Long-time instructor reflects on power of community and new trends

MCC Group Fitness Instructor Andrea S. poses for a photo on the indoor track.

Andrea S. shares the impact of the MCC beyond physical fitness + how she continues to expand her fitness horizons

As a group fitness instructor of 20 years, Andrea S. is passionate about health and wellness.  

“Fitness is just a part of my life,” says Andrea. “It’s like brushing my teeth—it’s something that I do each day to keep myself healthy. I think staying active, even if that means you’re just going for a walk once a day, is the key to living well.”  

Andrea loves teaching group fitness classes at the Monon Community Center (MCC) because of the people. Group fitness isn’t just about getting in a workout; it’s about creating a community where members continually encourage, motivate and inspire each other.  

Healthier community thanks to group fitness 

Andrea has worked at the MCC for over a decade! While people come and go, Andrea says the one constant at the MCC is community. Our group fitness offerings are just one of the many services we provide that help keep our community physically, mentally and emotionally healthy.  

“One member of our community that I really admire is JoNell S.,” says Andrea. “JoNell has been battling cancer for several years, but she continues to exercise at the MCC and go to group fitness classes like mine. She’s an amazing person. I find her so inspiring and open-minded.” (Interested in learning more about JoNell’s story? Check out Why Memories are Important for Wellness Too in our magazine, Park Conversations).  

Access to fitness is important to our overall health and well-being. In fact, according to a 2023 National Recreation & Park Association study, 83 percent of U.S. adults agree it is important to have access to indoor and outdoor recreation areas, classes and activities in order to lead a healthy lifestyle. Group fitness classes specifically can increase motivation, reduce mental load, and add variety to participants’ fitness routines.

(You can learn more about the benefits of participating in group fitness classes by reading our blog, Why You Should Sign Up for a Group Fitness Class.”) 

“I’ve developed many wonderful friendships over the years,” says Andrea. “The connections I’ve made in my classes extend far beyond the walls of the MCC.”  

Activities and opportunities for everyone 

What’s another fitness trend Andrea has noticed over the years? People of all ages have taken a greater interest in fitness. Everyone can benefit from regular exercise, no matter their age. But staying fit becomes even more important as we get older, improving mental health, cognitive function and social engagement.  

Parks & recreation professionals have made it their mission to provide people of all ages with opportunities for physical activity, community outreach and education. According to the same National Recreation & Park Association 2023 study, ninety-two percent of U.S. adults look to their parks and recreation agency to provide activities and opportunities to older adults in their community.  

Barre group fitness class

“It’s been interesting seeing the shift in demographics at the MCC. There are a lot more SilverSneakers® classes and gentler formats of popular exercise classes available now. Most other gyms in the area offer three or so SilverSneakers® classes a week, but we offer three a day!”  



It’s never too late to try something new 

The first class Andrea ever taught was a cycling class—she would describe cycling as her first fitness love. If you’ve ever taken a class with Andrea, you know she’s all about putting the pedal to the metal! But as she’s evolved in her fitness journey, Andrea is excited to expand her horizons.   

Andrea’s son is now in college and she and her husband are empty nesters, so she has more time to develop exciting new classes… some that even go beyond the realm of cycling including ab-focused and stretching classes! Who says it’s ever too late to dive into new things 

Guide to Classes 

You’ve heard of these classes before but what can you expect as a participant?  

Cycling: At its most fundamental level, cycling is getting on a bike and riding it. When riding with Andrea, you can expect an hour of high energy, music-blasting (she is serious about her playlists) fun! This class is high-intensity cardio, so make sure you come prepared for a hardcore workout.  

Abs: Andrea’s ab class uses various equipment/workouts to tone your abs! With a 30-minute ab sequence, it is much longer than a typical aerobics class, which means more time is spent on core work. Your core is essential for balance and supporting the rest of your body, which is important as we age.  

Stretching: If you’re looking for something a little less intense, stretching might be more your style. This class is good for people who like yoga, as it primarily involves gentle stretching and quiet self-reflection. But don’t be fooled — stretching is a smart addition to any exercise routine because it helps keep your muscles strong and healthy.  

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