KMC parents have more workout options with their children

RAMSTEIN AIR BASE, Germany -- Strollers, binkies and baby-sized Nikes are likely to be seen at activity centers around the KMC as the U.S. Air Force increases parent and child workout options.

In 2007, there were 1,049 births at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center and several more births that occurred in Kaiserslautern area hospitals, according to Marie Shaw, LRMC chief of public affairs. The entire community is bustling with families.

"We knew there was a need to provide fitness activities for our large parent and child population in the KMC," said Bill Gurr, 435th Services Squadron Vogelweh Fitness Center director.

There is a mind set that fitness centers are for active duty and the youth and community centers are for spouses and children. But the reality is that the fitness centers can offer alternatives for the community to work out with their children and still say within Air Force fitness regulations. The Sembach and Ramstein North Side fitness centers have parent and child rooms that allow kids to play in sight of their parents while the parents work out. The Vogelweh Fitness Center will be adding a large parent and child room when their renovation is complete, projected for fiscal year 2010, he said.

The Vogelweh Community Centers also offer classes that incorporate fitness with parents and children. Parents with children as young as six weeks old can sign up for classes through 435th Services Squadron that include core conditioning, stroller aerobics and yoga.

"Exercise is the best way to relieve everyday stresses and stay healthy," said Dr. Jenny Lee, LRMC Family Practice. "Parents, especially new parents, can feel overwhelmed and experience sleep deprivation."

"All of these new stresses from having a baby are only magnified when spouses are deployed or TDY," said Doctor Lee. "These classes offered in the KMC give new parents a chance to work out with their children while their children are at their side."

Chandra Andrews signed up for the core conditioning class with her 6-week-old Ella.

"It was the first place I took my baby and didn't feel bad if she was crying," she said. "I got to work out and meet other new moms in the area."

Mrs. Andrews enjoyed working out with her baby so much that she became a certified instructor and is now teaching parent and child fitness classes in the KMC.

The parent and child fitness classes are becoming very popular in the KMC.

Renee Champagne, a physical trainer that has worked with kids for more than 16 years, also teaches parent and child fitness classes.

"I love kids, I love to teach and I love fitness," she said. "Bringing these classes to the KMC was a priority to me so parents have options to workout with their children, instead of paying for child care."

There is a new belly dancing parent and child fitness class that is being offered to the KMC, said Lynn Shoemaker, who will be instructing the class through the Vogelweh Community Center. The class begins in September and will be a guaranteed workout to all the duos that join.

Families can also take advantage of the Ramstein Health and Wellness Center's Let's Eat Smart Then Exercise Right program. LESTER is a free program for parents and children ranging from 6 to 11 years old. Throughout the program attendees will learn about developing healthy eating and activity habits, said Staff Sgt. David Fernandez, LESTER program director.

The KMC will continue to increase parent and child fitness activities as long as there is a desire throughout the community.

Ramstein Health and Wellness Center- LESTER Program- 480-HAWC
Ramstein North Side Fitness Center- Parent and Child Room- 480-8085
Sembach Fitness Center- Parent and Child Room- 496-7140
Ramstein and Vogelweh community centers- Parent and Child Fitness Classes-