Latin music blared from speakers at the main entrance of the Marine Corps Exchange. Customers jumped into the fitness class to follow salsa, samba, merengue, and belly-dancing choreography in a high-energy Zumba class.
Patrons were able to do more than shop last week at the MCX aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune. With kickboxing, Zumba classes and masseuses throughout the exchange patrons found opportunities to take care of their bodies as well, during the Health and Fitness Week held May 21 through 25.
Health and Fitness Week was part of a Marine Corps-wide promotion called Healthy Living that promoted healthy eating, hydration, exercises, sleeping and changes, such as smoking cessation.
While many exchanges held demonstrations or classes, MCB Camp Lejeune took extra steps to ensure that every section of the MCX and members of the Camp Lejeune community were included in the event.
“We love a good event here,” said Catherine Bruggeman, the main store manager of the MCX. “Because of our great relationship with other divisions we wanted to grab every division that has anything to do with health and fitness, bring them all together and give them a venue so that they can present what they do.”
Representatives from Semper Fit, Resilience Education, Naval Hospital Camp Lejeune, along with vendors who work with the MCX came to show patrons a number of ways to get healthy.
“People know the products we have in the store, but when we highlight them they realize this can be a one stop shop for their health and fitness as well,” said Bruggeman.
The store displayed various options to a fit and healthy life. Their demonstrations ranged from products like juicers, blenders and grills which taught patrons how the products can be used to create alternatives to processed and fast food.
The Lawn and Garden area even had a section devoted to organic gardening and alternatives to pesticide.
“Healthy living goes a lot farther than exercise,” said Bruggeman. “That’s a big part of it, but all of the other aspects of healthy living can be found within the store and (within the MCB Camp Lejeune community).”
Vendors jumped at the opportunity, sampling their fares and holding giveaways.
“We have lots and lots of foot traffic, and we’re not just about selling,” said Bruggeman. “We are about getting the word out. This is a community store so we want everyone to remember whenever there’s anything affecting the Marines or their families we want to give them the venue to bring it here so families can come to one location and find anything they need.”
Classes about stress management, hurricane preparedness, physical activity and sun safety were held throughout the week, and many tables held presentations on various topics and included pamphlets for patrons.
“Not only are people shopping, but they’ve gotten a lot of pamphlets,” said Bruggeman. “I used to be with family team building so I know how important it is to give people classes on stress relief. I have children of my own in the military and my husband was military along with my father. I know how stressful life can be, and I want to make sure resources are available to families. I love seeing people picking up the information and I hope they sign up for the classes.”
Personal trainers were at the MCX and Semper Fit held Zumba and kick-boxing classes along with a pilates and ballet class.
“The Semper Fit people are unbelievable,” said Bruggeman. “Having them in the store was amazing.”
Through the classes and giveaways the MCX hopes give people a taste of all the help they can receive on their path to health and fitness.
“There are more resources on this base than people know,” said Bruggeman. “They know they can come here to shop, but I want them to know about the other resources in the base that helps take care of them and their families.”
Due to the success of the event, there is another scheduled for the fall.
For more information about the MCX visit mccslejeune.com/mcx.