The Town of Halton Hills runs several fitness classes that are, for a fee, accessible to the public. Some of them may sound very familiar, like Zumba, yoga and meditation. But there are a few unconventional ones in the mix too ranging from Qi Gong to TIME (Together in Movement and Exercise) and more.
Accessibility is the name of the game. There is no age restriction on any of the classes, and anyone can join. The Town likes to keep barriers low due to COVID and geography. Staff hopes the older adult population of Halton Hills will ultimately return to the programs at pre-pandemic attendance levels.
Here are details on a few of the more unique program options.
Qi Gong (pronounced chee gong) is often mistaken for Tai Chi because both are far eastern arts that place an emphasis on movement and breathing. On a hypothetical spectrum between exercise and dance, Qi Gong is closer to exercise and Tai Chi is more like a dance. Qi Gong is a series of repetitive movements and guided breathing that helps a practitioner improve blood flow, melt away stress and improve general well-being.
If you would like to do something more fast-paced, line dancing may be for you. Participants can dance to Billy Ray Cyrus or any other country singer. That may feel intimidating for some, but the instructor makes sure to go slow at first to help dancers get up to speed.
TIME stands for Together in Movement and Exercise. It's an exercise form that was developed by the University Health Network in Toronto. It consists of three exercise stations designed to help members limber up and strengthen their extremities. It further helps participants by augmenting their balance and coordination.
“This program came to us as a need because people were travelling so far in Halton Region for programs like this," said recreation co-ordinator Stephanie Barrington. "So going down either to the Oakville Hospital or to Milton, and Milton actually contacted us and said, ‘Are you aware that people are travelling this far for this program?'"
The TIME workout can be beneficial to people with an acquired brain injury, degenerative brain conditions like Parkinson's, strokes and even issues with general balance and mobility, said Barrington, noting the program is a major contributor in increasing their quality of life.
"Access to resources and programs like this will generally increase your day-to-day living, and you'll find the exercises that they're doing are always brought back to those daily tasks.”
All Town fitness programs are held at The Gellert Community Centre, the Acton Arena and Community Centre, Mold-Masters SportsPlex and six others venues. Members of Hillsview Active Living Centre get a 25 per cent discount on day classes held at the centre.
For further details on any of the programs and how to register, visit the Town's website.