Mercy Health offers Stepping Out fitness program

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Kelley Frazier has been a Stepping Out instructor for five years. She teaches a variety of classes, including Zumba, strength training and senior exercise classes.

Participants tell Frazier better physical health isn’t the only benefit they get from the program.

“A lot of people come to me and tell me it’s more than physical for them; it’s like therapy,” she said. “I’ve seen people come out of their shell and reach their goals physically and even emotionally. It’s just wonderful to see how the programs and the classes impact people’s lives.”

Mercy Health Foundation Mahoning Valley provides the Stepping Out program, which features free fitness classes, health screenings and healthy eating classes.

The program started in 2009, and it originally was offered at three sites. Now, it’s offered at 13 sites in Youngstown, Campbell, Warren and Niles.

The program offers classes including Zumba, line dancing, aerobics, Strong30 (strength training) and tabata( high-intensity interval training). There are also chair aerobics classes for elderly people.

The health screenings include weight, waist, body fat and blood pressure checks. They are optional for people in the program.

Doris Bullock, project coordinator, said the program serves the need for fitness in an area in which many people can’t afford gym memberships.

“When we bring the programs to where they live, it’s a lot easier to participate,” she said.

The program is for people 18 and older.

Finances and lack of a workout partner are barriers for people who want to get fit, Frazier said, but with the program they can exercise for free and meet new people. Some of the people in her class have formed close friendships over the years.

“If you get to the class, I guarantee we can find workout partners for you, our group is so warm and inviting, and they just love on newcomers,” she said. They will hold you accountable to reach your goals, she added.

There is no pressure. People can work out at their own pace and modify the workout if it’s too difficult.

Frazier always welcomes new participants and is grateful for those who have attended classes for her entire tenure.

Anywhere between 30 to 60 people come to the classes, with Mondays being the busiest day.

“It’s such an awesome resource,” Frazier said.

She encourages more people to try it out. She especially hopes to bring in more men, and emphasized that classes such as Zumba, a dance-aerobic class, can be enjoyed by men and women.

To register or learn more, call Bullock at 330-720-3293 or email

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