Local exercise groups offer options for new year

Tonya Rodgers, contributor to The Twin-City News, and others take yoga classes at the Pleasant Grove Community Center near Lake Murray. (Submitted photo)


Well, 2019 is over and 2020 is upon us. So, what resolutions have you made?

Relax? Enjoy life? Eat healthier? Exercise more often? These are some of the common resolutions that we make in the new year – and most of us start off good, only to realize a few months into the new year that we have lost our motivation to make healthier changes in our lives.

This year could be different for you. There are several small exercises groups in the Batesburg-Leesville area that can make it easier to keep those resolutions all year long.

If you are interested in becoming more relaxed through breathing exercises, stretching, and getting in tune with yourself, a yoga class might be right for you.  I am a member of this yoga exercise group that is offered each Monday and Thursday night from 6:30-7:30 p.m. at Pleasant Grove Community Center.

This class was started in February 2017 by a group of local community members near the Lake Murray area who wanted to learn how to become more relaxed, while also becoming more flexible. Most of the time, we perform relaxation techniques, stretching, and balancing methods, but we do incorporate other exercises as well.
In the spring and fall, we enjoy holding class outside and often walk to enjoy the natural scenery. One class member takes line dancing classes, and occasionally she will teach us some line dancing techniques. We all work together in the class. It really is a group of friends getting together to get healthier and along the way, we enjoy sharing life experiences, laughing , and having a good time.

If you are interested, the group has a Facebook page, Pleasant Grove Yoga Group, or you may come join the class at Pleasant Grove Community Center, 3133 Prosperity Hwy., Leesville.


Saluda Women’s Boot Camp is another exercise group that might appeal to your lifestyle changes. It is held in Saluda on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays from 6:30-7:30 p.m.

This group was started in August 2017 and currently meets at the Saluda Elementary School Gym. This exercise group involves cardio-strength workouts. They use jumpropes, light dumbbells, stability balls, and incorporate Tabata at least once weekly.

Tabata is a cardiovascular exercise strategy that alternates short periods of intense exercise with periods of less intense exercise.  It is said to be one of the best exercises for losing weight.

Paige Sheppard, a local pharmacist in Saluda, is the leader of this group and enjoys giving back to the community.  “Helping with this exercise group is my gift to the community. We only ask that members come to class with an open mind and lots of motivation to get moving,“ she said.

You can find out more about this group on their Facebook page, Saluda Women’s Boot Camp.


If you enjoy line dancing or Zumba, then Lisa Peterson of Aiken teaches a class you may be want to join. Lisa offers classes at the Batesburg-Leesville Leisure Center on Tuesdays. Line dancing is from 6-7 p.m. and Zumba 7-8 p.m.

Lisa is a licensed Zumba instructor with many years of teaching experience.  She began teaching Zumba in Wagener in April 2013 and later branched out to the Batesburg area in 2014.

“I began taking Zumba classes at Gold’s Gym in Aiken several years ago and enjoyed it so much that I decided to get my license,” she said. “Why take classes when I could be teaching them?“

Lisa loves teaching and encourages anyone who wants to get healthier in the new year to come check out her classes. You can contact Lisa directly at 803-331-1938 or call the Batesburg-Leesville Leisure Center.


Finally, for those in the Ridge Spring-Monetta area, Marlene Sides will be starting an exercise class on Jan. 7 at the Art Association of Ridge Spring. Two classes will be held on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 4-5 p.m. and from 6-7 p.m.

These classes will focus on strengthening muscles, balance, seated exercises, and corrective exercises.  Marlene will be assessing each individual interested in the class for their particular needs. Marlene is certified with the NASM (National Association of Sports Medicine) and is a retired registered nurse.  “Years ago, I felt there was a strong need for an exercise program like this, so I opened a gym in Augusta which is where I was living at the time,” she said. “I grew up in Ridge Spring-Monetta. Then moved away and about three and a half years ago, my husband and I decided to move back to the area.”

Marlene hopes to help individuals regain their ability to enjoy life without restrictions. If you are interested in this class, please contact her at 706-829-4929, or contact the Art Association of Ridge Spring.

Story by Tonya Rodgers / Published January 2, 2020