A crowd of seniors gathers around fitness instructor Ann Henslowe, who jumps up on a stationary step to demonstrate the benefit of plyometric exercises.
“Are they going to have first aid out here?” Esquimalt resident Bev Hopkins quips, prompting another senior to add, “Or an ambulance on standby?”
Everyone laughs and the group moves to another newly installed outdoor exercise station at the Esquimalt Active Park, which officially opened Tuesday next to the Esquimalt Recreation Centre.
Construction of the $82,000 park was funded by the Union of B.C. Municipalities, RBC Foundation and the provincial and federal governments.
Hopkins is looking to the free fitness park to help rebuild her health, after suffering a small stroke last October.
“It was a warning sign,” the 67-year-old says of her health scare.
Hopkins is already eyeing several new fitness programs at the Esquimalt Active Park.
“I think it’s really needed, and I hope people get out and use it,” she says of the venue.
The park was initially touted by Esquimalt staff as the region’s second outdoor seniors fitness park after one built in Sidney, but that vision has been expanded.
“The great thing is because it’s designed for seniors, you can use it for all ages,” said Mayor Barb Desjardins.
Though brand new, the park is already generating excitement in the community.
“I’ve already heard discussions around how we can integrate family-type recreation (programs) at the park,” Desjardins said. “They’re thinking big, and they’re thinking of making it a part of their day.”
For details about the park or related fitness programs, visit www.esquimalt.ca, call 250-412-8500 or drop by the Esquimalt Recreation Centre at 527 Fraser St.
Esquimalt Active Park contributors:
RBC Foundation: $25,000
The federal New Horizons for Seniors Program: $20,000
B.C. Seniors’ Housing and Support Initiative: $25,000
Healthy Families B.C. Walking Challenge: $10,000