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Get fitter for free at Saanich rec centres

Dec 31 2011

Planning to get fit in the new year? Saanich is making it easier to live up to your new year's resolution by offering a week of free programming at its recreation centres.

All drop-in fitness classes will be free at Saanich rec centres from Jan. 2 through Jan. 8.

The idea was tried on a limited basis last summer and proved extremely popular, said Clayton Postings, manager of Pearkes Recreation Centre.

"It was just an opportunity where we thought we'd take advantage of the eagerness of the public and let them come in and try a few of our programs at no cost, just to see what it's like," Postings said. "So the offer is at every one of our facilities. The drop-in programs, which are things like indoor cycling, some yoga classes and aerobics in general, are all free."

Postings expects the free classes to be well attended both by people trying fitness for the first time and those who might want to try something new.

"We have a pretty strong following of people who participate in our drop-in programs who may have never tried a spin class or cycling class. They've always just come for the boot camp or aerobic class. So now that it's free, they might try a different class," he said.

There are about 20 classes at each of the recreation centres at Cedar Hill, Gordon Head, Pearkes and Saanich Commonwealth Place. The free programs include: aqua stretch and strength, aqua zumba, body sculpt, bellyfit, circuit challenge, fitness hooping, indoor cycling, kickboxing for fitness, platinum fitness, powerfit, stroller aerobics, tribal fusion flow, TRX suspension workout, water walkers and zumba gold toning. Schedules are posted on Saanich's website, saanich.ca.

Postings said the new year is traditionally the busiest time for new customers.

While there are altruistic reasons, such as wanting a fit community, for offering such a promotion, there is a pragmatic reason too, Mayor Frank Leonard said.

"We want the people to be fit but we also want our rec centres to be busy," Leonard said.

"So they've used a new year's theme to try to introduce people to a fitness program. It's certainly the mandate we've given them to do everything possible to make use of those rec centres and have a healthier community."

As for the mayor, he will be out of town, so will not be taking advantage of the introductory free offer. But he added: "I still like 10K twice a week, walking on an outdoor trail."

bcleverley@timescolonist.com

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