Free and low-cost exercise classes for King County employees in the Chinook Building

Did you know that there were free and low cost exercise classes in the Chinook building, mostly at lunch time? What a great way to earn Gold Status for the Healthy Incentives program! Some of the classes could use a boost of attendees to energize the instructors and other participants. Consider these options:

Cardio Dancing with Shirley Zhang: Mondays and Wednesdays 11:30 a.m. to noon, free.

  • Shirley Zhang

    Shirley Zhang in motion with class participants.

    No experience needed. Partially led by videos. Cool Chinese music. All are welcome, could use a boost of participants. Whether you were a dance major or have two left feet, just come and give it a try if you like. You can start in the back of the room. If it seems hard (this advice is for all classes!), remember that others may have done this dozens of times and also felt awkward their first time or two!

Desk-Defying Yoga with Karin Collinsworth: Mondays noon to 1 p.m., free.

  • Karin Collinsworth leads

    Karin Collinsworth leads desk-defying and relaxing yoga classes.

    Karin describes the class as a hatha yoga (full body exercise class) that is usually a flow (Vinyasa) version, but intermixed with many influences (Vinyasa, Baptiste, Shiva Rea, Anna Forrest, Power, Shadow, Iyengar-style). She started practicing in 1996 and took a teacher training in 2005. She began teaching in April 2010 and has also attended continuing education trainings since. She continues to teach it because she wants to share understanding, and add to the exercise options and stress-reduction efforts of coworkers. While some days there are more people, the classes are not usually too full. She encourages people to try yoga as it is always adjustable to the participant’s level.

Tai Chi Qi Gong 18 with Shirley Zhang (Tuesdays) and Mary Lee (Thursdays and Fridays): Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays 11:30 a.m. to noon, free.

  • The ancient Chinese practices of tai chi and qi gong (pronounced CHEE-gung) combine slow, deliberate movements, meditation, and breathing exercises. The complete pattern takes about 15 to 20 minutes. Tai Chi is a type of martial art very well known for its defense techniques and health benefits. The martial art has evolved over the years into an effective means of alleviating stress and anxiety. It has been considered to be a form of ‘meditation in motion’ which promotes serenity and inner peace. Qigong is an ancient Chinese health care system that integrates physical postures, breathing techniques and focused intention. The word Qigong (Chi Kung) is made up of two Chinese words. Qi is pronounced chee and is usually translated to mean the life force or vital-energy that flows through all things in the universe.
  • The overall effect of the Tai Chi Qi Gong exercise is to reduce mental stress and physical tension carried in the muscles of the body in the following 4 areas: 1) Circulation and digestion – improved by the gentle stretching and rocking movements, 2) Breathing and asthma type conditions – by slow breathing and expansive arm movements, 3) Back and shoulders – by expansive arm movements, gentle bends and gradual trunk turns, 4) Mental sharpness- is increased by coordinating opposite side of body movements

Cardio Kickboxing with Mari Conrad and Jessica Santos: Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays noon to 1 p.m., free.

  • Mari Conrad with Gloves

    Mari Conrad with gloves ready to go!

    Mari Conrad has been teaching Cardio Kickboxing for 19 years and has been with King County for 26 years as a Functional Analyst in the Financial Systems Unit. Her training includes multiple certifications through Bally’s and Taekwondo. She has taught as a kickboxing instructor and water fitness instructor at Bally’s, YMCA, Burien Parks and Rec, and the WAC. Jessica Santos has been with the King County Sheriff’s Officer for over 21 years. She is a detective assigned to the Registered Sex Offender Unit. She studied dance throughout college. She also has a passion for Defensive Tactics and incorporates those tactics into her cardio workouts.

  • These fitness classes are for all skill and fitness levels. All three classes are pretty full, but Mari and Jessica always make room for anyone who would like to join. The class consists of basic punches, kicks, jumping jacks, grapevines, squats, dance moves, and various exercise moves. The two instructors do have slightly different styles. Mari Conrad teaches a freestyle high repetition, cardio kickboxing class. Jessica Santos teaches a choreographed kickboxing routine with some dance moves. Please bring water, a towel, wear comfortable clothing and shoes. On Fridays Mari Conrad teaches, but if she is unavailable the class will be taught via DVD or YouTube. To be added to the class e-mail list so you can be notified of class changes or cancellations please e-mail

Full body work out, video led, coordinated by Ana Schoenecker: Tuesdays and Thursdays 1 p.m. to 2 p.m., free.

  • A variety of videos available on YouTube usually 40 minutes long. Favorites are a mix of HIIT and full body workout targeting upper and lower body strength.

Yoga with Liz Valauri: Wednesdays 12:15 p.m. to 1:15 p.m., $10 per class.

  • Liz is a certified and experienced yoga teacher, who teaches this yoga class for all levels on Wednesdays in the Exercise Room on Level A of the Chinook Building. Liz is able to tailor her classes to the needs of her students while making them fun and effective. Yoga can increase your flexibility, strength, and ability to relax and release tension and stress. Come and unwind, invigorate, renew and refresh.

If you would like to teach a class, contact for help with scheduling. The schedule opens quarterly on the first of December, March, June, and September. Additional information is available online. King County employees also have opportunities to join a full service gym offering King County discounts.