Helping people make healthy changes in their lives is the focus of a fresh, new program at the Salvation Army.
New fitness instructor Candice Drouin offers a range of free programs for adults, families and children, including yoga, Zumba, aerobics, cardio and stretching and strengthening exercises.
A YMCA certified fitness instructor, and a trained Zumba dance teacher, Candice worked at a fitness centre for two-and-a-half years, and got her start at the Salvation Army as a volunteer last fall.
She said that she enjoys working with a variety of people with different levels of fitness, different goals and different backgrounds, with all the associated challenges.
“When people leave my class with a smile on their face I know I did a good job. I like it when people feel a sense of accomplishment,” she explained.
“My biggest challenge is when I’m approached by someone with really specific limitations, and working out a program specific to them to help them target their problem areas, their physical conditions or their injuries.”
She said that every morning at 9:15 a.m. she teaches the addictions group, who are required to spend a half hour in the gym every day.
“The group facilitator has told me that he really notices a difference in people,” she continued.
“They stand taller, they feel stronger and are more balanced and co-ordinated — it really creates a sense of accomplishment.”
Drouin also volunteers at the Women’s Contact Society and teaches a weekly class at Concrete Fitness. She said that Zumba dance as a special place in her heart.
“I love it because anyone can do it, regardless of co-ordination or ability level. It’s not about the moves—it’s about feeling good, enjoying the music and having fun.”
The Salvation Army fitness centre offers low-impact cardio, personal training sessions, women’s only sessions and family fitness where parents and kids can have fun and get fit together.
Drouin said working with kids is especially rewarding.
“Obesity in kids is on the rise. This is free, convenient, and the gym is open to kids on Saturday afternoons, when the rest of the drop-in centre is closed.
“This program is designed to help kids with motor skills, teach them respect for others and how to play fair — things they take home with them,” she continued.
“We’re also looking into teaching ‘Zumba Atomic’ for kids.”
Kids have great things to say about the classes.
“They say they had a really good time. For them it’s hanging out and having fun — they don’t realize they’re working out.
“It’s also a great way to spend quality time with mom or dad. Children and parents are always welcome in our gym, which is unique in a fitness facility,” she added.
“Everyone has such busy lives, and it’s too easy to just put on a movie for the kids. When parents and kids spend time together here it’s ‘unplugged’ quality time together. They’re focused on each other and that’s what makes it work.”
For more information about programs at the Salvation Army, including the fitness centre, visit www.wlsalvationarmy.org or phone 250-305-2492.