With classes like Treadmill Church and Sit and Be Fit, neighbors can participate in healthy urban lifestyle programs and exercise classes for all ages.

The Salvation Army of Englewood, which offered fitness classes during the pandemic, is now a holistic wellness hub for the neighborhood.

The Salvation Army’s Healthy Urban Lifestyle Program, a 2020 fitness program for Englewood residents, combines fun exercise with nutrition education for people of all ages.

Program leaders created fitness classes two years ago to address pre-existing medical conditions that shorten the life expectancy of black residents and put them at high risk for COVID-19 than.

These are Englewood’s hidden gems in every backyard, said Deanna Edwards, pantry coordinator and family program manager for the Adele and Robert Stern Army Rescue Red Shield Center.

This program helped save Edward’s life.

Edwards never liked working. 

Edwards discourages exercise and dieting “until adulthood,” she says. While Englewood was raising two sons, she struggled with diabetes. Edwards said the illness nearly took his life “multiple times”. 

Two years ago, Edwards joined the Salvation Army’s Healthy Urban Life program. She said a colleague had to drag Edwards to class. 

Edwards said the results have changed the lives of both Edwards and her youngest son, who have been on the show. When he broke his leg a few months later, the plan was tailored to his needs. Edwards says trainer DeSean Johnson developed exercises he can do while sitting on the couch to get his body moving again. 

Youngest Edwards First Visits 945 W. 69th St. A jug of juice is the center of the enjoyment.

Edwards said one of his favorite things is playing basketball on the court with friends, but he’s tired of his high-sugar diet. 

Edwards says the program encourages participants to replace juice with water. Her son accepted the inspirational advice of Johnson and the other “old men” in his class. Edwards noticed a rapid change in her son’s life, she said. 

Over the years, Edwards has seen “improvement in adults who can barely move their legs or knees.” Multiple sclerosis. Janice, another longtime participant, “is flying around now,” Edwards said. 

Johnson, community center director and fitness coach, says life programs are tailored to participants’ needs. 

Coaches work with people to set health and fitness goals, “and then we help them achieve those goals,” says Johnson. 

If neighbors are looking to “turn the music on and come in,” Johnson said, they might consider Treadmill Church, a gospel aerobics class with fun soundtracks.

The cycling cardio class is modeled after Phil’s Xtreme Hip Hop class, a high-intensity class very popular during the pandemic. Johnson slows down the class to keep the participants on track, but the music is always “powerful” and encourages everyone to keep going.

Sit and Be Fit classes are designed for members with injuries or limited mobility. Older neighbors who have to stay will move in.

Johnson says the class is for all ages. Johnson said anyone can participate in “family-friendly sport” if parents are willing to take their kids to the gym. 

Growing Home, an urban farm and human resource development center, has partnered with the Chicago Food Pantry to host free food and gift stock at the center every Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. Johnson said neighbors who participate in the fitness program can get suggestions for healthy recipes and ask questions about nutrition before heading into the kitchen. 

The Englewood Center also provides referrals for psychiatric services. Neighbors seeking spiritual guidance can visit the center’s church on Sundays. 

No matter where Chicagoans are on their health journey, they can join lifestyle programs, says Johnson.

Edwards stayed after school to discuss diets and exercises members might want to try at home.

The purpose of the program is to build community – healthcare is just one way to do this. 

The monthly membership fee for the Active Urban Living plan is $17.50. Seniors can attend for $12.50.

By Lusjan