Aritha Paris gets people moving with a variety of exercise classes at Winfield Recreation Commission

Students enrolled in Aritha Paris’s fitness classes at the Winfield Recreation Commission always anticipate a great workout.

Many students have taken classes from Paris for 10, even 20 years or more during all seasons and have become good friends. The summer sessions especially keep participants active and happy.

This summer Paris teaches several classes, including “Fit Over Fifty,” “Gentle Yoga,” “Early Bird Conditioning Workout” and “Rise and Ride.” These classes began June 3 and 4, and will continue to almost the end of July.

Those interested can still join for the entire session or attend on certain days that her classes are offered by paying a small fee. Contact the WRC for further information at (620) 221-2160.

Paris will turn 70 in December. Through the years she has stayed motivated and never seems to slow down.

“I stay active and motivated because it (exercise) is my passion in life, and I am a people person, so I hope to help others become active in their every day life,” she said.

“Fit Over Fifty” is from 8 to 8:30 a.m. and 9:30 to 10 a.m. Monday, Wednesday and Friday inside the WRC Aerobics Room. The fee is $24 for the whole session.

“Gentle Yoga,” which focuses on Hatha yoga, is from 8:45 to 9:15 a.m. and 10:15 to 10:45 a.m. Monday, Wednesday and Friday in the Aerobics Room. The cost is $24.

Anyone who likes to rise early can take advantage of the “Early Bird Conditioning Workout” offered from 5:30 to 6 a.m. Monday, Wednesday and Friday in the Aerobics Room. The cost for that class is $48.

In addition, another early morning class is “Rise and Ride.” Paris leads participants through a variety of stationary cycle exercises in which they can sit and pedal, hover while moving or stand while pedaling. 

Throughout this class Paris interchanges or alternates the moves so students will not get bored or overly tired. She stressed that this class is not competitive. It is offered from 5:30 to 6:30 a.m. Tuesday and Thursday in the Spinning/Community Room. The fee is $30.

Classes such as these are meant to get people up and going for the rest of the day.

Paris has been active her whole life. She also has taught other classes in the past through different programs, such as Tai Chi and Pilates.

“When I went to school, there wasn’t organized sports,” she said. “I was a cheerleader in high school and in college. I used to run, just to do something physical. In my late 20s, I got involved in aerobics and running competitively. That ramped up my physical activity.”

Sometimes exercising can evolve into an obsession.

“But normally that occurs when you are younger,” said Paris, who resides in Oxford and is usually awake by 3 a.m. each morning. “I have studied fitness under a variety of teachers, and the one thing that a teacher told me years ago that I always remembered: ‘You can slow down the aging process, but you can’t stop it.’ The human body only allows so much with each year. The intensity of your physical activity changes whether you want it to or not.”

The “Early Bird” class is a high/low cross training session that benefits all ages, but especially those still working to get a workout to start their day.

“Statistics show morning exercises stay with a person’s exercise regimen,” Paris said.

The older population benefits from “Fit Over Fifty,” but the class is comparable to Early Bird, with the exception that it is 30 minutes long instead of one hour. Participants need not worry about performing high-intensity moves because there aren’t any. This class focuses on cross training, with strength and core training.

Breathing, balance and stretching are involved with “Gentle Yoga.” Participants perform various Hatha poses, many times with the sounds of nature or calming, relaxing music.

“This class teaches how to be mindful and how to listen to your own body,” Paris said. “We try to incorporate visual imagery to enhance our poses. Hopefully, this class lets you take the lessons learned into every day living.”

The wonderful aspect of spinning is that people won’t experience joint issues as they might with running.

It is Paris’s opinion that 30 minutes of exercise a day is necessary.

“It is the intensity that will change, but what you do in your 30s affects your life in your 50s and so on,” she said. “Would you have good teeth if you didn’t care for them every day? Why would your total body be any different? One just needs to assess the things that he or she enjoys doing and fit it into a daily schedule.”

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