Get fit, have fun

by Ruth Griffiths

Whether or not you have children in school, September is often the time we take up the challenge to live healthier and get fit. January may be the traditional time for making resolutions, but for many people the beginning of the school year is also the beginning of a self-improvement program.

The City of Prince Albert offers many fitness options on its website For a description of programs and prices at the Margo Fournier Centre search for MFC Program Guide – Fall 2017. Drop-in classes at the Margo Fournier Centre are also included in your membership at the Alfred Jenkins Field House.

I help to contribute to that rich offering of fitness classes at the Margo Fournier Centre where I lead a program for older adults each Monday, Wednesday and Friday morning at 9:30 a.m.  This drop-in program, called Easy Adult Fitness, is suitable for adults of all ages. The program is designed for people 55 and older, but several of the regular participants are in their eighth decade. At our age, we don’t have anything to prove, so we work at our own level to the best of ability and gently support the efforts of other participants. Easy Adult Fitness begins Sept. 6.

Canadian guidelines suggest we get 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity each week plus muscle-strengthening activities on two or more days a week. That’s why every session of Easy Adult Fitness includes exercises that strengthen the legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders, and arms.

If you have a chronic health condition such as arthritis, diabetes, or heart disease, talk with your doctor to find out if your condition limits your ability to be active. I’m not a physiotherapist or a personal trainer, so I can’t prescribe specific exercises for you.  But I can offer you an hour of fun on weekday mornings that will ramp up your metabolism and get you ready to take on the day.

Every Monday we do strength training using hand weights and a resistance band, then we relax into the week with chair-assisted yoga. You don’t have to get down onto a mat to reap the benefits of yoga.

The Wednesday and Friday classes rotate though a series of time-tested classes that provide some aerobic activity, some strength training and a lot of stretching. Some of the classes incorporate exercises on floor mats; those classes are clearly marked on the printed schedule. Because the class is drop-in, you can just skip the classes you don’t like and only pay for the classes that you attend. It’s a win-win situation.

Socialization is a big part of group fitness programs. You can come early and enjoy walking in the gym to warm up and chat with a friend. After class, many participants stroll down the hall to the Heritage Centre and enjoy coffee and conversation. Coffee is still 50 cents!

 I also lead a chair-assisted yoga class each Tuesday at 2 p.m. at Calvary United Church, 114 25th St. E. The first class of the season is on Sept. 12. Come when you can and pay what you wish. You’ll find it is a pleasant pause in the week and a great time to take care of yourself.