Outdoor fitness classes on rise in Wauwatosa
Two instructors hold classes at local parks
While the thought of exercise is usually relegated to an indoor studio or fitness club, a growing number of people are staying in shape by taking classes outdoors.
Across the country, fitness instructors are holding their classes in natural settings. In recent years, such classes as yoga and boot camp-type classes have been held at community parks and during events that draw large gatherings.
In Wauwatosa, at least two fitness instructors have been holding classes outside their facilities at local venues.
Haley Picotte-Stozek, owner of yoga and natural wellness studio Haleybird Studios, began holding outdoor yoga classes last year at the Tosa Farmers Market, 7720 Harwood Ave., each Saturday morning throughout the season.
"It's been really successful," said Picotte-Stozek, whose studio is at 9207 W. Center St. "Having a yoga class at the farmers market has turned out to be a good compliment to what's already there. It seemed like a good market to offer the classes."
Participation in the outdoor yoga classes fluctuates, Picotte-Stozek said, based on the weather. On average, she said about 30 people have taken part in the activities each week.
Instructor Myra Holtzman also has been offering a nine-week outdoors-themed class called Fitness in the Park. Classes have been held at Hartung Park, located at Menomonee River Parkway and Argonne Drive, and are set to wrap Aug. 15.
"The program promotes fat loss, camaraderie and provides a unique social aspect and a team atmosphere," said Holtzman, who works with Milwaukee-based Fitness Professionals.
Picotte-Stozek said her desire to hold an outdoor class was based less on consumer demand and more on an innate desire to expand her program offerings.
"It wasn't like people were pounding on my door," Picotte-Stozek said. "But I thought I would give it a try and see how people responded."
Traditionally, Picotte-Stozek said participation at her Haleybird Studios facility drops off in the summer. The scenario, she said, was part of the inspiration to take her classes beyond the walls of her business.
"In Wisconsin, we have so few months of truly nice weather," she said. "People want to spend as much time outdoors, so this just seemed to make sense."
A number of researchers in recent years have linked healthful benefits to working out in a natural setting, lending credence to the fitness trend.
According to recent research published in Environmental Science and Technology, scientists stated outdoor exercise can reduce tension, frustration and depression better than workouts held indoors.
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