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Join Small Group Training Now at a Prorated Price

It’s not too late to join the current cycle of Small Group Training – CHF’s most popular and effective new form of group personal training. Sign-up today at a prorated price – only $16.50 per hour!

With a variety of times, dates and levels to choose from, you can easily select a track that will challenge you physically and ultimately improve your overall health. Past Small Group Training participants have reported impressive health gains, including weight-loss, recovery from nagging injuries, increased balance and mobility and much more.

For only $16.50 per session, you get expert guidance from a personal trainer, pre- and post-fitness assessments as well as access to specialty equipment, including:

  • TRX Bands
  • Battle Ropes
  • Kettle Bells
  • Slam and Medicine Balls
  • Stability Balls
  • Foam Rollers

New to fitness? Not a problem – CHF is now offering Small Group Training tracks exclusively for first-time participants.

Ask about available Small Group Training tracks today by calling (310) 374-3426, ext. 147, or visit the CHF front desk.

Free Zumba Moves to RUHS

Free “Zumba in the Park” is shimmying its way over to the campus of Redondo Union High School (RUHS) as part of Beach Cities Health District’s (BCHD) annual Summer Free Fitness Series – held Mondays at 6:30 p.m., August 1st–15th.

The free Zumba events will be held on the football field at RUHS and are specially designed to allow all members of the public, regardless of age or ability, to participate. There are even special songs and dances included just for the kids – so be sure to invite your friends and family!

Zumba – a fusion of low-impact Latin dance moves, upbeat music and calorie-burning aerobic movement – is led and choreographed each week by certified exercise instructors from BCHD’s Center for Health & Fitness. Since the fitness series’ inception in 2012, more than 13,000 participated in BCHD’s free offerings of Yoga on the Beach, Boot Camp and the ever-popular Zumba in the Park.

“We created the Summer Free Fitness Series to unite the community around physical activity in a fun, low-pressure environment that promotes health,” said Susan Burden, Beach Cities Health District CEO. “And from the beginning, the response has been tremendous, with crowds of 350 to 400 people showing up on a regular basis to break a sweat, have a lot of fun and create meaningful connections with fellow community members. This is a special event that I encourage everyone in the Beach Cities to experience for themselves.”

Though free of charge, registration is required to participate. Participants can avoid the lines by pre-registering online at

Zumba in the Park

Mondays at 6:30 p.m., Aug. 1, 8, 15

Redondo Union High School (football stadium)

Register at

Free Fitness Runs All Summer Long

Hundreds continue to turn out every Monday night for Beach Cities Health District’s annual Summer Free Fitness Series.

Monday, July 27 is your last chance to enjoy free Yoga on the Beach in Manhattan Beach (south of Pier) before the heart-pounding fitness series transitions to Zumba starting July 11 at Lincoln Elementary School in North Redondo Beach.

The Summer Free Fitness Series, held each Monday evening at 6:30 p.m., includes four weeks of Yoga on the Beach and six weeks of outdoor Zumba through August 15. The series is specially designed to accommodate all ages and fitness levels so be sure to invite your friends and family!

For the complete schedule and detailed event information, visit

Member Highlight: Alexander Burishkin & Lynne Santini

Husband and wife Alexander Burishkin and Lynne Santini didn’t always see eye to eye when it came time to improve their health and lose weight, however, they easily agree about what veered them off track.

“Oh, it’s his fault,” laughs Lynne, jokingly referring to her husband of five years. “He cooks really well, and I love eating the meals he makes.”

“Yep, and I enjoy cooking,” Alexander sheepishly chuckles. “Safe to say we had to make a few lifestyle changes.”

The wheels of healthy change were first set into motion in February 2014 when Lynne made the decision to join Weight Watchers. At the time, she was nearly 100 pounds overweight and living a “very lazy life.”

“Weight Watchers was really great because it’s a straight-forward program that can easily be modified,” says Lynne. “I was able to select bits and pieces of the program that fit my personality and that made it much more effective, in my opinion.”

