This April will be the five-year anniversary of Anytime Fitness of Sleepy Eye, the vision of owner Colleen Braun.

This April will be the five-year anniversary of Anytime Fitness of Sleepy Eye, the vision of owner Colleen Braun. Having worked as an LPN in the nursing home, Braun could tell the difference between new residents who’d been physically active compared to those who were not. She had a vision of helping people get to a healthier place.

Braun said, “I love healthcare, but I wanted to be on the preventative side. Anytime Fitness is healthcare on the front end.”

Finding the right location for her business venture was a challenge, but quitting was not an option for Braun. She knew the benefits the community would receive by having a 24-hour access fitness center with full security. “Where else can you get a key for a business and come in when it is convenient for you, 24/7?” Braun said.

She also said, “I’ve been blessed along the way with great staff. It’s more than the dollars, it’s about the success stories. Each year we hope to offer more to our members and help them achieve their goals.”

When a person decides it’s time to better their health, whether it be their own perspective or that of their doctor, the hardest part is admitting to themselves they need assistance. That’s where the Anytime staff comes into play.

Angel Gessner, manager of Anytime Fitness of Sleepy Eye, sits down with prospective members to visit about their health and future goals, and discuss membership options.

Do they have an insurance reimbursement they can take advantage of which helps reduce the monthly fee? Is their employer a Health Partner with Anytime Fitness of Sleepy Eye or Springfield? Are they age 65 or above? If so, several insurance policies offer a benefit called Silver&Fit or SilverSneakers. If they have either of these benefits, their membership to a qualified fitness center is free.

From there, members answer a series of simple questions to help the staff determine a personalized program to best fit their needs.

Fitness Coach Jenny Helget assists new members with their personal workout program, guiding them through the process of learning proper usage of the equipment. She is also the certified instructor for the Silver&Fit and SilverSneakers classes.

Helget said, “Fitness isn’t only for those who are young, but also incredibly important for those who are ‘young at heart’.”

She says the ability to stay mobile and agile as a person ages, becomes increasingly difficult if they are not active. What she means is — if you stop moving, you “lose the ability to move.”

Helget said senior classes such as Over 50 Fitness, Silver&Fit Experience, Fit Over 50 and AquaFitness, along with walking regularly or some sort of physical activity, keeps seniors healthy and happy. Class participants go through a workout geared for their ability.

“Everyone may be doing the same exercise, but they do it at the level they can without hurting themselves,” Helget explained. “For example, one participant may be lifting four- or five-pound dumbbells for the exercise, while the person next to them is lifting a two- or three-pound dumbbell. They also have the option of no additional weights, but are working on their range of motion.”

Helget said the structure of each class incorporates warm up, strength, cardio, balance, cool down and finishing with relaxation. The point of these classes is to help people gain not only strength, but balance as well. And for some, it is as much about the social aspect as it is the exercise itself.

“We know from experience that if they enjoy their time, they will come back and benefit from doing different exercises each month,” Helget said. “It doesn’t matter if a participant has been coming for a year or a week, we begin with new workouts each month.” She said that while these classes are under the structure of Silver&Fit and SilverSneakers, they are open to anyone regardless of age. Plus, they’re free for Anytime Fitness members and a small fee for non-members. “We encourage trying our classes out and to bring a friend,” she added. “There is no commitment if it is not for them. But working out with a friend is always better and they may make new friends along the way.”

For members who are looking for a more challenging workout, Anytime’s Springfield location offers a total body workout group class instructed by Stacie Amsden. They also offer a yoga class led by Traci Zuhlsdorf. Zuhlsdorf said, “Incorporating yoga into your routine, just a few times per week can be enough to make a noticeable difference in muscle tone, increase your flexibility and endurance, also reducing symptoms of stress, depression and anxiety.” These classes are free to members or for a small fee for non-members.

Along with these classes in Springfield, manager Sara Schwarzrock is an ISSA Certified Personal Trainer and NESTA Certified Fitness Nutrition Coach. She has been the manager for eight years. Another benefit members of Anytime Fitness of Sleepy Eye and Springfield receive is reduced pricing for a massage from Lisa Hoffman, certified massage therapist at Lisa’s Healing Hands.

Gessner and Helget said, “Health is more than just walking into the gym, hitting the treadmill or throwing some weights and going home. It is about a healthy lifestyle including exercise, nutrition and an overall wellness of body, mind and spirit.”