It’s wet, windy, cold and dark. Nanaimo might enjoy one of the mildest climates in Canada, but winters here can make short work of a fair weather exercise routine.
The trick is to keep moving in spite of Old Man Winter, even if it means moving indoors. At Nanaimo’s public parks and recreation facilities you don’t have to spend a ton of cash to keep in shape.
“There are so many great programs for women who want to stay active and lead a healthy lifestyle,” said Damon Johnston, recreation coordinator at Oliver Woods Recreation Centre.
A short list of programs catering to all ages and levels of fitness and ability include rookie boot camp, gentle yoga or ‘flow yoga’ and restorative yoga.
“Restorative Yoga is focused on stillness and calm and stretching, so you’re holding poses for up to five or 10 minutes,” Johnston said. “It’s a very focused kind of style of yoga, but for anybody with mobility issues and chronic injuries.”
The centre also has drop-in sports – basketball, pickleball and volleyball.
“Our community centre is for everybody,” Johnston said. “We’re not about your ability or experiences.”
Teresa Harwood, recreation coordinator at Nanaimo Aquatic Centre, has fitness programs for women who don’t want to drive across town to get fit.
“The one I love to highlight is called Full Body Fitness for Women,” Harwood said. “It’s a fitness class for women, geared to beginners and intermediates and employs a variety of hand-held weights and exercise bands in a program with a pace set to music.
“It’s held twice a week, so it gets you there twice a week, in the mornings, while we have child minding available at the centre,” Harwood said.
It doesn’t rain every day throughout the winter. Sometimes it snows, sure, but most days the temperatures are mild and often sunny too, so there are plenty of opportunities to get outside.
“We have a winter walkers program,” said Debbie Beck, recreation coordinator. “The healthiest thing to do is get out for a walk. You get out there, you feel fresh, you feel alive, you feel energetic. I like this time to be active and we do have some great hikes coming up.”
Lunchtime is a great time to take advantage of daylight and get out for a walk, mini boot camp or a run through Nanaimo’s major parks. Stairs, squats, pushups, chin ups and other exercises can all be done on outdoor mini circuit trails at Participarks at Beban and Bowen parks and Oliver Woods Community Centre.