History is rich and deep in Canton at the absolutely stunning and ornate McKinley Monument that was built as the final resting place of the 25th President of the United States, William McKinley, after he was assassinated in 1901. Having been born in Niles (near Youngstown), President McKinley later practiced law in Canton, which he called his “adopted” home (which explains why he is buried here). Even if you’re not a history buff, you can still appreciate what this building holds and represents.
In addition to the architectural splendor and historical aspects the monument brings to the city (and the state as a whole), the McKinley Monument also adds an element of fitness and adventure to the community. Each and every day, rain or shine, one can find any number of individuals or groups of boot-campers running up and down the stairs Rocky Balboa style!
Over the years, the 106 stairs at the monument have become a hotspot for health nuts and fitness freaks looking to use the landmark as their very own outdoor public gym!
Folks get their cardio fix running the stairs over and over, feeling the burn in their calves, quads and lungs. People can also build muscle by using the landings of the monument as areas to perform sets of push-ups, sit-ups, lunges, and other body-sculpting exercises. Even simply walking your dog or taking the steps at a leisurely pace can do wonders for your overall health and wellbeing!
Maria Potvin, Fitness Director and Certified Personal Trainer at Powerhouse Gym in North Canton, has been working out at the McKinley Monument for at least 15 years, and says there is a reason for its growing popularity.
“The monument provides a very non-intimidating atmosphere because it’s outside and you’ll see all walks of life,” she said. “People are much more inclined to train outside, because they are tired of being in a gym doing the same thing over and over. The monument is instrumental in giving everyone a different perspective and providing different workouts.”
Potvin, who has been in the fitness industry for over 25 years, said that her focus and goal has always been to get people to embrace a healthy lifestyle and get them excited about exercise, no matter who they are or where they workout. She stressed the importance of incorporating a variety into your everyday routine, which is what Powerhouse Gym aims to do with its array of cutting-edge classes: spin, yoga, zumba, kickboxing, and more. She recommends heading to the steps of the McKinley Monument for an equipment-free experience in a stunning location!
Kim Wagler, owner of Impulse Training on Whipple Avenue in North Canton, is one of many local personal trainers that offer free workout classes at the McKinley Monument on a regular basis.
“I love the environment [at the McKinley Monument],” Wagler said. “The smiles on everyone’s face is just what we need in today’s society when most people are so glued to their phone that they don’t even look up to acknowledge other people!”
Wagler has been offering free community outreach classes through Impulse Training since July 2009, when she held an Independence Day Boot Camp. The times and days in which classes are offered vary, but are posted on www.impulsetraining.com/events. She said that clients love to come to the stairs to experience a different type of training, and to socialize with others while busting through obstacles and celebrating those victories together.
“There are so many options,” Wagler said. “No matter what fitness level you are at, just walking or running those steps will provide an amazing workout to strengthen your heart and muscles as well as burn tons of calories, which can lead to great fat loss.”
An extremely wide variety of individuals all ages, both male and female, make it to the stairs to workout! Wagler said she has everyone from 8-year-old boys to 70-year-old ladies join in on the action. However, she noted that the typical participants are 35-55 year-old women.
Daniel Williams, founder and owner of DWFIT, said that age and fitness level is not a factor in the boot camp classes he teaches at the monument.
“The workouts I teach at the monument are set up so you can go at your own pace,” Williams said. “It’s open to super-fit people as well as people who have not worked out in a long time and are looking to get back into shape. I walk around and help everyone individually when I teach. We mix it up so you get the most out of your workout and don’t get bored.”
Williams takes his boot camps to the monument any chance he can. If the weather is nice, he alerts everyone who has signed up for his class that it will be held at the McKinley monument. If the weather is not nice, classes take place at Grand Slam, located on Dressler Road in North Canton. Currently, classes are weekdays at 5:30 PM and 6:30 PM; Saturdays at 10 AM; and Tuesdays and Thursdays at 6:30 AM.
To spice things up even more, Williams sometimes brings various pieces of exercise equipment with him to his monument classes, including: agility ladders, 4x4 logs (for frog hops) and light weights (for deadlifts and curl presses). He also brings sidewalk chalk to create exercise “stations” so his students can do circuit training at the monument. He said the possibilities are endless, and that one can get a great full-body workout by visiting the landmark!
Below are some exercises that local fitness instructors Maria Potvin, Kim Wagler, and Daniel Williams have recommended to try on your own if you decide to workout at the McKinley Monument. You can pick and choose which workouts to incorporate, customizing your routine to fit your specific needs:
·Run to the top of the stairs, loop around the monument, and run back down. Repeat.
·Perform decline pushups on the stairs to work both your upper and lower body.
·Utilize the stairs to do calf raises and lunges if you are looking to focus on the legs.
·At the top of the stairs, do plank variations and squats to work the core.
·At each landing between the sets of stairs, do 30 burpee exercises and/or 30 sit-ups
·Use the wall at the top of the monument for triceps dips and/or jump squats
·Bring small dumbbells or wear weighted gloves to add more strength training to your stair climbing!
The fresh air, sunshine, and cool breeze make exercising on the McKinley Monument different than exercising inside the confines of a gym. Knowing that you can strengthen your heart, build muscle, and improve your wellbeing by visiting one of the most noteworthy landmarks in Northeast Ohio makes getting active in the community so much more exciting! We all owe a special thanks to President William McKinley for keeping so many people in shape after all these years!