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Get Out - And Get Fit

By JEFFARAH GIBSON

Tribune Features Writer

jgibson@tribunemedia.net

EXERCISING at a gym is not the only way for people to lose weight and get fit. For some Bahamians the beauty of the outdoors presents a more appealing option of being active and staying in shape after spending countless hours indoors. 

As you prepare to keep your goals to get fit this year, a local expert suggests adding variety to your fitness activities by taking them outdoors. 

Craig Walkine, operator of Outdoor Fitness Bahamas, said that recently exercising outdoors has become more attractive given that the climate in the Bahamas is favourable and most people already spend much of their time indoors at work.

Mr Walkine is a former collegiate athlete and a certified Fitness Trainer who also holds a certification in Weight Loss Management. He is presently studying for the prestigious American Council on Education (ACE) certification. 

Startling statistics released by the Ministry of Health several years ago that revealed 65 per cent of Bahamians are either overweight or obese motivated Mr Walkine to start Outdoor Fitness Bahamas, a group fitness programme designed to help people achieve their goals through instruction, nutritional information and motivation. 

“Our whole concept is exercising outdoors,” he told Tribune Health. “People are always in the office and they work all day inside, so we like the idea of the natural environment. Studies have proven that exercising outdoors helps a lot with stress relief and that was the premise of why I started it.

“I find that a lot of people who have gone to the gym complain that they have to wait on machines, they have to find someone to show them what to do and they have little motivation. So exercising outdoors is just another alternative.

“I think what makes it appealing is that our programme is suitable and adjustable for all fitness levels. For example, for 30 seconds everyone would do the same exercise, and those who are a little more advanced would do it with more intensity, so no one is left behind. Everyone participates and we do a lot of fun activities. We play games, and sometimes they do not even know they are exercising,” he said.

Mr Walkine said there are numerous exercises that people can do outdoors or without any gym equipment including, walking, running, sporting games and much more.

However the Outdoor Fitness programme combines cardio with the strength, ab and core training. 

“It is really a reprieve from work or home and the by-product of it is that people get fit, they lose weight, they feel better and they are healthier,” he said. 

But before jumping into any fitness regimen, Mr Walkine suggests that people who have not engaged in any activity should consult a physician to know how much they can do. 

“First thing I think people should do if they have not been active for a while is consult their doctor and see how active they can be so that they can know their limitations. If you have been fairly active over the years then that is not necessarily required.

“Secondly you have to learn to make you a priority. There are a lot of people who say they do not have the time to exercise but you have to make you a priority. You should not wait until you go to the doctor and get diagnosed with something and then decide to get fit, which is fine too, but it is always best to catch things before it happens,” he said. 

Outdoor Fitness Bahamas morning sessions are held on Monday, Wednesday and Friday to the east of the foot of the Paradise Island Bridge, and Tuesdays and Thursdays on Arawak Cay (Fish Fry) just behind the police station.

Evening sessions are held Monday, Wednesday and Fridays at the Eastern Parade Grounds, East Bay Street, and at Fort Charlotte on Tuesday, Thursdays and Saturdays. 

For more information email at outdoorfitnessbahamas@gmail.com or contact 432-4026 and 424-0032. 

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