Most importantly, the program provided Lynne with a clear set of nutritional dos and don’ts to help spur Alexander to modify his deliciously decadent – but admittedly unhealthy – cooking style. And true to character, he embraced Lynne’s new diet.

“Although I wasn’t completely onboard personally with health and fitness yet, I saw how important it was to her,” says Alexander. “So I started using more whole foods and ingredients and changed the way I cook to fit her program. I always support her health goals – she’s inspiring.”

After four successful months on Weight Watchers, Lynne decided it was time to put her membership at the Center for Health & Fitness to use and enrolled in the maiden cycle of Small Group Training, an eight-week group exercise program CHF was debuting in June 2014.

Though admittedly difficult at first, Lynne persisted and quickly grew to relish the reps, sweat and motivational instruction from class trainer Aidan Acuff. Each time an eight-week cycle – which includes a combination of free weights, resistance training and cardio – would conclude, Lynne eagerly re-upped for another. Before long, her excess weight began to melt off and Alexander’s interest in exercise started heating up.

“I noticed how much weight she was losing and how much happier she was with herself, and it motivated me,” he says. “Plus I’d just hit my heaviest weight in years (255) and those two things were the wakeup call I needed.”

Following his wife’s lead, Alexander joined Small Group Training with Aidan in July 2015, though he opted for a different class on a different day. And much like his wife, save one week of illness, he hasn’t missed a cycle or class since.

“What I like about Small Group Training is you can workout at your own pace,” says Alexander. “You do as much as you can every day and compete against yourself – nobody else. And Aidan is great at keeping you focused only on the reps and exercise at hand.”

No surprise: coupling proper nutrition with consistent exercise has paid off for the husband-wife tandem. To date, Lynne has shed nearly 100 pounds, and Alexander has dropped 25 while simultaneously packing on muscle and increasing his stamina. Most importantly, their benefits don’t stop at physical gains – the pair report their relationship has been enriched as well.

Prior to losing weight, the couple – who share a passion for adventure and travel – would carefully plan and evaluate their outings to include activities that they could “comfortably complete,” according to Lynne. But now with fewer physical limitations holding them back, she says they’ve adopted a “go-for-it attitude.”

“It’s so freeing to be able to say, ‘sure let’s give that a try!’ or ‘yes, let’s go there and explore all day,’” says Lynne. “We even put in at least four miles of walking last weekend to and from the Hermosa Fiesta because we parked so far away ... didn't even give a second thought to do so. It's hard for me to not pack every weekend with fun activities now that I feel so good!

“And we certainly want to continue with our good health in mind -- maintaining our weight, working out to be in the very best physical condition and remembering to take it one day at a time -- it's a journey, not a race, and we want our journey to continue for a long, long while!”

We Did It, Beach Cities!

Beach Cities Earn Blue Zones Community Certification

Thank you for being part of our Blue Zones Project® community well-being transformation in the Beach Cities!

Beach Cities Health DistrictHealthways, Inc. and Blue Zones, LLC, today announced the Beach Cities – Hermosa Beach, Manhattan Beach and Redondo Beach – have been named a nationally certified Blue Zones Community®. Since 2010, health-focused people like you helped us make the healthy choice the easy choice for residents through permanent changes to environment, policy and social networks.

The certification announcement comes on the heels of recently released Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index® data showing measurable declines in smoking, overweight and significant daily stress rates throughout the three cities from 2010 to 2015. Collectively, the Beach Cities earned a 2015 Well-Being Index score of 65.9, ranking us among the elite well-being communities in the U.S.


Blue Zones Community® – Certification Celebration


Date: Tuesday, May 10
Time: 5 p.m.
Location: Mediterraneo, a Blue Zones Restaurant®
73 Pier Ave.
Hermosa Beach, CA 90254

View our Facebook gallery of Blue Zones Project in the Beach Cities, or read the full press release here.

