Cottage Grove, Health & Wellness

Here’s to a happy – and healthier – new year!

COTTAGE GROVE – To rework an old phrase; “The road to health is paved with good intentions.” I imagine there is a four-letter word stuck in your mind right now and sorry for the cheap literary shot to hook you in, but now let’s set that hook!
This is the time when new year intentions and resolutions are thick in the air. It is almost universal to include health-and-fitness considerations in the mix, loose a few pounds, eat healthier, exercise more, or curb some unhealthy lifestyle choices.
If you are in that boat you might be contemplating joining a gym, buying some exercise equipment or clothing, or investing in a diet plan or products. I would like to share with you a locally available community health option that has grown organically right in Cottage Grove.
You may remember the Curves Gym on Main Street. At one point in its history, that building served as the A&W Root Beer Drive-in. Seems almost ironic that this former source of sugary drinks and calories galore would become a mecca for healthier living.
When Curves closed, an idea that had been forming in one resident’s mind started to become a reality.
Samantha Duncan, an ACE (the nationally recognized fitness trainer certification organization) certified Group Fitness Instructor and Youth Fitness specialist, had been trying to tie together a lot of loose health needs of Cottage Grove for several years.
Duncan, who had been working at a local franchised fitness gym, had been exposed to a number of clients who had been referred either by physical therapists or the “silver sneakers” benefit of their insurance plan.
Commercial gyms are geared toward people who more or less know what they are doing and just need a place and equipment to let it happen. For folks who got sent there later in life without much exercise history, it was a bit harrowing. The gym also lacked the social aspect and support of a group of like-minded people that would have made it a more welcoming experience.
Duncan also realized that the lack of child care was a hurdle for many.
For the past four years she has been a part of the Be Your Best Cottage Grove Coalition. This group of community members and organizations had gotten together as a result of the 2015 Lane County Health Needs Assessment. Many of our community nonprofits, such as Family Relief Nursery and South Lane Mental Health, as well as South Lane School District and governmental agencies from both Cottage Grove and Lane County came to the table to discuss the results.
The study pointed to a number of health-related issues that could use some work in South Lane County, many tied to economic origins. The list included food security, obesity, dental care, access to health care, and education. A Community Health Improvement Plan (CHIP) was developed to move public health forward.
Duncan, who has a masters in Library Sciences, has worked as a public librarian in Canada as well as curated the Robin Jaqua Archetypal Library in Eugene, repository of the famed Jungian Analyst’s materials. She also has had a life-long interest in health and fitness. But her focus now is more in preventative aspects of health.
Having sensed the need in Cottage Grove for serving those not being reached through either commercial facilities or the classes offered at the Community Center, she tried reaching out. Duncan approached her fitness employers about setting up some special classes. When they failed to show interest, her ideas and plans crystalized when the Curves Building became available in 2017. Since she knew the owner and the rent seemed reasonable, the Health Hub had an easy birth.
Dedicated to the notion of community recreation, Duncan soon realized that the Health Hub building wasn’t large enough for general sports. Instead she focused on offering small group classes to help fill the gap in extracurricular fitness and heath opportunities for kids and families. Classes at the Health Hub are designed to change and grow to reflect the needs and interests of the entire community, from babies to seniors.
At the Health Hub the goal is to have a fun, safe environment for the community to play, exercise, learn, and grow together. At the Hub the RESPECT model is promoted. This acronym stands for: Respect, Empathy, Self-Discipline, Participation, Enthusiasm, Cooperation, and Trust. All of this positivity is aimed squarely at building community wellness.
As she described the breadth of classes offered at the Health Hub, Duncan really emphasized the warmth and quality of the instructors who have joined her at center. She related how yoga instructors Marsha and Marie have decades of experience and formal training in different yoga and yogilates styles. Nathan, who provides Tai Chi and Capoeira instruction, is extremely accomplished in his arts. Vanessa, The Little Movers instructor has a formal dance education.
A look over the weekly calendar makes you realize what an asset the Health Hub is for community the size of Cottage Grove. It is extremely unusual for you to be able to find the variety and quality of classes such as belly dancing, tumbling classes for the young ones, cardio kickboxing, barre fusion, restorative yoga, bones & balance, adult ballet, basic stretch, and more. You will have to check it yourself to see all the offerings.
One new class that will be coming soon sounds very exciting, called OULA, it is like aerobic, ecstatic dancing. While your body is getting a workout, so is your soul. Emotions often flow freely as the bodies, and while there is a basic choreography, participants are free to veer off script as mood takes them.
Classes are currently offered at a drop in price of $7 or you can join the Health Hub at a very reasonable individual or family monthlyfee and have access to all classes.
Samantha Duncan described another integrated health approach. A twelve week fitness challenge. The current one is due to wind up mid-January. It is a no-guilt, all positive approach to making yourself feel better physically and feeling better about yourself. Since we all have to exist in our bodies instead of outside them, the groups intent is about paying attention to their bodies. Nutrition is a big part of the class, learning what works best for their digestion and general health and making good choices. With all the external stress of life, getting healthy shouldn’t be adding to that with rigid regimes, strict diets, or impossible workout schedules. Duncan’s more holistic philosophy includes some education, 3 days of workouts, monitoring progress, making good choices, and feedback. Participants point to positive changes such as feeling much better, lost inches, and increase in happiness. If this sounds like something you would like to challenge yourself to, the next one begins mid-March.
As you savor the holidays and perhaps ruefully consider some over indulgences, maybe you will also consider your path forward to a healthier, happier 2020. If the Health Hub sounds like it may be an asset to your plan check their website, or drop by and take a peek 1133 East Main Street, 541-915-6349. Being happier in a healthier body for the New Year sounds like a plan that I can live with, hope you do too, Happy 2020, and hope you didn’t forget the black-eyed peas!

Contact Dana Merryday at [email protected].



View this profile on Instagram


The Chronicle (@thechronicle1909) • Instagram photos and videos