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Find your passion
20+ ways to stay fit and have fun



Becoming that lean, mean fighting machine is all about dedication and hard work. But thereís a lot of people out there who just want to live a little healthier, lose a few pounds and tone up. Maybe entering the fitness facility for you is on the same level as walking into the dentistís office to have a tooth extracted.

Donít worry, there are plenty of ways to exercise in Waukesha County and enjoy the experience while you are doing it.

We divided our ideas into three categories ó flexibility, endurance and power. Within those categories are activities divided into beginner and advanced levels.

This summer do a little exploring and try some different ways to fun and fitness.


Building your muscle strength does not mean you necessarily have to don the weight belt and "bulk up."

According to Nick Schmidt, strength training will not only help your body now, but it will prepare it for the future. "It will help prevent arthritis and increase your bone density," Schmidt says.

It may not seem possible to make your bones denser, but thatís exactly what strength training can accomplish. Schmidt explains that your body starts to remember the pressure you applied to the bones when youíre strength training and therefore compensates for the change by becoming denser and healthier.

Nick Schmidt


Nick Schmidt
YMCA Exercise Instructor and record-breaking Competitive
Power Lifter

Building your strength not only helps in the prevention of crippling diseases such as arthritis, osteoporosis and osteopenia, you will also reap the benefits soon after you start.

"It gives you energy. You start to feel better and your muscles get stronger," Schmidt says. "It cushions your joints."

Which is a good thing especially if you like to take part in one activity, such as running. "Overtime working just one area can cause big problems," explains Schmidt, who adds that it will cause undo wear and tear on certain joints.

"The main thing is your core, which includes your abs and lower back. You want to cross train in everything and not neglect an area," he says.

Schmidt explains that everyone is born with all their muscle fibers; the difference with strength training is that your fibers get bigger when you strength train and the bigger they get, the more cushioning you add to your joints. He reminds everyone that in order to prevent injury, they should learn the proper technique from a professional prior to beginning a strength-training program.

Many people head to the weight room when they want to build their muscles. That is certainly one place that people should visit regularly, but there are other fun ways to work on increasing your power. We have listed eight activities, four aimed at beginners and four more for people who are already athletic, but may want to try something new.

So sculpt those bodies and have some fun while doing it!

Power beginner

1 Start Strong
Building up your body requires a strong foundation, and a good way to get your muscles engaged is through a functionality class where each exercise can be made more challenging through modifications in weight, balance, intensity or technique. Check it out: be fitness and wellness center in Delafield offers a Functional Adult Class every other Saturday at 10:15 a.m. Call (262) 646-4727.

2 William Tell It
Developing upper body strength doesnít necessarily mean hitting the gym. A great alternative workout is archery to work your arms, upper chest and hand-eye coordination. While some archers use their skills for hunting, you donít have to as the skill and sport of archery can be confined to targets. Check it out: Buck Rub Outfitters in Pewaukee is kind to beginners with $5 equipment rentals, $15 lessons and indoor and outdoor range rentals of $10 an hour for adults. League play is also available. (262) 547-0866.

3 Meet Your Middle
You donít need seven veils to discover the art of belly dancing, and the ancient tradition is an excellent way to strengthen and tone your body while having a lot of fun in the process. The members of Milwaukee-based Rakhshanda Tribal Belly Dance offer multi-week, try-it sessions throughout the area. Check it out: For a schedule of classes, locations and fees, log on to


Power Advanced

1 Rock Out
Take advantage of the summer weather and head outside to go vertical, whether you know how to knot and belay or not. Guided tours for beginners and advanced climbers are available in our area. Check it out: Brookfieldís Adventure Rock offers off-site climbing days at Devilís Lake starting at $115 for non-members and $70 for members. Call (262) 790-6800 for more information.

2 Go On the Defense 
How do the strong survive? They enroll in a Krav Maga class. This system of fighting and self-defense was first used by the Israeli Defense Force, and is now tapped by members of the FBI, NYPD and United States Secret Service, as well as in-the-know celebrities like Angelina Jolie and Jennifer Garner. Check it out: Brookfield-based Krav Maga-Milwaukee offers a variety of evening classes throughout the week. Visit for more information.

