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Tiger Toning

Exercising outside a Tiger’s usual habitat

Canada Games oval. Photo by City of Prince George flickr
Canada Games oval. Photo by City of Prince George flickr

“I am new to the city and would like to explore some off-campus fitness options. Are there any hidden gems I should take advantage of?” – New to Hali

Halifax is full of recreational opportunities and lots of excuses to get active off-campus. In fact, it’s impossible to do them all justice in a weekly column, so I will highlight only a few standouts.

Before I do that, New to Hali, it’s important to mention that organized activities and making use of local recreational facilities are a fantastic way to move yourself out of a sedentary lifestyle without much effort. The fun and social aspects of organized activities distracts from the anxiety of “getting active.”

For those of you who may be worried about your athletic ability, keep in mind everyone has those anxieties. My advice would be to take a friend and, at least, give it a test drive. The majority of the time you will find the pressure at these fun, recreational clubs is fairly low and that a good time is typically had by all.

Here are a few great offerings:

Halifax Sport and Social Club

Probably the most recognizable off-campus recreational group, the Halifax Sport and Social Club is a community of active-seeking individuals out to have a good time while keeping happy and healthy bodies. The majority of their programs are offered in the fall and winter with a selection of summer leagues as well.

They offer about 15 different sports from floor hockey and dodgeball to even inner tube water polo. I know a few people who have taken advantage of the HSSC’s variety of recreational offerings and they have all had a great experience. Not only did they enjoy the activities, but they made a lot of great friends along the way. Just have a look at the pictures on their website to see for yourself at www.halifaxsport.ca.

Curling clubs

Nova Scotia has no shortage of curling clubs and typically you are not far from one wherever you live in the HRM. There are three on the peninsula, one in Dartmouth and various others scattered around the county and province.

Curling clubs offer anybody interested the chance to participate in a social sport doable at all fitness levels. Plus, you are even getting some exercise.

Be cautious though on how many “social beers” you down before or while playing as this could easily negate the wellness benefits of this activity—and may cause a few slips and falls on the ice.

The oval

If you are new to the city, you may not be aware of the huge outcry of support which took place last winter when it came time to decide whether the Canada Games Oval should become a permanent fixture in the Halifax Commons. Luckily, the supporters prevailed and we will see the return of this huge outdoor skating track when the water freezes.

There are many skating opportunities around Halifax in arenas — even the Metro Centre has designated public skating times — but for a unique outdoor experience, you should definitely visit the oval at least once this winter.

Queer-focused clubs

As a tie-in to this week’s Gazette theme, it seems like a good opportunity to mention a couple of Halifax’s queer-focused sports leagues.

Getting underway for another season this fall is Loose Ends Halifax Curling. Based out of the Mayflower Curling Club, this group meets for games on Sunday evenings and encourages members to socialize with fellow teams as an opportunity to meet fellow curlers from the queer community. More details can be found at www.looseends.ca.

During the summer months, the East Coast Rainbow Softball Association offers recreational softball for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered members, along with supportive straight allies. This group, which can be found online at www.ecrsa.ca, also helps organize the Halifamous Dykes vs. Divas softball game, which kicks off Pride Week every July.

Send your fitness-related questions to cghebb@dal.ca and check back in the Gazette weekly to see if your question gets answered.

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