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I am a Hudson Valley Parent: Joe Wiles



Marlboro chiropractor keeps his community on the run

“Learning a sport is great, but it’s lifelong habits that we’re trying to instill and change, one person at a time.”

Dr. Joe Wiles has been pursuing wellness as long as he can remember. When he got married to a fellow doctor, Carla, and had children — Lily, 12, and Jayden, 6 — physical activity and general wellness became a part of their identity as a family, too.

 “It’s just what we do,” Wiles explains.

For many of us, finding time to work out and eat right are optional chores that we try to squeeze in between absolutely essential to-do’s. Wiles and his wife are trying to change that, one step at a time (quite literally), with a variety of expos, classes for children and adults and a Facebook page that has become a virtual support center for their community in Marlboro.

“Our goal is to help adults and children develop lifelong habits,” Wiles says. “We try to meet them where they are on their health journey, wherever that may be. What I always tell the kids I coach is true for all of us: it takes practice, practice, practice to get that jump shot or that goal. And once you develop that discipline in one area of your life, you’ll find that it is easier to apply yourself in school, in paying attention to what you eat and even your overall mood and outlook.”

Careful, applied discipline is a way of life for Wiles. He was born in Queens to a father who ran a martial arts center. As a boy, he trained in the martial arts, eventually teaching in his father’s center. But the benefits of growing up focused on physical fitness extended beyond his body and wallet: he attributes the focus, determination and inner strength that honed in the martial arts studio to helping him earn the grades for admission to Cornell University, where he met his future wife, Carla.

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Upon graduation, they moved to Georgia and Carla enrolled in medical school. Wiles ultimately decided to become a chiropractor after suffering a running injury and recovering so well under the care of a chiropractor himself (before that he was studying for a masters in sports medicine).

In 2007, both of their careers brought them to the Hudson Valley, and they picked Marlboro as their home base because of its beautiful mountains and gorgeous setting, perfect for the kind of active lifestyle they have always embraced.  

When they moved, Wiles wasn’t setting out to become a leading light in the Hudson Valley fitness scene. He was focused on building his solo chiropractic practice and enjoying the beautiful town of Marlboro with his family, as they always do.

 “Whenever we spend time together as a family, we’re doing something, preferably outside,” Wiles says. “When Jayden was old enough, we started going to the track as a family. He was only 3, but he loved it! People started noticing that we went out there together as a family, and they started asking questions. We invited them to join us with their families and before we knew it, there were 25 of us working out there every week.”

The casual group workouts morphed into what has become known as Wiles’ Fitness Boot Camp. A few months later, Wiles had another appointment one week so he told everyone he wasn’t able to attend – a fact that was greeted with great consternation and distress. To assuage everyone’s concerns that “they’d be the only ones out there,” he created a Facebook group in 2008 called the Marlboro FitClub where people could post their workout plans, invite others to join them and generally spill the beans about their health goals and pitfalls.

“Now we have 1,067 members,” Wiles says. “Anyone and everyone is welcome to join and we always say ‘you’re only a stranger the first time.’ Members post info about races they’re going to be in to get other people to sign up. Whenever I run a local 5K or go out to the track now, I know I’m going to see 20 other people I know.”

The page is quite active, with many members logging on daily to inspire and conspire about lunch plans, recipes and accomplishments.

The Marlboro Fit Club’s Facebook page is merely the tip of the Wiles Fitness Iceberg, however. The one thing Wiles apparently cannot accomplish with any aplomb is saying “no” – but he wouldn’t have it any other way.

In addition to leading Fitness Boot Camps, Dr. Wiles coaches sixth-grade basketball. He also initiated the first annual Healthy Living Expo held at the Marlborough Elementary School and the first annual Marlborough Fit Day which includes a 5K race, healthy living classes, health vendors, demonstrations, a kickball tournament with 10 teams and a basketball tournament. Set for June 7 this year, there are still open slots for interested participants. (All proceeds go to the Marlborough Recreation department).

When the town had to slash school budgets, funds for fitness are often the first to disappear. When Dr. Wiles saw that happening in Marlboro, he says he couldn’t just sit back and watch it happen.

 “I looked at my schedule and said ‘I can fit this in!’” he says, laughing. “I started a running club for 3rd-8th graders.”

The younger kids may not run with the same degree of attention and purpose as the older group, but he says that they still get a lot out of it.

“Third-graders may not be able to conceptualize marathon or track-running like an eighth grader can, but they love the joy of movement and motion,” he says.

The biggest rewards for Dr. Wiles, have been in the clear, demonstrable impacts that parents have seen in the lives of their children.

“When I get an email from a parent, it makes my day,” he says. “A mother recently emailed me saying her daughters asked her to take them to the track on a day when they didn’t have a session at the running club. Learning a sport is great, but it’s lifelong habits that we’re trying to instill and change, one person at a time.”

When Dr. Wiles isn’t conducting office hours, coaching or running around the track, he’s hanging with his family – generally outdoors. When they are inside, enjoying a brief moment of respite from the flurry of activity, they try to focus on each other, have real conversations and put the technology away.

“No laptops, iPhones, Kindles or iPads for any of us from the time of about dinner to the first bedtime,” he says.

Trading Facebook for face time takes real discipline – for the Wiles, that comes naturally.

To sign up for Dr. Wiles’ Boot Camp and find out about their current schedule, call him at 845-236-9162, or click here to join the Facebook group.

Do you know a Hudson Valley parent who inspires you? We profile local parents who are impacting their community through business, politics, volunteer work, grassroots advocacy, you name it. Submit your “I am a Hudson Valley Parent” nominations here.

 



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