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Fitness center focuses on families

Imani Stewart, 9, and her mother Aletra Stewart, talk during their workout in the Freedom Hall Fitness Center’s Parent Youth Fitness Area, Oct. 28, 2015, on F.E. Warren Air Force Base, Wyo. Both parent and child must participate in a brief training session to use the equipment. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Malcolm Mayfield)

Imani Stewart, 9, and her mother Aletra Stewart, talk during their workout in the Freedom Hall Fitness Center’s Parent Youth Fitness Area, Oct. 28, 2015, on F.E. Warren Air Force Base, Wyo. Both parent and child must participate in a brief training session to use the equipment. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Malcolm Mayfield)

Imani Stewart, 9, runs on a treadmill next to her brother and mother during their workout in the Freedom Hall Fitness Center’s Parent Youth Fitness Area, Oct. 28, 2015, on F.E. Warren Air Force Base, Wyo. Children, ages 6 through 12, have access to the exercise equipment alongside their parents. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Malcolm Mayfield)

Imani Stewart, 9, runs on a treadmill next to her brother and mother during their workout in the Freedom Hall Fitness Center’s Parent Youth Fitness Area, Oct. 28, 2015, on F.E. Warren Air Force Base, Wyo. Children, ages 6 through 12, have access to the exercise equipment alongside their parents. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Malcolm Mayfield)

Patrons use the Parent Youth Fitness Area, Oct. 28, 2015, in Freedom Hall Fitness Center on F.E. Warren Air Force Base, Wyo. The fitness center recently opened the new area following the eight-month long project to give Airmen and their families more options for exercising. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Malcolm Mayfield)

Patrons use the Parent Youth Fitness Area, Oct. 28, 2015, in Freedom Hall Fitness Center on F.E. Warren Air Force Base, Wyo. The fitness center recently opened the new area following the eight-month long project to give Airmen and their families more options for exercising. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Malcolm Mayfield)

F.E. WARREN AIR FORCE BASE, Wyo. -- To ensure Airmen have the ability to keep themselves fit, Freedom Hall offers a variety of programs, the newest in the set is the Parent Youth Fitness Area.

The fitness center opened the new fitness area in October and it is open to everyone with fitness center access.

"We are improving the quality of life for Airmen by allowing them to have their families with them," said Andrea Bauer, Fitness Center director. "When our new Air Force Instruction came out, it gave us this new option as a solution for the age gap issue."

"We have two areas now; the Parent Child Fitness Area, and the Parent Youth Fitness Area," said Tech. Sgt. Fredrick Stewart, Fitness Operations manager. "This isn't meant to be a day care. This is to encourage the family to exercise as a unit."

The child fitness area is meant for children 5 years old or younger, while the youth fitness area allows children between the ages 6 and 12 to have access to exercise equipment to use alongside their parents. Children must be accompanied by an adult in both areas.

Children 13 or older are able to use the main facility, if accompanied by an adult.

"My kids love it," Stewart said. "If my wife and I decide to come to [the fitness center] together, my two little ones aren't forced to sit in the child area."

The parent youth fitness center is located inside of the basketball courts and offers an array of equipment for both parent and youth to use including treadmills, stationary bikes and kinesthetic machines.

A brief training session is required of anyone using the equipment, parent and youth, ensuring everyone in the area knows how to safely operate the equipment designed for adult and the scaled down versions for children.

"When we look at opening up any of our equipment to folks who are under age, safety is always the main concern," Stewart said. "The last thing we want is for a child to get hurt."

Once the training session is complete the only requirement is that parents signing in and out, said Staff Sgt. Natasha Wilcox, Fitness Center events coordinator.

"The parents are responsible for their children while they are in the area," Wilcox said. "The procedures taught in the training are there for the child and parent's safety."

Families looking to use this area can walk into the fitness center and take the training anytime.

"Ultimately, we are here to help give folk options," Stewart said. "We know that not every person is going to use this."

The center is always adapting and finding more options to provide for Airmen along with their dependents.

"We were looking for ways to include the family more and enhance their fitness opportunities," Bauer said. "Offering options for members to be able to include their families is important."