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New wellness center now open in Carlton

Thanks to a grant through the Minnesota Department of Human Services, the Carlton Wellness Center is up and running in Carlton. The total project cost about $1 million and resulted from a "Live Well at Home" grant in the amount of $484,860.

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Thanks to a grant through the Minnesota Department of Human Services, the Carlton Wellness Center is up and running in Carlton. The total project cost about $1 million and resulted from a “Live Well at Home” grant in the amount of $484,860.

Work on the building began in April, with equipment delivered in September.

“Our office was already in Carlton, so when it became possible for us to purchase our building and build the center there, it was a win-win situation for us,” said Jill Hatfield, executive director of Volunteer Services of Carlton County and Carlton Wellness Center. “Carlton does not currently have a fitness facility, so we felt it would be a great asset for people from Carlton and Wrenshall and other outlying rural areas. Our members also include people who work for Carlton County (courthouse, jail and transportation building) and people who work at the area schools.”

The center had a soft opening in the fall, which allowed people to come in and try some of the equipment. The target market for the wellness center is people who may not feel comfortable or motivated to work out, but realize they need to versus more fitness-oriented people who probably already have a membership to one of the many fitness centers/gyms in the area.

Hatfield estimates about 200 people expressed interest in purchasing a membership to the new center.

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She is excited about the software, Wellbeats, which offers a personalized approach to group fitness, “giving people the right program variety and tools they need to reach their goals, regardless of their schedule, fitness ability or workout preferences,” according to the Wellbeats website. The program offers a variety of workout activities from basics for newcomers to metabolic conditioning for athletes that can be done alone or in a class setting.

Once a person is a member, he or she can access the program app in the gym where the workout is shown on a large TV screen mounted on the wall. Just like TV shows, the individual or class follows along.

“When the room is not being used, people can come in and use it [for other things],” said Hatfield.

There are classes for relaxation such as yoga or desk exercises, classes for children and classes for senior citizens.

Wellbeats can also be accessed by a laptop computer and used anywhere by a member.

“It can be whatever you want it to be,” Hatfield said. Because of back issues, Hatfield said she prefers the “silver and fit” classes.

Hatfield feels the prices are reasonable at $60 per month for a family pass and would like to see families get fit together also. All family members must live at the same address and be 20 years old or less. A single membership is $40 per month, single plus one is $50 per month and a day pass is $7 per day.

“As far as I know, we are the only place that allows a kid 12-16 years old work out with a parent, “ Hatfield said. “We have the incredible opportunity to get staff and volunteers trained to teach falls prevention and disease management education courses for free, through our partnership with the Arrowhead Area Agency on Aging. The use of volunteers to teach these classes allows us to provide the classes for free or for a very small fee for their class manual.”

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Employee Sandy Hagenah said she enjoys working out on the Expresso Bike, which is an interactive virtual reality bike.

“I love this,” Hagenah exclaimed enthusiastically. “I can race people anywhere and I am the leader of this building!”

The bike allows people to virtually race each other, even if they are across the country. They can also compete against their own past performances.

There are programs available at the wellness center that promote working with a buddy or one that helps teach people how to shop more healthily for groceries as well as stay active and fitness basics.

“We integrate total body wellness,” Hatfield said.

The Carlton Wellness Center is located at 199 Chestnut Avenue in Carlton. Hours are 5 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through 6 a.m. to noon Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Call 218-384-1115 for more information.

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