How do Macon Residents Stay Fit?


MACON, Ga. — Fitness is an important aspect of everyday life, and members of our community wanted to know: how do the residents of Macon like to stay fit?

Macon-Bibb County ranks 146 out of 159 counties in Georgia based on health status, according to

Various programs are offered in Macon’s Tattnall Square Park to help keep residents fit.

Charise Stephens, founder of the Middle Georgia Wellness and Fitness Festival, said she believes in bringing awareness to health in Middle Georgia.

“We have free yoga at the park,” Stephens said. “They are the most consistent group, they get out at 9 am and have their yoga.”

Yoga in the Park is sponsored by Hometown Yoga of Macon. The class is held every Saturday morning in the park, warm weather permitting.

“I think it’s good because people of all ages can practice, and all body types,” coordinator Gwen Wilson said. “It’s a very good opportunity for the people of Macon.”

However, the fitness community of Macon understands that yoga isn’t ideal for everyone — especially for parents with young children, which is why several walking groups exist.

“We have one (walking group) called iStroll,” Stephens said. It’s moms with their kids in their strollers and they are a support system to each other.”

Started in the summer of 2016, iStroll is a fitness class designed specifically for new parents. Classes are offered several times a week in Tattnall Square Park and Amerson River Park, and the first class is free for newcomers.

Yoga in the Park and iStroll aren’t the only options offered in Tattnall Square Park.

“The world is available for a walk almost any time,” Wilson said. “There are also zumba classes here, and soccer games being held.”

Stephens created the festival in 2012 to bring awareness to fitness in the area, while providing events for people of the community to participate in.

“We are a city in the park,” she said. “Our parks should be filled on a daily basis, but because our people are so unhealthy sometimes, they are not out enjoying what all this beautiful city has to offer them.”

Stephens thinks a factor in Macon’s low health rates is poor food choices.

“60 percent of our restaurants are fast food,” she said. “Food is a major component of why we have so many people on dialysis, and with diabetes and heart disease.”

Overall, Stephens thinks a healthy community is a happy one, and encourages those wanting to get involved to start out slowly.

“Health and wellness is something that affects everyone. As a community, we would all be better served if everyone was a little more active,” she said. “Take simple steps to make a big difference.”