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New Ways to Wellness Center opens at Woodwinds

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There is a way to wellness in Woodbury, and it's bigger than ever before.

A ten-year program of HealthEast, the Ways to Wellness program now has its own facility on the Woodwinds Health Campus. It's been open for a couple of weeks, but staff there are gearing up for an official grand opening next week.

Ways to Wellness was a concept born of now-Director of Health and Wellness Brenda Navin. A decade ago — a time when the idea of "wellness" was just starting to emerge and become defined — Navin came up with a concept to help people live a healthier lifestyle. And while the concept was good, initially, space was limited.

"We actually started in a closet here," Navin said. "Now we have this beautiful, state-of-the-art facility that is about 9,000 square feet."

Locally, Navin has helped form what Woodbury knows as "wellness." While many people know and understand that living a healthy lifestyle calls for a healthy diet or maintaining physical fitness, Navin found that being well was so much more.

The goal, she said, is to help people live a healthier lifestyle, overall. That means helping people look beyond nutrition and fitness, to everything from mental health and sleep to managing stress and finding peace of mind.

Finding that whole sense of wellness comes through different avenues — avenues that were not necessarily available at first when Ways to Wellness opened 10 years ago, but that have become available over time.

Navin has paid special attention to the trends, the studies and the statistics related to wellness over the years. Her program reflects the changing needs of clients, and the changes in best practices associated with helping clients reach a state of well being.

For instance, about four years ago, Navin found that mental health was very important for helping some clients. To meet their needs, Ways to Wellness brought in a health and wellness psychologist to provide coaching to those clients.

"A lot of times, the stress is the root cause of health issues. We're stressed out," Navin said. "We have to prioritize and think about what's important to us to manage that stress. We can help with that.

"A lot of tears are shed here, but it's good to get it out."

Part of running a wellness program is knowing what the current trends are in the field, and finding the staff to meet those needs. Right now, the trend is to focus on the mind-body-spirit connection, Navin said, and finding a place for meditation is important.

"Meditation quiets the mind," she said. "I think that trend is here to stay, and I think it's going to be really helpful for people."

New amenities

The new facility opens doors for the Ways to Wellness program to expand even more. Nutrition and fitness does play a role in helping clients, so the site now offers a training kitchen, a down-sized gym/physical therapy space, a studio for group fitness, and a pilates studio.

Ways to Wellness offers several cooking classes to help clients learn about nutrition, and how to cook meals that are healthy. It comes with two rows of seating and several cooking stations, so clients can learn cooking skills, and try new recipes. The recipes are developed by culinary advisor Jeremy Reinicke, whose specialty is creating what he calls, "delicious food that is good for you."

While a number of the Ways to Wellness clients are members at other gyms or health clubs in the community, many are not comfortable working out in a larger group setting. The new gym is helpful for those clients, because it offers strength and cardio equipment, but in a smaller, more intimate setting.

"We have a whole group of people who aren't members anywhere else and choose to come here because it's not intimidating," Navin said. "Here they feel like it doesn't matter what you look like, it doesn't matter what your size is."

Getting started

Navin knows that no two clients are ever going to be the same, nor are their needs going to be the same. That's why her staff does a free consultation with every new client who comes to Ways to Wellness.

The program offers personal training, nutrition consultations, chef consultations, health and wellness coaching, online fitness programs, pilates classes and group fitness classes. Additionally, there are services like metabolic calorie testing or body composition testing available.

New clients can pick and choose what programs they would like to work through. All of the offerings are listed on a community pricing and program guide provided by Ways to Wellness.

Often, Navin said, new clients come by way of referrals or through previous clients.

All of the staff at Ways to Wellness is licensed or certified in their specific field, and nearly all have some experience from working in a clinic or medical environment.

For more information about Ways to Wellness, visit, or call 651-232-1926. Or, stop by the grand opening event Thursday, April 14, from 5-7 p.m. Ways to Wellness is located at 1925 Woodwinds Dr., in Woodbury.

Michelle Leonard

Michelle Leonard joined the Woodbury Bulletin staff in November, 2014, after 14 years covering news for the Bulletin's sister publication, the Farmington Rosemount Independent Town Pages.  Michelle earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Mass Communications: News-Editorial from Mankato State University in 1991. She is an active member of the American Legion Auxiliary Clifford Larson Unit 189 of Farmington, and served as the 2014-15 Third District President to the American Legion Auxiliary Department of Minnesota. Michelle is also the volunteer coordinator for the Minnesota Newspaper Museum which is open annually during the Minnesota State Fair. She has earned Minnesota Newspaper Association awards in Investigative Reporting, Local News Coverage, Feature Photography and Column Writing. 

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