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Parent-Child Area returns to West Fitness Center

By Airman 1st Class Ryan J. Sonnier | 11th Wing Public Affairs | Sept. 9, 2014

JOINT BASE ANDREWS, Md. — With the summer coming to an end and cooler temperatures returning, the West Fitness Center here opened a Parent-Child Area for those looking to exercise indoors.

Prior to the ribbon cutting ceremony of the PCA, September 5, the gym had age restrictions for those wanting access to the facility.

"When I moved here from Guam in January, I quickly realized running in the snow while pushing a stroller wasn't going to be easy," Staff Sgt. Juana Serrano, a Joint Base Andrews defense paralegal, said. "I feel strongly about the PCA because not everyone has the luxury of a baby sitter, spouse or flexible work hours to work out during the duty day."

Treadmills, ellipticals, stationary bikes and a stair climber are offered by the PCA to give parents various options for exercising. Children are able to interact with other children, watch movies and color in coloring books.

"Being a fitness person, it was very difficult to turn parents away with younger children," Sabine Lopez, an 11th Force Support Squadron fitness specialist, said. "The purpose of the PCA is to allow parents to exercise with their children present."

The WFC no longer has limitations on age and now allows everyone with base access to utilize the gym.

"I really hope parents are informed that this room is available to them and their families for routine use," Serrano said. "I think it is a great opportunity to promote a healthy lifestyle within our Air Force families."

However, some restrictions still apply. Per AFI 34-266 Table 1.1, children under 6 years old are only allowed in the PCA, those 6-12 years old are allowed on the running track, basketball court and racquetball court, and minors 13-15 are allowed in the weight and cardio rooms. These areas are only accessible to minors with a parent or guardian present.

"It is important to have a PCA because family and fitness are embedded into our Air Force culture," Serrano said. "This facility provides a safe place for parents to not only workout with their children, but to also socialize with other parents and help build a sense of community."

For any questions regarding the fitness center contact 301-981-7101.