From the Centre: Still banging the health and fitness drum

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By now you should have the new leisure guide in the mail to peruse schedules and programs to your heart’s content — if not, drop by the community complex and pick one up. I also noticed the College of the Rockies has its out also and I’ll go out on a limb and say you can pick one up at the campus. If not, you never heard it here.

Not singling out any particular group but the amount of seniors we have seen up in the fitness area, as well as in the pool, this past winter and spring has been phenomenal. I believe I have mentioned before about our over-subscribed gentle aquafit classes, as well as the amount of trekkers on our walking track. It would probably be somewhat difficult to quantify, but we were musing if there would be some way to ascertain the amount of visits or maladies presented to the medical community prior to the pool and track opening and look at it again in the following years to see if numbers have dropped or specific issues have changed due to a higher level of fitness in a population, I would put good money on that one.

How you would achieve that statistic would either require an intense statistical recordkeeping system along with eight-by-ten colour glossies with circles, arrows and a paragraph on the back or, in my opinion, an overall impression from our medical practitioners as to whether they see a general improvement in our communities health. Coming up with this type of info has always been the bane of leisure services — while you can crank out all kinds of stats on visits and age groups and hair colour and service areas, quantifying the actual benefits to health has always been elusive. This is why we often refer to the benefits catalogue, which was developed about 14 years ago by Canadian Parks and Recreation Associ-ation.

Regardless, I just did a count of last week’s activity in just the hour-long gentle aquafit program and we had 213 patron visits in five days. It was even busier in the winter and I’ll challenge anyone to tell me that it has not improved the health of those attending. In fact, I wrote in February about the seniors from the Therapeutic Activation Program for Seniors walking on a regular basis — back then, one gentleman was able to do five or six laps but last week I found he was up to 16 and I would think others have improved their game also.

Since I tend to bang the health and fitness drum a lot (some may say incessantly), you can imagine how happy I was to hear from my daughter in Alberta the other day that she felt she got really good value from her fitness club membership at the local gym. I should have left it at that but, no, I had to inquire how. Turns out her local gym issues a key fob to get in during off hours, which she had attached to her car and house keys. I guess she actually found out she lost her keys when some kind soul saw the name of the gym on the key fob, turned it in where they scanned it, identified the patron and called her, thus saving a very large cost of replacing an electronic car key. She, in fact, had not been to the gym in eight months, but the good news was that she now felt guilty about not going and started working out again.

Of course, nothing is ever easy as she also let me know she is celebrating her workouts at the end with a cigarette but qualified it with, “Dad, I am cutting back now that I’m exercising.” As I mentioned before, parenting never ends and I will continue to use every trick or form of guilt to get her off the road to perdition with that habit.

Neil Ostafichuk is the recreation supervisor at the Creston and District Community Complex.