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Wellness Month: Alternatives to Joining a Gym

Wellness Month: Alternatives to Joining a Gym

Looking to enhance your physical wellness this month without joining a gym? Contributor Erin McGann has suggestions.

January, the month of re-evaluation and gym membership specials.

It’s hard to avoid the get-fit talk going on everywhere, and sometimes it can feel daunting if you don’t want to do the gym thing. However, there’s more to exercise than a 12-month contract or signing up for a half-marathon. Here are a few ideas to get you started.

Wellness on your own Schedule

“I love resistance bands,” says local personal trainer Jen Farrell. “Between that and your own body weight, you can do just about anything. There are tons of resources online, and a quick YouTube search turns up about a million options. For that matter, I love YouTube videos for cardio exercise too—when you’ve only got 10 or 15 minutes, or just can’t bear to go out in the rain, these can be a real lifeline.”

You can also hire a trainer for a few sessions to work with you to create a home program, one you can do with little or no gym equipment.

Affordable Classes

If getting to a class is more likely to make you stick to your goals, there are options there too. Dance fit classes are very popular right now, and there are devoted studios – but there are also independent teachers whose classes are less expensive. Suzy Kaitman teaches Ballet Fit at the Roundhouse, Kitsilano, Douglas Park, and Coal Harbour Community Centres. It’s not all willowy ex-ballet students either, says Kaitman. “You can be young, old, male, female, fit, unfit, experienced or not. I created these classes to break down that barrier,” she says. “I wanted to create a fun and non-intimidating environment so you can come learn to dance, get fit and meet cool people.”

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Kaitman’s Ballet Fit classes run for weeks at a time and are progressive, so it’s best to join at the beginning of a cycle. You can do a trial class for free, too.

Wellness in the Water

wellness month aquafitThe idea of group fitness kind of freak you out? Ease into it with aquafit. Essentially like taking an aerobics class in the pool, aquafit takes advantage of water resistance, so every movement works your muscles. Classes can be in the shallow end of the pool, or in the deep end using a floater belt. The instructor will demonstrate the moves out of the water on the edge of the pool. It’s a great option if you’re feeling shy – once you’re in the water, everyone is too busy trying to make the moves work to see what you’re doing or not doing, besides the fact most of your body is under water. Most public pools offer aquafit several times a week for the cost of a drop-in swim, and Hillcrest Pool takes it to another level with an ‘aqua salsa’ class on Monday evenings.

Jen Farrell, personal trainerBallet Fit classes with Suzy Kaitman |  Check pool schedules on

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