The streets around City-Brooks Community Park and City Park Lake were closed May 21 for Healthy Baton Rouge’s Family Fit Day, held at various locations around the area.
Adrian Brumfield, health educator at Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center and board member for Healthy BR, geared up to take the stage just before noon for the final fitness class of the day — kickboxing.
The midday heat didn’t keep participants from following Brumfield’s lead as he walked around the stage, opting instead to lead the class from the grass.
Brumfield’s easygoing instruction style seemed to make the class more like fun than exercise, which is Brumfield’s goal.
“You don’t want people to realize how hard they’re working until it’s over,” he laughed, just before the microphone came on, and he began teaching punches, jabs and kicks.
It was the last of 11 fitness classes covering everything from yoga and tai chi to high-intensity interval training, hula hooping, karate, hip hop and Zumba.
All classes were taught for free by volunteers Brumfield has met through networking at various events like this one all over the city, he said.
The idea was to give Baton Rouge residents a taste of what the city has to offer, fitness wise, all in one spot, Brumfield said.
Not every class will appeal to everyone, but just about everyone can find something they’ll enjoy.
Many of the volunteer instructors, Brumfield said, noticed a sharp increase in enrollment after last year’s Healthy BR event.
And Brumfield said he’s learned as much about healthy living as he’s taught, particularly when it comes to his cooking game.
“I got a lot of healthy recipes I use from the cooking demonstrations,” he said. “I was a George Foreman Grill guy until I came to Healthy BR Day.”
Participants at the Open Streets event, coordinated by the Mayor’s Healthy City Initiative, took park in activities like land boarding — similar to paddle boarding, but using a wheeled platform and a pole — flag football, foot golf and hula hooping.
It’s the third year for the event, said Andy Allen, outreach coordinator with the mayor’s office, and has been growing steadily every year.
Each of the booths had interactive components that included fitness or healthy living-related activities, he said.
Mayor-President Kip Holden led the Mayor’s Bike Ride around University Lakes. Other events included a hula hooping contest, a Varsity Sports run and the BRASF Family Relay race.
Presenting sponsors included BREC, which provided access to BREC on the Go activities, AARP Louisiana, Oschner and Our Lady of the Lake.
Earlier in the day, Family Fit Day Ambassadors Brittney Fresina; Christian Louque, 12; Lana Baker, 13; and Ailynn and Kailah Fresina, 10 and 5; passed out healthy snacks as part of their volunteer outreach for The Crowning Moment, a life coaching and mentorship program for pageant participants.
Brittney Fresina, Ms. Operation Puzzle Piece, a pageant promoting awareness for people living with autism, said fitness and healthy living are as important to balanced living as supporting causes one believes in, and the ambassadors were able to promote both at Family Fit Day.
Christian, International Junior Miss Louisiana Pre-Teen, supports Relay for Life as her platform, said her mother, Shawndel Louque, so Family Fit Day was a particularly good match.
Other sponsors included Aetna, AmeriHealth Caritas, Baton Rouge Moms, Baton Rouge Area Sports Foundation, Front Yard Bikes, Louisiana Healthcare Connections, Training with Adrian B., UFC GYM, Varsity Sports, Whole Foods Market, Walgreens and Woman’s Hospital.
The next Healthy BR event will be Sept. 10 at the A.C. Lewis branch of the YMCA, Allen said.