3 Favre It
So you may only don the green and gold as an official fan, but you can still hit the grass gridiron as a flag football player. Flag football is a growing league sport in our area, and if you can find a minimum of six buddies (male or female) to field a team, you may not win the Super Bowl, but youíll sure have a lot of fun. Check it out: The Brookfield Indoor Soccer Complex offers two levels of league play. You supply the team, the heart and the sweat. Call (262) 781-1439.

4 Get Waterlogged
If you find canoeing just a little on the slow side, step it up a notch and try kayaking. This mode of transportation relies on upper body strength and just a little more balance, particularly if youíre in a sea kayak. Check it out: Laacke & Joys offers a variety of water-based kayaking classes throughout the summer, from recreational kayaking in downtown Milwaukee to sea kayaking on Wind Lake in Racine County; adventure junkies can even take a class on rolling a kayak on Upper Nemahbin Lake in Waukesha County. Rentals are available for those who donít own their own kayaks. Call (262) 782-2960 for more information. The Oconomowoc Parks, Recreation and Forestry Department also offers sunset kayak tours on Monday and Wednesday nights on Lac La Belle. Kayaks are provided; the fee is $10 for residents/$15 for non-residents. Kayaks are also available for hourly rental at other times. Call (262) 569-2199 for more information.



Heather Haviland
Personal Trainer and
Professional Triathlete

Going the extra mile can make some of us wince at the thought when weíre out pounding the pavement. But following an appropriate plan can lead to discovering that you may have more in your reserves than you ever thought possible.

Heather Haviland knows what sheís talking about when it comes to endurance training. A professional triathlete with multiple Ironmans under her belt, sheís well aware of the mental and physical toll endurance sports can make.

It takes motivation to exercise and it doesnít matter if youíre starting out or at a professional level. It is important, though, to be smart about building your endurance. Going out and killing yourself isnít the answer. "Harder is not better," says Haviland. "Purposeful training is the key."

Haviland likens it to building a pyramid. You work on building your cardio, speed, length, intensity, duration and consistency when you are working on your endurance.

Following your heart rate is also key. There are general formulas that people follow when it comes to monitoring your heart rate, but, Haviland suggests, getting tested by a professional, which will determine your own heart rate training zones. Once thatís established, a trained professional can teach you how to work within your zones to help build endurance.

She offers four ways to help you on the path to increasing your level of exercise.

1. You need to set a realistic plan, take baby steps. How much time can you really commit to an exercise plan?

2. Have a plan of action. In order to achieve your goal, a plan is needed.

3. Consistency is the key. With your realistic goals set, there are some days you may only have a short amount of time to exercise. Itís important that you still go out and move, instead of skipping the day all together.

4. Exercise in a group and have fun doing it. The camaraderie of being active with others is fun and keeps you going. It also holds you accountable for the next time you plan to work out together.

The following are a list of eight activities to help build your endurance. Four for beginners and four are for already-active people. Try something different! You may surprise yourself on how much you enjoy it.

Endurance beginner

1 Disc-O-Rama 
If you havenít picked up a Frisbee since you were a kid, itís time to check out the adult version: Disc golf. Parks throughout Waukesha County maintain free disc golf courses, including Village Park in Sussex, Wales Community Park in Wales, Valley View Park in New Berlin and Miniwaukan Park in Mukwonago. Check it out: All of the county parks offer free access to their disc golf courses, so all youíll need to do is invest in your own disc, typically available through sporting goods stores and some big-box retailers like Target. And no, that old Frisbee in the garage wonít cut it.

2 Take the Long Haul
For beginners, endurance is relative, but the key is to go further each time than you have in the past. What better way to do that than to start an attack on the 52 miles of the Glacial Drumlin State Trail? Thirteen miles of the trail, from Waukesha to Dousman, are paved, perfect for an afternoon of inline skating. Bikers can access the entire route, which turns to crushed limestone westward to Cottage Grove. Check it out: A State Trail Pass is required to use the Glacial Drumlin Trail ($4 per day/$20 for an annual pass); available from private vendors and self-registration stations on the trail.

3 Meander the Moraine
Hiking the 1,000-mile footpath known as the Ice Age Trail may be a little over the top, but a multi-mile segment is just the right length to help build your endurance. In Waukesha County, the trail passes through the city of Delafield and village of Hartland and over Lapham Peak, a prime stamina builder. Check it out: If youíre just starting out, consider the Monches Segment in northern Waukesha County, a good hike and a great space to enjoy wildlife.

