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The Greater Marco Family YMCA offers a unique fusion class for all ages, Fit 4 Life.

What began seven years ago as a basic cardiovascular and strength training class is now a full fitness package for anyone interested in a comprehensive workout.

Fit 4 Life is for men and women of any age and includes what instructor Carla Bottalla the foundations for a healthy body, mind and spirit.

A registered nurse by profession, Bottalla is also certified as a American Council on Exercise Certified Personal Trainer and yoga instructor certified by Zen Yoga organization. Bottalla studies energy medicine and approaches wellness with a holistic approach.

The four components of Fit 4 Life:

• QiGong, meaning energy work - an ancient Chinese healing tradition. The more familiar TaiChi and Kung Fu derived from this;

• Cardiovascular - a 15 minute moderate intensity workout with modification for all fitness levels;

• Strength training - to develop muscle tone, definition and endurance;

• Yoga - promoting flexibility.

The Fit 4 Life class flows from one genre to the next, beginning with QiGong, which opens up the blocked or stagnant chi thought to be the cause of all disease or illness, according to traditional Chinese medicine.

"Carla's class helps me experience an awareness of my thoughts and emotions," said participant Bonnie Renda about the class. "We learn how to bring about a positive approach to our daily struggles. We begin class by letting go of the stresses of life and by the end of class I am ready for my day. Carla has such care for everyone in her class. She sparkles!"

After QiGong, Carla picks up the intensity with cardiovascular training.

"Although participants can certainly increase or decrease the intensity as desired, I will cue accordingly," said Bottalla.

Next, the strength training portion includes a combination of dumbbells, bars, bands, or tubing to develop muscle tone, definition, endurance and strength.

Finally, the mind/body/spirit connection is developed through various yoga postures that promote flexibility as well as relaxation and centered mindful awareness.

Doris Boston, a YMCA member for 20 years, participates in Bottalla classes and says, "This is the best class that encompasses the whole body."

If you go

Fit 4 Life classes are offered:

Monday, Wednesdays and Fridays from 10:15-11:15 a.m. in the YMCA Gymnasium. Fee: free to YMCA members; $10 day pass for community participants includes classes and use of facility (fitness center and pool).

more information

Contact Deborah Passero, healthy living and membership director, Greater Marco Family YMCA, 101 Sand Hill St., 394-9622, ext, 222, healthyliving@marcoislandymca.org

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