HEY, PHILLY, it's Christmas in June!

Well, not quite Christmas, but do get ready for a fitness treat this summer: the new, Penn's Landing/Independence Blue Cross-sponsored, totally FREE "Feel Great Fitness Series."

If you are a regular reader of this column, you already know that inactivity and obesity pose serious health concerns for the nation, including the City of Brotherly Love.

In case you need a reminder, according to the President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports, "Obesity continues to climb among American adults. Nearly 60 million Americans are obese. More than 108 million adults are either obese or overweight. That means roughly 3 out of 5 Americans carry an unhealthy amount of excess weight."

The Feel Great Series could not come at a better time.

It begins this Sunday and continues every Sunday through Aug. 31, from 9 to 11 a.m. at Walnut Plaza, Columbus Boulevard and Walnut Street. And, as I mentioned, it's free! Bring the entire family - from kids to grandparents - and make fitness a family affair.

Once you get started, you won't want to stop. You and your family will come to enjoy the quality time together and the multitude of benefits of regular exercise. It's good for the mind, body and soul and is clearly one of the best steps in preventative care.

This collaboration between Penn's Landing and IBC offers a unique opportunity for Philadelphians to take ownership of their health and fitness. Additionally, the Feel Great Series offers invaluable resources to help you get on board or stay on board in your quest for a healthy lifestyle.

"We want to improve the overall health of members and the community at large," said Dr. Esther J. Nash, Senior Medical Director for IBC. "This program is not about thinness. It's about fitness, and fitness is inclusive and can be a part of every person's lifestyle."

Each of the classes will start with about an hour of discussion, then an hour of exercise led by a local fitness expert. There will be general exercise sessions as well as programs on activities such as t'ai chi.

Among the speakers will be Nicole Michalik, a Q102 DJ who was a contestant on "The Biggest Loser."

Participants should wear comfortable, breathable fitness attire, cotton socks and sneakers with good support. Also, bring a towel and a large bottle of water.

As with any new fitness regimen, you should get clearance from your doctor or health-care professional to make sure you are healthy enough to participate.

Here's the schedule:

Sunday: "Fitness: How to get started."

June 15: "Introduction to Running."

June 22: "Fitness With Disabilities."

June 29: "Family Fitness - How to Engage Everyone."

July 6: "T'ai Chi: Is It for Me?"

July 13: "Fitness: It's Not Just for the Young."

July 20: "Fitness: How to Get Started."

July 27: "Rockin' Fitness: The Benefits of Rock Climbing."

Aug. 3: "Intro to Karate."

Aug. 10: "Dancing for Health."

Aug. 17: "Fitness: It's Not Just for the Young."

Aug. 24: "Jumping for Health."

Aug. 31: "Maintaining Your Goals With Fitness."

Getting there

There are parking lots and metered parking around Penn's Landing along the waterfront. Visit pennslandingcorp.com for details.

Mass transit also serves the area, including SEPTA buses and the Market-Frankford Elevated Line. For information, call SEPTA at 215-580-7800.

Indeed, fitness is for everyone! So, no more excuses, Philly. Get on down to Penn's Landing this Sunday to start your fit and fabulous summer! *

Kimberly Garrison is a certified personal trainer and owner of One on One Ultimate Fitness in Philadelphia (www.1on1ultimatefitness.com).

E-mail her at

kimberly@1on1ultimatefitness.com. Her column appears each Thursday in Yo! Chat with her on her Daily News weblog, the Girlfriends' Locker Room, at www.girlfriendslockerroom.com. Her new podcast, "Philly Fitness and Health," is available for download every Thursday at www.philly.com.