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Tai chi instructor promotes painless fitness at GBRC
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Fitness instructor Dee Krier prepares for her Intermediate Tai Chi class, Tuesday at the Great Bend Activity Center. Tai Chi classes have been gaining popularity here since the Great Bend Recreation Commission first added them in 2013. - photo by SUSAN THACKER Great Bend Tribune

Rec Commission forming exercise classes

The Great Bend Recreation Commission is forming its New Year sessions of exercise classes, Program Coordinator Garet Fitzpatrick said. The following classes start the week of Monday, Jan. 5, and end Jan. 30.
All classes will be held at the Great Bend Activity Center located at 2715 18th St. Pre-registration is required. Enroll at the Recreation Commission office located at 1214 Stone Street. For more information, call 793-3755 ext. 2.
Join Dixie Divis for Noon Body Shaping that meets Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 12:10-12:50 p.m. Participants will do some strength building exercises that burn fat,  and tone and firm specific body areas. “Don’t worry – you won’t need to shower after this class so you can get back to work on time,” Fitzpatrick reported.
Laurie McCurry teaches Yoga classes on Mondays and Wednesdays from 4:30-5:30 p.m. Quiet the mind and body while increasing flexibility, improving balance and strength.
McCurry leads Cardio Blast exercise classes on Mondays and Wednesdays from 5:30-6:30 p.m. This is a high-energy cardio class that gets the heart rate up with a variety of intense cardio classes, such as step, kick boxing, interval training and floor routines.
Zumba class if offered by McCurry on Mondays and Wednesdays from 6:30 -7:30 p.m.
Divis leads a Wake Up Workout on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 5:15-6 a.m. Get the day started with this cardio core circuit that will be a high-energy group aerobics class incorporating interval, circuit and boot camp style classes to strengthen and tone the entire body.
Dee Krier offers Tai Chi classes in beginning, intermediate and advanced levels. Tai Chi Beginners meets on Wednesdays from 3-4 p.m. Tai Chi Intermediate meets on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 5:30-6:30 p.m. Tai Chi Advance meets on Mondays and Wednesdays from 5:30-6:30 p.m.

The tai chi classes Dee Krier teaches for the Great Bend Recreation Commission defy the conventional wisdom of American fitness gurus. While Westerners tend to “burn” energy and use phrases such as “No pain, no gain,” Eastern philosophy sees energy as life giving.  “You use it to create more energy,” she said.
The Rec Commission added tai chi to its fitness classes in 2013, and they have continued to gain popularity. Krier now teaches beginning, intermediate and advanced level courses in Great Bend. (She also teaches yoga and tai chi classes in Claflin.) Tai chi’s forms are a slow-motion Chinese martial art that promote strength, balance, coordination, posture, concentration and a general level of energy.
“I tend to describe it as a very soft, slow moving, full-body workout,” Krier said. It’s not cardio, but is uses the participant’s muscles.
“We also incorporate breathing,” Krier said.
Tai Chi is known as a means for dealing with stress and a variety of other health conditions, and has eased the pain of arthritis and fibromyalgia in a clinical study. Krier said it can lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels. She attributes her own good health to her yoga and tai chi.
“I’m 60 years old and not on any prescription drugs,” she said.
Because it is a painless workout, Krier has students of all ages and fitness levels, including two men in their 90s.
GBRC offers eight-week fitness classes throughout the year, and the last sessions started in December. However, Program Coordinator Garet Fitzpatrick said many people like to start a program around the first of the year, so the Rec Commission always takes enrollments in January.
Later this year, Krier said she will begin offering two more classes through GBRC: Gentle Yoga, and Mommy and Baby/Toddler Yoga.