4 Water Ride 
Building endurance is a little more fun when you can do it with a friend, so why not spend some time in a two- or four-person paddle boat on the river at Frame Park? High Roller Fun Rentals offers rentals by the half-hour every day through Labor Day starting at 11 a.m., weather permitting. Check it out: Paddle boat rentals start at $7 for a two-seater, $12 for a four-seater. Guarantee your seats with advance reservations via

Endurance Advanced

1 Swim Skillfully
If swimming laps just doesnít keep your attention, stay in the pool, but change your lane to a master swim class. These adult fitness classes combine swimming skills with a structured swimming workout, and are generally appropriate for swimmers of all abilities. Master swim programs offered at: West Wood Health and Fitness (262) 650-8000 and Tri-County YMCA (262) 255-9622.

2 Get High
Improving your endurance means challenging yourself, and the challenge here is a round-trip run up the 45-foot Lapham Peak Observation Tower, found atop Waukesha Countyís highest point. A stop at the top is allowed, provided you continue your run on the challenging Black Loop, which adds another seven miles to this workout. Check it out: Admission to Lapham Peak State Park requires a state park admission sticker; a daily sticker is $7, annual passes are $25.

3 Power Down
Start your weekend powerfully with a wake-up call: A 7 a.m., 70-mile round-trip bike ride from Transition Cycle and Training on Pewaukee Lake. The route starts with a 20- to 22-mile warm-up ride to Dousman, segues into a 90-minute ride and ends with a recovery ride back to the store. No membership or fees are required to participate, but riders are asked to be prompt as the ride starts on time. Check it out: Contact Transition Cycle and Training at (262) 264-0070.

4 Go Om
If you think that hanging out in Downward Dog is relaxing and Sun Salutations are routine, then the Power Yoga class at Soleil Lune Yoga Center in Oconomowoc should be on your calendar. This challenging, high-energy practice focuses on strength, endurance and mental focus, while recharging your inner energy. Check it out: Soleil Lune Yogaís Power Class is held on Thursday evenings. For more information, call (262) 206-1285.


Stop living on one plane and learn how to stretch

Dwight Sanvold
Fitness and Sports Training of Wisconsin (FAST)

Living on the prairie may have been backbreaking work for our ancestors, but it allowed them to be more flexible when it came to their bodies and movement.

Dwight Sanvold, owner of FAST in Oconomowoc, says thereís a growing trend in todayís world and itís one that he doesnít like to see. "In my experience in this field, we have become a progressively sedentary society," Sanvold says.

He points out that many of us sit at work, we commute by sitting in our cars and then we get home and sit in front of the TV. "We are sitting in a static position for a tremendous amount of time per day," Sanvold says. "In my experience I see people living in one plane."

Instead, people need to focus on multi-level movement, meaning to move in multiple directions, including to the side, rotating our bodies and moving the front of our bodies. "All of that lends to flexibility," he says.

Because people donít do activities to stretch and use their muscles on a regular basis, people will experience muscular problems when they decide to take part in some activity.

"People go out and do their weekend warrior thing and they become easily fatigued and over-injured," Sanvold says.

He explains there are two different types of stretching ó static stretching and dynamic active warm up.

Static stretching is what many of us are familiar with, involving holding a stretching pose to "warm up" before starting an athletic activity.

He points out that muscles and tendons donít warm up that way and need to go through an active range of motion in order to "warm up" and become more flexible.

He also says that active warm up, such as swinging your legs in multiple directions, increases the synovial fluid to the joints, which acts as a lubricant. It also increases the lymphatic flow, which helps flush toxins.

Static stretching is good following exercise.

Sanvold suggests following the 3 Rís when it comes to flexibility ó Release, Re-educate and Rebuild.

1. Release ó constitutes dynamic warm up stretching before the activity.

2. Re-educate ó Hold your position in a neutral joint position until your muscle learns the new position.

3. Rebuild ó Involves activity that rebuilds muscles to hold positions better.

"Any classes or activities that take you through a range of motion are important, but they also need to include a strength training program," suggests Sanvold.

