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Thursday, March 17, 2011 03:30 am

FITNESS IN THE PARK

Start stretching: Fitness in the Park is back for a second season.

Beginning next week on Tuesday, March 22, Andy Dickerson will lead outdoor exercise classes every Tuesday and Thursday from 6 p.m. until 7 p.m. at Washington Park. Starting at the Botanical Gardens’ front fountain, participants will walk through the park, pausing along the way at prime park locations to learn about flexibility, cardiovascular training, strength training and balance.

Though the program – meant for anyone aged 18 to 80 and beyond – includes sit-ups and push-ups, Dickerson says he’ll teach modified exercises for those with bad backs or cracking elbow joints.

Dickerson created the program in September of last year and before breaking for winter weather saw up to 10 participants at each class. He says the small class size lends itself well to more personal instruction.

He adds that the best thing about the program is “just being outside with nature” and learning that you don’t need a gym membership to get fit.

Hosted by the Springfield Park District, the program runs through Aug. 1 and costs $10 to participate. Call Dickerson at 217-414-7015 for more information.