Health Heroes Celebrated at 2016 Spirit of Wellness

Dash Michaels, John Niehaus, Laura Ruiz and Paul Senior were honored for overcoming health challenges through health and fitness

The 2016 Spirit of Wellness began with friendly conversations and laughter among friends and was punctuated by four gripping stories of trials, tribulations and triumph, rousing roaring applause and tears of joy from the more than 150 in attendance.

John Niehaus, Paul Senior, Dash Michaels and Laura Ruiz, who capped the evening by delivering a stirring impromptu speech about her successful battle with breast cancer, were each spotlighted for tackling seemingly insuperable challenges that included morbid obesity, stair-climbing the World Trade Center, addiction and cancer. See their stories here.

The men and women of CHF’s 250 and 300 clubs, Blue Zones Project supporter Walt Dougher and CHF volunteer Stuart Joseph were also honored for their commitment to fitness, community and giving back.

See a complete photo recap of the 2016 Spirit of Wellness online here. Beach Cities Health District and CHF want to specially thank everyone who attended and helped make this inspiring community event a success.

Free Mindfulness Workshop, April 2

Do you ever feel distracted from the present moment, either reliving the past or thinking about the future? Beach Cities Health District wants to connect you to resources and time-tested techniques to help relieve daily stress, anxiety and distractions at its upcoming free mindfulness workshop in Manhattan Beach.

The community workshop will be held at American Martyrs (O’Donnell Hall) on Saturday, April 2 from 9 a.m. to noon. Gloria Kamler, an expert from the UCLA Mindful Awareness Research Center, will lead the workshop/seminar (9:30-11:30 a.m.), which will be immediately followed by “mindful fitness” demonstrations from 11:30 a.m. to noon.

The workshop is completely free to attend, but advanced registration is required. Register at Onsite childcare (ages 3+) will be offered during the workshop by AdventurePlex — BCHD’s healthy play facility for a nominal fee ($25 first child, $15 for siblings).

For more information, contact Tiana Rideout, or 310-374-3426, ext. 139.

Living for Longevity

CHF member Carmen Sellers, 82, is an archetype for health, happiness and the life-extending benefits of Blue Zones Project’s ‘Power 9 Principles’

By Eric Garner, BCHD Senior Communications Specialist

If it were up to eleven-year-old “Hermosa,” every day would be a dog day afternoon spent basking in the sun and napping on the couch. But instead, three times a day, the aging “senior dog” is roused by a coaxing tug on her leash from owner Carmen Sellers, a sprightly 82-year-old with a perpetual gleam in her eye and pep in her step that belies her age.

“Our walks are more of meanders, strolls or lollygags, to be honest. Hermosa hates exercise, so I motivate her along,” laughs Carmen, a longtime Center for Health & Fitness (CHF) member and avid Blue Zones Project backer whose outspoken health advocacy is inspiring countless locals, aside from her impervious four-legged friend, to embrace a “Blue Zones lifestyle.”

The project’s local poster woman does far more, however, than simply expound healthy advice. She also exemplifies the nine lifestyle behaviors that New York Times bestselling author and National Geographic explorer and researcher Dan Buettner believes can crack the lock on longevity: Blue Zones Project’s “Power 9 Principles.” Carmen happened on Buettner’s community health improvement project four years ago and discovered she’d been, unwittingly, adhering to a “Blue Zones-style” of living for more than 30 years.

“The running joke is that I’m trying to live until I’m 105 and strapped into a wheelchair,” says Carmen with a chuckle. “But I’m after quality of life, not age. And that’s what attracted me to the Blue Zones Project.”

“Blue Zones” are the areas of the world with the highest rate of centenarians – Ikaria, Greece; Loma Linda, California; Nicoya, Cost Rica; Okinawa, Japan; and Sardinia, Italy. Buettner and his research team spent years in these longevity hotspots and observed nine shared behaviors exhibited by centenarians in each Blue Zone. Buettner’s research spawned the creation of Blue Zones Project, a national well-being improvement initiative designed to make healthy choices easier where people live, work, learn and play. Beach Cities Health District (BCHD), one of the largest preventive health agencies in the U.S., successfully launched Blue Zones Project in Hermosa Beach, Manhattan Beach and Redondo Beach in 2010.

