One of the cornerstone program initiatives identified for the LOOP early on was fitness. With our near 250 average days of sunshine a year, coupled with Mother Natures’ refreshing ocean breezes and her widely recognized beneficial boost of Vitamin D, working out outdoors has long been a favorite activity of Fort Lauderdale’s locals and visitors. However, coming out of the height of the pandemic, and as more fitness professionals moved their personal training and small group workouts into parks and the beaches, the opportunity to expand the City of Fort Lauderdale Parks & Recreation’s fitness programs and coordinate individual efforts revealed itself.
Following two-months of interviewing local fitness instructors and forming a partnership with one of South Florida’s leading Health and Wellness nonprofits, FLIPANY, the new Fort Lauderdale LO/OP FIT initiative was launched.
“Creating new healthy habits is what FLIPANY does, and not just physical, but mental health as well,” stated Lynne Kunins, President and CEO of the Fort Lauderdale-based nonprofit. “By partnering with LO/OP FIT, and in turn reaching out to engage our own sponsors’, we can collectively present a variety of programs where the public can meet, engage, feel safe and find new ways to get out and get moving.”
Some of the initial supporters FLIPANY “looped in” to the LO/OP FIT program include American Express, Target, and Ocean Spray. Through their funding support, programming will nearly double in March with a dozen opportunities to participate in free and low-cost weekly classes.
EVERYONE UNDER THE SUN
Whether your interests range from low-impact yoga to high-intensity training, learning new movement and breathwork methods, or even the desire to add a social component to your walking routine, LO/OP FIT provides infinite fitness experiences for everyone under the sun.
Geared towards children to active seniors and everyone in between, the classes are led by licensed and insured fitness professionals selected based on their individual areas of expertise. Participants will find it easy to stay motivated. Each possesses a contagious enthusiasm, desire to meet your goals, and believe in our value statement one can Live Optimal / Own Possible when your mind, body, and spirit lift.
Anchoring the new fitness class schedule at Las Olas Oceanside Park is the popular Saturday morning Yoga on the Lawn led by Lisa Pumper. Hosted in conjunction with the weekly Farmer’s Market, upwards of 60 people a week participate in the fusion-based flow class that takes a casual approach to postures and movements set to cool beats. Pumper also leads the Sunset Salutations class held monthly in conjunction with the New Moon.
“As a yoga educator, Yoga community leader, and Fort Lauderdale resident, I am honored to be part of the LOOP team and to share the teachings of mindful living in a way that speaks to everyone,” noted Pumper. “ Life is meant to live WELL. And we are blessed to live in a beautiful town and have our wonderful Loop to support us all.”
Starting early March, three new free-to-the-public, multi-week clinics and classes will commence at the corner of Las Olas & A1A, fueled by FLIPANY and sponsored by Target & Ocean Spray.
Varied for a variety of fitness levels, In M-Ocean is a 12-week, 45-minute PL-YO class presented by Ocean Spray and led by Brooke Thomas every Monday at 6 pm, from March 8 – May 24. The high-intensity class aims to help you shake off your Monday with a full-body workout focusing on different muscle groups through squats, lunges, planks, and plenty of fun, dynamic movements.
Reaching youth ages 4-16, FLIPANY and TARGET team up every Friday to host the CATCH Kids Club. Taking place Friday’s from 4:30 – 6:30pm, before Friday Night Sound Waves, the CATCH Kids Club, powered by TARGET, will provide children the knowledge and skills to make healthy food choices and be physically active—in a format that is fun, safe, inclusive, and engaging.
Endorsed by the National Institute for Out of School Time – Physical Activity/ Nutrition Programs and the National Institute of Health, We Can initiative, the two-hour experience is developed from the evidence-based, national Coordinated Approach to Child Health (CATCH) model.
“With support from Target, our goal is to become an important part in delivering a coordinated message to children about the importance of physical activity and nutrition to support youth and an overall healthy lifestyle,” added Kunins.
Following the class, children and parents are invited to stay and enjoy the free and family-friendly Friday Night Sound Waves concerts and enjoy healthy drinks and snacks, courtesy of Ocean Spray.
On the opposite end of the intensity spectrum is Walking on Sunshine, an 8-week Tuesday morning walking group, March 9 – April 27. Led by Breathwork Guide and Vinyasa Yoga Instructor Arkell Mokler, the limited attendance class will start off with guided breathing exercises at Oceanside Park before embarking on a 30-minute walking route paced in intervals to elevate your heart rate and increase cardiovascular endurance. The session ends with a light stretch to reduce muscle tightness and prevent injury. Participants will also be encouraged to track steps throughout the week, set weekly step goals, and socialize afterward over coffee or breakfast at local participating restaurants.
“I am elated to be a part of the LOOP Fit program and bring the community together both through the Walking Group on Tuesdays and my Foundational Flow Class every Friday at 5:30 pm,” affirmed Arkell Mokler. “Both experiences are different, but contain a number of the same principles, of learning how breathwork, mindful movement and alignment can help one live their most optimal lives.”
Additional weekly classes on the rooftop space include Kettle Bell at Sunrise with Becky Ascione on Wednesday and Friday at 6:00am, Animal Flow Sunday morning at 8:30 am. A Functional Flow class follows at 10:15 am led by Shay Palmer. Palmer also hosts a Tuesday evening Slow Flow at 6:30 pm, rooted in vinyasa, but at a slower tempo, to reset and unwind. And for those looking to kick things up a notch, or ten, The Yard FTL offers two weekly H.I.I.T. classes on the scenic terrace, which include a cardio-influenced, upper/lower body Buns & Guns class every Wednesday at 5:30 pm and a fun, fierce, and quick-paced Wake & Shake class at 9:45 am every Saturday.
“I can’t begin to tell you how excited Kaylei and I are to be part of a program that’s committed to Health and Wellness for Fort Lauderdale,” stated Sharon Reid, NASM, CPT, and Founder of The Yard FTL. “When we started our outdoor group classes, we really wanted to create a women’s only workout group, where Mom’s, Professionals, Students or Friends could let loose, have fun, dance, laugh, and meet like-minded women in their community.”
At the time of print, details are being finalized to start registration for the Express Yourself Pass. Sponsored by American Express, pass holders may select one of four individual classes each month to try a class, find one that feels right, and incorporate it into their routine.