For Linda Brooks, fitness is a passion

January 04, 2007|by JANET HEIM

Editor's note - There are a lot of people you see around town that you recognize, but don't know anything about. People like...

Linda Brooks

Age - 46.

Occupation - Loan processor at Wells Fargo in Frederick, Md.

Hometown - Hagerstown.

Where would you see Brooks? - It's that time of year when the resolve to get in shape is strong after the holidays. For Linda Brooks, exercising is a year 'round part of her routine.

In the colder months, Brooks works out on her home exercise equipment or at the Hagerstown YMCA. From April to October, Brooks will be regular at Fairgrounds Park.


She'll join the more than 60 participants, ages 15 to 77, in the health and fitness walking program she started called Activities for Life. The program started with 35 the first year and has grown mainly through word-of-mouth, Brooks said.

"This is my passion," Brooks said. "I like motivating people."

Brooks, a 1979 North Hagers-town High School graduate, started the walking program in 2005. The group meets at 6 p.m. Sunday, Monday, Tuesday and Thursday, the days Brooks calls the "committed days."

Only a church meeting, work or family commitment are valid reasons for missing. The sessions begin with weigh-ins, followed by walking or running the loop. Participants are encouraged to exercise at their own pace and on their own the other days.

Brooks provides monthly incentives, some paid for with her own money, to those who walk on all the mandatory days. Zion Baptist Church, Washington County Hospital and the American Heart Association are sponsors of her program, providing meeting space, brochures and promotional items for incentives.

"It's not always about weight. It's about how you feel, being committed," Brooks said.

Brooks started exercising to maintain her weight, motivated by the modeling she does in community and church fashion shows and pageants. Living in a third-floor apartment on Jefferson Boulevard also helps keep her fit.

Participants in her program report weight loss or maintenance, better sleep and some have improved their health so they don't need blood pressure medication.

Brooks' program also includes health screenings, done in conjunction with Washington County Hospital, as well as speakers on a variety of health and wellness topics.

She is on a steering committee with the Washington County Hospital Education Center to develop a program targeting obesity in young African-American women. She also volunteers at the Hagerstown YMCA.

Brooks has big plans for 2007. One of her goals is to be trained as a fitness instructor and open her own public health and fitness center, with serving low-income families a priority.

She is working on the business plan and is seeking grants and donations for the startup of her fitness center. For more information on Activities for Life, call Brooks at 301-797-4310.

Hobbies - "Exercise is the main thing," said Brooks, who is single. She said she loves to play tennis and enjoys doing things with her nieces and nephews.

What does Brooks like best about Washington County? - "I love being here," said the Hagerstown native. She said she had considered moving, but can't deal with the traffic in bigger cities.

If you know anyone in the community who might make an interesting Our Town feature, contact Janet Heim at 301-733-5131, ext. 2024 or e-mail

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