The Lord's workout: Vader church offers free exercise room

Stephen Floyd

The Lord's workout: Vader church offers free exercise room

Kevin Flynn (background) helps spot Bob Lee (foreground) during a shoulder exercise. Lee began using the facilities at the Assembly of God two months ago and said regular workouts help keep his blood sugar low and treat neuropathy in his legs.

Making the choice to exercise more (or at all) can be tough.

Whether you’re searching for a gym that meets your schedule and budget, or simply mustering the will to maintain a routine, the challenges of getting in shape can often kill any resolution to do so.

Aware of this, the Vader Assembly has been offering a free exercise room to the community with all the resources needed to become and remain physically fit.

Pastor Tracy Durham said the room was established around two years ago when a local resident approached him after surviving heart bypass surgery.

“The doctor told him he needed to walk so many miles per week, and he said it was a hardship to drive all the way down to Longview or all the way up to Chehalis,” said Durham. “He asked if the church would be interested in maybe putting something together for the community.”

Durham said the church had a storage room that would serve such a purpose, but no exercise machines to full it with. An all-call was sent to those who would be able to contribute to an exercise room and the church received an abundant response.

“People just started donating the equipment,” said Durham, who received everything from low-impact treadmills and exercise bikes to high-impact dumbbells and a weight machine.

The room is currently open during church business hours, Tuesday through Friday, 8 a.m. to noon, and regulars often show up in groups to spot and support each other. Durham said he and the church staff are also available for questions regarding equipment operation and for exercise tips, sharing about one woman he was able to personally help on the treadmill recover after a hip replacement.

He advised that those starting out should keep charts of how long they use a particular machine and for how many repetitions, stating they should begin slowly while working their way up to longer times and greater weights.

Durham said he hopes use of the exercise room will continue to expand, stating workouts may not feature Bible studies or worship but remain part of the church’s overall goal for the community.

“The mission of the church is to help people be healthy in lots of ways, including emotionally, spiritually and physically,” said Durham. “There’s no place in town people can go to, so we thought this was all part of reaching out to the community, and to give people opportunities for physical health.”

To find out when groups meet to exercise or what equipment is available, call the Vader Assembly of God at (360) 295-3756. Participants must be at least 18 and must sign a liability waiver to use the equipment. If persons or groups are interested using the room outside of regular office hours, they may call Durham to schedule an alternate time.