Recreation center offers variety of fitness activities

Puyallup: Bokwa moves people to trace letters and numbers set to Top 40 music

of the HeraldJanuary 8, 2014 

As the new year begins, many people set goals to improve their physical fitness.

Puyallup’s recreation center is open, and staff members welcome residents to try out the city-owned weight room, drop in for open gym or register for a team sport.

“It’s all about getting people more active and exercising,” said Tyler Eidson, a recreation coordinator. “Everyone wants to live healthier than they did the year before. It’s just a matter of keeping them engaged.”

The weight room is available for public use between 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday, and from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

“People like it because it’s not overly crowded, and they don’t have to fight over machines,” Recreation Supervisor Deon Moyd said.

Eidson said the atmosphere of the fitness center is not as intimidating, compared to some traditional gyms.

Moyd and Eidson said a great starting point for people who are interested in a membership is the punch pass program, which offers 12 visits to the weight room during a calendar year for $48 — $42 for Puyallup residents. That’s a $1 savings when it’s compared to the $5 drop-in fee.

“People try it, and if they like it, then they go to a monthly or semi-annual pass,” Moyd said.

A semi-annual membership is $209 for a non-resident, or $174 for someone who lives in Puyallup. Monthly passes are $51/$42.

Other recreation center-based activities include an indoor mini park for children ages 5 and younger, or an open gym for those 16 and older.

The indoor mini park is like a playground indoors that includes toys, tricycles and an opportunity for socializing in a warm, dry setting, Eidson said. The program runs from 8:30 to 11:30 a.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays through the end of May in the main gymnasium.

Open gym provides opportunities for pickup basketball from 6 to 8 a.m. and from 2 to 4 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays in the main gym. The fee for both is $2 per participant.

Adult sports and fitness programs will be offered this winter/spring season.

A new program is called bokwa, an approach to group exercise that originates from South Africa. Instructor Melanie Hendershot will lead the program, which has participants trace letters and numbers to music in an aerobic workout on the floor.

“It’s unique because it’s so simple,” Hendershot said. “There is no choreography. You’re just doing numbers and letters. We tape letters and numbers up on the wall if you need the visual. I also hold up the symbol.”

Hendershot said it’s even more fun when there are more people involved.

“It’s like a flash mob,” she said.

Hendershot said bokwa accommodates all fitness levels.

“You can pump it up in intensity or keep it down,” she said. “What I enjoy most is reaching one person at a time and getting them healthy. It’s all about being healthy.”

Open sessions for adults start this month and go through the end of April. Hendershot said she’d love to expand the program to children and families.

“It certainly can be done as a family class,” she said. “There is not a lot of opportunities for families to exercise together, and I’d like to do that if I can.”

Also new will be coed volleyball for ninth through 12th-grade students. Youth will register individually, and teams will be assembled.

“We will keep track of the standings and will do awards at the end,” Moyd said.

Registration will begin Feb. 17. The season will start April 12 and run through May 17.

If you go

To register for fitness programs or team sports, or to learn more, visit

Reporter Andrew Fickes can be reached at 253-552-7001 or by email at Follow him on Twitter, @herald_andrew.

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