Lifestyle

Kettlebell workouts accessible for all ages

From left, Doug Symonds, Steve Santos and Amy Russert warm up with their kettlebell weights during a Tuesday evening workout outside of the Jennings Park Barn in Marysville. - Kirk Boxleitner
From left, Doug Symonds, Steve Santos and Amy Russert warm up with their kettlebell weights during a Tuesday evening workout outside of the Jennings Park Barn in Marysville.
— image credit: Kirk Boxleitner

MARYSVILLE — The Jennings Park Barn has become the site for a new workout program, courtesy of the city of Marysville’s Parks and Recreation Department, that’s already yielded measurable results according to a number of participants.

“I lost between 10 and 15 pounds in the first two weeks,” Diane Dixon said of the kettlebell exercises conducted by personal trainer and aerobics instructor Tracey Mackie on Tuesdays and Thursdays. “I’ve got knee and shoulder injuries, and I’m in my 50s, so I’m no spring chicken, but I’ve made some changes in my life.”

Mackie explained that kettlebell exercises are designed to provide total-body workouts, and touted how convenient the program is in terms of time commitment, equipment required, location possibilities and accessibility for a range of ability levels.

“It’s low impact on your joints and it takes half the time of a gym routine, for those who simply can’t spare a full one hour to lift weights. You’re getting the same amount of exercise, since you’re burning about 20 calories a minute in a half-hour workout, but you can do it just about anywhere and it doesn’t take a lot of coordination to do it. I’ve taught people on kettlebells who were in their 80s.”

Mackie elaborated that kettlebell routines provide cardio, flexibility and strength training, which allows participants to drop unwanted pounds without developing the more bulky look of other weightlifters.

“You’ll look athletic, but toned,” Mackie said. “It’s great for people who have knee problems, because you don’t have to bend your knees a lot, which also helps to strengthen your lower back. There’s actually not a lot of different types of moves to it, but when you leave, you feel like you’ve gotten a workout, because you’re using your whole body.”

Mackie encouraged those who might be intimidated by the look of the kettlebell weights themselves not to worry, since the exercises can be customized to allow participants to proceed at their own pace.

“The one thing I would advise is that people not try it on their own,” Mackie said. “You can buy your own kettlebells, but you need the proper instruction to get the most benefit out of them, and to make sure you’re not injuring yourself. I always make sure everyone practices a good swing and posture.”

Maryke Burgess, coordinator of the Ken Baxter Community Center, noted that several city of Marysville employees now take part in kettlebell exercise sessions with Mackie, who also offers private sessions.

“I was able to lift my 64-pound dog in one try,” Dixon said. “People tell me I look younger, which I love to hear.”

“You can see results fast if you stick with it,” Mackie said.

For more information on kettlebell exercise sessions, including the times of day they’re offered each week, log onto the city of Marysville’s website at http://marysvillewa.gov, and click the “Recreational Activities” tab of the “Parks & Recreation” menu, or call Mackie at 425-750-9042.

 

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