The “Power 9”

1. Move Naturally

The world’s longest-lived people inhabit environments that constantly nudge them into moving without thinking about it, according to Buettner’s research.

It’s safe to say exercise also comes second-nature to Carmen, who enjoyed a successful Ultra Cycling career throughout her 50s and 60s, competing in a slew of local, state, regional, national and Senior Olympic events – highlighted by her record-breaking relay performance (65+ age category) in the grueling 3,000-mile Race Across America in 1999.

Today, long retired from racing, the ever-energetic senior bikes 50-75 miles every week; walks her dog for 45-50 minutes (three times daily); lifts weights and takes balance classes at CHF (three days a week); stretches and does calisthenics while watching TV; and seizes every opportunity to bend the ear of anyone in the market for healthy advice.

“When people mope or complain about their health, I tell them to start stretching and moving their bodies each morning, right when they wake up, and then keep moving,” Carmen says with chipper confidence. “Exercise is a natural way to rid aches and pains and create a healthy, happy state of mind. Trust me, it makes a world of difference.”

2. Know your Purpose

The Okinawans call it “ikigi” and the Nicoyans call it “plan de vida” – for both it translates to “why I wake up each morning,” according to Buettner’s research.

For Carmen, it simply translates to helping others.

During the past 25 years, she’s worked one day a week for the City of Redondo Beach, connecting isolated senior citizens to legal, health and social resources in the community. A self-admitted “social butterfly,” Carmen’s a known fixture at most older adult happenings in Redondo Beach, which range from line dances and bingo to yoga and Tai Chi. “It’s incredibly important for seniors to build a social life,” she says. “I love my dog and home, but it’s healthy to venture out and connect with people. I try to lead by example.”

Carmen also serves as an ambassador of sorts for Blue Zones Project, volunteering at a variety of local events, including 10k runs, free fitness initiatives and workshops. Prior to finding the project, she donated 20 years to Beach Cities Health District (BCHD), performing customer service work at its community gym and administering preventive health services to older adults in the community.

“Volunteering is just excellent,” says Carmen with youthful enthusiasm. “Helping those in need and serving your community gives your life purpose and meaning, but more importantly, it also gives purpose and meaning to those around you.”

3. Down Shift

Although everyone experiences stress, the world's longest-lived people have routines to shed that stress, according to Buettner’s research.

Unlike her furry housemate, down-shifting doesn’t come naturally to Carmen, whose thoughts, fittingly, have a tendency to race at breakneck speed.

So every Thursday morning, she squeezes her “mental brakes” through mindful meditation at Veterans Park in Redondo Beach. Under the instruction of mindfulness enthusiast and BCHD Social Worker Shiori Lange, she’s learned to use controlled breathing exercises and visualization techniques to quiet her thoughts and focus on the present moment.

Although admittedly tedious at times, Carmen emphatically points out the stress-relieving benefits are worth the effort. “I have a really chatty Kathy mind … and mouth,” she says. “I’m always on the go, so it’s very healthy for me to take the time to down-shift.”

4. 80% Rule, 5. Plant Slant

While most Blue Zones dwellers only consume small amounts of meat, all of them eat a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables and rarely eat to excess, according to Buettner’s research.

The mere mention of greasy, battered food provokes an audible gag from Carmen. Decades ago, the burgeoning cyclist eagerly swapped deep-fried eats and meat products, save an occasional piece of fish, for raw vegetables and plant-based proteins at the urging of her brother and former racing mentor. It began as a way to build lean muscle and cut fat, but soon developed into a lifestyle.

“I tell people all the time, ‘I don’t make myself eat this way – I like it,’” asserts Carmen. “I feel better and more energetic when I eat plant-based foods, and guilty and unnatural the few times I don’t. And you can forget about deep-fried junk, I won’t touch that.”

6. Wine @ Five

A glass or two of red wine, especially when combined with a plant-based meal, is a good idea for most people, according to Buettner’s research.

