Walk-A-Weigh program helping get Yazooans in shape at an affordable price

By CATHRYN CARTWRIGHT,
The Walk-A-Weigh Program, sponsored by the Mississippi State University Extension Service in Yazoo City, is now accepting applicants for its February classes.
The program is led by Johanna Fassbender, a certified fitness trainer and health coach, who teaches participants more about how to change eating and physical activity habits to lose weight, and how to reduce risk for chronic diseases like diabetes and cancer.
Participants in the classes will meet every Monday and Thursday in February, from Noon until 1 p.m. inside the Fellowship Hall of the First Methodist Church of Yazoo City, located at 203 North Washington Street.
Each session will include 45 minutes of circuit training along with health and nutrition tips and handouts.
Katrina Owens, a Yazoo County MSU Extension Agent assisting with the program, said that the program is open to anyone age 19 and older.  Some of the participants in the month of January ranged from 30 - 70 years old.
"The purpose of the program is to educate participants on a healthy lifestyle through nutrition, serving portions, nutrition labels, and the importance of exercise," said Owens.
Some of the circuit training exercises in the Walk-A-Weigh Program include jumping jacks, squats, bicep curls, quick feet, mountain climbers, and even some abdominal workouts.  
Owens said that the program furnishes all materials except for exercise clothing and towels.  Participants also get a healthy snack at the end.
"Some days are higher intensity, and some days we use the wall, to help strengthen and exercise," said Owens.
Glenda Smith, one of the members of the January program, joined the group because she wanted to help improve her flexibility.
Smith enjoys the low-impact exercises that the class offers.
"We push up on the wall so you are not as stressed out. and we don't work but anywhere from 30-45 seconds at a time," said Smith.
She also enjoys the fact that someone from the hospital often comes by to check the blood pressure and weight of the participants.
"We have a good instructor, we need inspiration, and Johanna is inspirational," said Smith.
Another member, Gerri Allen, joined the fitness group in 2017 to lose weight and to keep her blood pressure in check, and says she has benefited from the program.
"I like the exercises because they are not really intense, and she lets us go at our own pace and she encourages us and makes sure we don't over-do it," said Allen.
Allen said that she enjoys the group setting, especially when Katrina brings in healthy food and recipes for participants to try.
The deadline to register for the February Walk-A-Weigh Fitness Program is January 29th.  Participants will pay $30 for an entire month of classes.  For more information about the Walk-A-Weigh Program, or to register for the February Classes, call the Yazoo County MSU Extension office at 662-746-2453.