And be careful. Sanvold says any range of motion stretching should not involve pain. If so, stop or decrease the movement.

Static stretching muscles that are tight is important following a workout.

Here are eight activities, four for beginners and four for more advanced athletes, that will help with your flexibility and provide fun in the process.

Agility beginner

1 Just Breathe
Fear not ó the Hatha Yoga classes from Menomonee Falls-based Total Health Yoga wonít turn you into a pretzel. Unlike its more intense cousins, Hatha Yoga is more concerned with specific postures and breath techniques, making it an ideal introduction for stiff bodies. With their focus on breath, posture and flow, these classes will give you a solid foundation in the ancient practice while increasing your flexibility one easy Sun Salutation at a time. Check it out: Rates are based on location and length of classes, but start at $72 per session in our area; visit or call (414) 708-5750.

2 Roll With It
You donít need suspenders, a flannel shirt and a burly beard to roll like a lumberjack at the log rolling class offered at City Beach through the Oconomowoc Parks, Recreation and Forestry Department. While youíre likely to get your feet ó and other parts of your body wet in the process, the twice a week sessions will improve your flexibility and balance in the process. Check it out: Two sessions are offered this summer through the department, cost is $15 for residents, $22.50 for non-residents for each session; call (262) 569-6864 for information and to register.

3 Feel Energy
If youíre less like the hare and more like the tortoise, the graceful and gentle power of tai chi might just be right for you. Millions of Chinese canít be wrong; when done regularly, this ancient Chinese discipline not only increases your flexibility, but also boosts concentration and relaxation while strengthening the immune system. Like yoga, once mastered, tai chi can become a daily, home practice. Check it out: Waukesha-based Enhancing Balance offers a variety of classes throughout the area and two styles of tai chi practice; or (262) 662-1060.

4 Soul Dance
One of the best ways to get up and get active is through dance, making Nia another option to consider for beginners. Nia works on a simple philosophy: If it feels good, keep doing it. If it doesnít, stop! Nia classes combine Eastern and Western movement with elements of the healing arts and the dance world, all choreographed to music. Check it out: Carol Dusold, a certified blue belt Nia instructor, offers classes on a punch-card basis on Monday and Wednesdays at the Delafield Fish Hatchery through the Hartland Recreation Program; call (262) 367-2714 for more information.

Agility Advanced

1 Defend and Dance
Combine the art of self-defense, the rhythm of dance and a rich history, and you have capoeira, the fast-paced African-Brazilian martial art. Though weíre thousands of miles from its origins in South America, this complex sport is available in our area. Try it, and youíll find that your flexibility, balance and self-confidence will soar; participation is about what you can do and contribute, not what you canít do. Check it out: Capoeira Batuque Milwaukee offers classes through the West Suburban YMCA in Wauwatosa as well as a special summer session along Milwaukeeís lakefront, too; log on to for more information.

2 Get Vertical
Climb rocks without ropes? Itís not crazy, itís bouldering, a style of rock climbing that emphasizes short climbs, flexibility and strategic moves over the endurance and height of traditional rock climbing. And in the relatively flat Midwest, bouldering is a more naturally available option. Check it out: Bouldering opportunities are available through the $12 day pass option at Adventure Rock Indoor Climbing Gym in Pewaukee; introductory rock climbing instruction and equipment/shoe rental are also available; call (262)790-6800 for more information.

3 Stretch, Flex and Flow
While some forms of yoga emphasize holding postures, vinyasa yoga is about movement, specifically the flow from one posture to another in conjunction with the breath. Along with traditional yogaís many benefits, vinyasa yoga increases muscular strength and tone as well as flexibility, not to mention concentration, as you follow along with your classmates. Check it out: Haleybird Studios of Wauwatosa offers a variety of classes throughout the summer; call (414) 777-0108 or log on to for a schedule.

4 Twinkle Toes
Dancing isnít just something to watch celebrities do on television. In fact, the quickest way to increase your flexibility is to turn that television off and turn on to a local dance studio for your own dance lessons. As a sport, social dancing offers a myriad of health benefits beyond increased flexibility, from strengthening your bones and muscles to providing a cardio workout. Check it out: New Berlinís Casa di Danza offers private, semi-private and group instruction in ballroom, Latin and nightclub-style dancing; call (262) 446-7000 or log on to