Stay active this summer

With summer having arrived here in the local area, people in Port Hawkesbury and Richmond County won’t have to look far in order to take advantage of programs offered by the local municipalities.

 The benefits of physical activity are well-documented. Anyone in the medical field is happy to tell you that, for kids, getting active helps build strength, cardiovascular fitness, and bone density.

 Those benefits can also be enjoyed by adults, and for people of any age, exercise can reduce the risk of illnesses. As we get older, with the likelihood of heart disease, diabetes, strokes, hypertension, and osteoporosis (just to name a few) being amplified, exercise can play a key role in fending off disease.

 Thankfully, the local area has several programs in place to help people stay active.

 Richmond County has taken a new approach to its day camps, which in the past were held in various communities across the county. These days camps give youth the chance to come out and get some physical activity while having fun playing (and learning about) different sports.

 This year, the camps will be located at the Richmond Arena. The benefit is that the arena, which usually sat dormant through the summer, will be stocked with equipment that was recently purchased by the municipality. That equipment includes multipurpose flooring that allows you to play badminton, basketball, and volleyball. A nine-hole mini-golf course is set up, as well as areas for floor hockey and lacrosse. Equipment for those sports is also on hand. With that, there will be ping-pong tables, and areas for floor curling, shuffleboard, washer toss, and box hockey.

 From Monday to Thursday, kids will be able to attend the camps and enjoy various themes, depending on the day of the week. On Monday, arts and crafting is the focus. On Tuesday, science is the main attraction. Wednesday, kids will be invited to explore the outdoors and, on Friday, the one hundred and fiftieth birthday of Canada is the focus. All camps include two hours of physical activity per day.

 On Friday, seniors (50-plus) are invited to take advantage of the facilities from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. After that, the arena is open to the general public until 3 p.m.

 After the day camps end on August 10, the arena will be open Monday to Friday with seniors invited in the morning and the general public invited from 11 a.m. onward.

 The county is also bringing back tennis instruction, which was not offered last year. This summer, lessons will be given in Louisdale, River Bourgeois, and Petit de Grat.

 In Port Hawkesbury, the town has a diverse mix of physical activities planned to keep the young active and the not-so-young active as well.

 One of the innovative programs is a free sport drop in session to be held at the Port Hawkesbury Community Park. Beginning on July 10, the town is making it possible for young people to come by the park for an hour of free sport activity. Kids will be divided into two age groups (5-8 years old and 9-12 years old) and have the opportunity to play soccer, basketball, softball, tennis, road hockey, or take part in outdoor activities.

 This initiative is matched with a number of other programs being offered.

 Tai Chi Cape Breton will be offering classes at the Port Hawkesbury Civic Centre from now until August, and a walking tour is planned for August 2.

 Youngsters will also have a track-and-field fun day on August 16 at Tamarac Education Centre. On August 19, The Amazing Race Port Hawkesbury will run from 9 a.m. to noon.

 Of course, if taking part in such program isn’t your thing, getting out for a nice evening walk is always possible – or a walk at any time during the day. Also, the good folks at Kin-Excel Fitness Centre (St. Peter’s), the iFit Fitness Centre (Arichat), and the YMCA (Port Hawkesbury) are more than happy to have new members stop by.