As the title suggests, I have been getting active recently and I have Newcastle ParkLives to thank for it! Before I spill the beans on the awesomeness of this free, local initiative, allow me to put my joy of discovering it in to perspective with a little background on my relationship with exercise…
Despite my constant moaning about being unfit, overweight and spending far too much time indoors I have never quite managed to discover a form of exercise I can actually stick to. I did the couch to 5k last year with Newcastle Girls Can and although I was proud of myself for reaching the goal I never saw myself as a runner and didn’t enjoy it enough to keep going. (Although if running is your thing I would highly recommend you check out www.facebook.com/groups/thesegirlscanrun)
As for the gym, well, been there, done that and wasted my money. I always found them to be a bit lonely and without encouragement I lacked motivation. The only place I’ve ever exercised and really enjoyed was Speedflex in Jesmond but with membership costing £40 – £99 a month it wasn’t something I could afford to sustain.
Enter ParkLives… delivered by teams from Newcastle City Council in partnership with Coca-Cola Great Britain, ParkLives sessions help local parks come to life with activities that bring communities together and improve wellbeing… and best of all, it’s FREE to join in!
ParkLives operates in ten cities across the UK (including Newcastle, yay!), the activities range from Tai Chi to Nordic Walking at various times throughout the week and every class is totally free for anyone who wants to attend.
After a good nosey round the website I spotted activities in Leazes Park, Gosforth Park, Jesmond Dene and loads more! Even with my busy working hours I managed to find a class that I could squeeze in to my schedule and it was actually something I’d been wanting to try for ages… yoga!
Flow Yoga takes place on Tuesdays at 6.15pm in Walker Park where there’s a community hall/cafe facility so the class can take place whatever the weather! (The next Yoga class is not till November due to the instructor being away for a few weeks but there’s loads of other activities going on every week).
Flow Yoga is great for developing strength, endurance, flexibility, core stability and balance. Myself and a small group of other men and women with mixed abilities were guided through a sequence of yoga poses, some were more manageable than others but the friendly instructor offered alternative (easier!) positions for newbies like me.
The sixty minute session ended with a series of relaxation techniques to help calm the mind from the stresses of the day… it was just what the doctor ordered after a busy and stressful day at work.
I loved how friendly and supportive everyone was and I especially loved the fact it was free! I’m definitely going to check out a few more of the activities available from Newcastle Park Lives and now that I’ve also signed up for a free Active Newcastle card I might finally be able to make this exercise malarky a pleasurable habit rather than a dreaded chore.
To get get your Active Newcastle card, sign up here: www.activenewcastle.co.uk/get-your-card.
You can also find out more about free activities in Newcastle with Park Lives by visiting:
Oh, and if you’ve got any tips to help keep me motivated, I’d love to hear them!