordable to get to a gym,” says county employee Michelle Jensen. “The classes have helped keep me on track with my fitness goals and my physical and mental well-being.” The cost is reasonable, and “the instructors are great and try to cater to the needs of all attendees,” she says.

      Held in multi-purpose rooms, classes meet daily for 45-minutes, as well as Wednesday nights. “Convenience is key in the success of these classes,” Formanek says. “A class is offered each day at noon so that employees can get a work out in every day during their lunch hour without having to leave the building.” Pilates, Yoga, and Strength Training are offered. “It is a collaborative effort. The Y teaches classes that the employees are interested in,” Formanek says.

      Patty Herber, a Y fitness instructor, has taught Y classes to county employees for many years. “They tell me they feel better, and they notice increased flexibility and balance,” Herber says. She enjoys seeing people motivate and encourage each other to attend classes.

      “The exercise program has improved the work culture,” says Abbie Loos, nutrition educator for La Crosse County. “It shows them that we care and we invest in them.” County employees take annual health assessments, and results have shown that regular exercise helps improve energy, strength, and other areas. Many county employees hold stressful positions, and exercise “helps calm their minds with a healthy break,” Loos says. “It builds camaraderie.” With the Y handling details of the exercise program and bringing in expert instructors, the project doesn’t cost her time and stress, it just gives back to the employees.  “The Y is very professional and caring,” she says.

      Other groups served by the Y include local school districts, Altra Federal Credit Union, and Kwik Trip. “In addition to employees being physically active, our classes provide them a chance to get to know each other. In fact, some meet for the first time in our classes,” Formanek continues. “This creates a great team environment for the employer. Participation in our classes is a benefit for everyone.” Group fitness classes offered throughout communities encourage senior citizens to get active. “We are able to break down barriers such as location by bringing the Y to people,” Formanek explains. “The Y is committed to serving all ages and abilities. At the Y or in the community, we strive to support everyone in their goals to live a healthier and happier life.” – by Kim Seidel, Seidel Ink, LLC