Red wine, specifically Cannonau wine from Sardinia, Italy, contains artery-scrubbing flavonoids and the powerful antioxidant polyphenol. Both nutrients are known to lower the risk of contracting certain diseases, including heart disease and some forms of cancer. Moreover, enjoying wine in moderation (1-2 glasses) while breaking bread with friends and family reduces stress, strengthens social connectivity and aids longevity, according to Buettner’s findings.

“I’m a big believer in wine,” says Carmen with a sheepish smirk. “I drink a half-glass each night while preparing dinner and an additional half-glass with my meal. And I just happen to prefer red, so it works out nicely.”

7. Right Tribe

The worlds longest-lived people chose, or were born into, social circles that supported healthy behaviors, according to Buettner’s research.

When Carmen and her friends formed a cycling group years ago, the 12 to 15 members were all in their 50s. Together, they rode miles of sundrenched highways and byways throughout the South Bay, only braking for coffee and an occasional pastry along the way. “We all loved to ride, but I think we valued the social aspects more,” she fondly recalls. “We supported and encouraged each other.”

As the years rolled by, time took an inevitable toll on the tightly knit group – friends relocated, injuries and illnesses sidelined some and others passed away – leaving only Carmen and two original members, a husband and wife in their 80s, to pedal through their Golden Years as a unit. Though their rides “needed to evolve a bit” in recent years – the husband-wife tandem now pilot a bicycle-built-for-two due to health issues – camaraderie and connectedness endure.

“We aren’t riding 60 miles at a time anymore, and we don’t meet as frequently,” says Carmen with a whisper of nostalgia in her voice, “but we still ride two to three times a week. It’s something we all look forward to.”

8. Belong

All but five of the 263 centenarians interviewed in the Blue Zones belonged to some faith-based community, according to Buettner’s research.

Carmen’s a big-believer in the changing power of religion, even though she doesn’t attend church or claim any religious affiliation. Nevertheless, 35 years ago, she gratefully watched her older sister completely transform her life for the better after discovering Evangelical Christianity.

“Oh, she was a mess before,” recalls Carmen. “Religion turned her life around in a big way, which was miraculous to see. But, personally, that’s not for me. I consider myself spiritual.”

Not a day passes where Carmen doesn’t spend time appealing to a higher power or the universe – usually while walking along the Greenbelt in Hermosa Beach, her hometown for more than 40 years. “It’s therapeutic to believe in something greater than you,” she says. “I’m totally wowed by the universe.”

9. Loved Ones First

Happy, healthy centenarians in the Blue Zones put their families first. This can take shape in many ways, including investing time and love with their children and grandchildren, according to Buettner’s research.

Eight-year-old Tommy is a likely cycling and motocross legend in the making. The spunky up-and-comer routinely secures top finishes in punishing off-road races, much to the chagrin of older competition. Losing never enters the pint-sized pedaller’s mind … except when grandma rolls into town.

“I can still beat him on flat ground. Tommy’s not used to second place, so it really irks him,” Carmen crows in delight. “He’s ultra-competitive just like his father … Oh, maybe it runs in the family.”

Carmen, her son, Tom – an accomplished former professional racer in his own right – and grandson unite over a mutual love for extreme sports, but they reinforce their unique family bond through regular phone calls during the week and family outings, laced with intergenerational competition, on weekends.

“Last time we raced, I edged little Tommy out by the nose of my bike tire. My victories are getting narrower and narrower each time, so I’m planning to just quit while I’m ahead,” says Carmen with a telling twinkle in her blue eyes.

Easy Goes It

An exercsiue program designed to specifically for people with arthritis that uses gentle activities to help increase joint flexibility and range of motion and help maintain muscle strength.

From February 05, 2016 To December 29, 2017
9:45 AM - 10:45 AM

Low & Sculpt

This class is a combination of cardiovascular conditioning and strength training.

From February 05, 2016 To December 29, 2017
9:00 AM - 9:55 AM