May 7, 2014 9:06 pm

Edmonton doctor offering free fitness program in the River Valley

A local doctor, along with an exercise specialist, are offering a free weekly fitness class at Hawrelak Park.

EDMONTON – Not wanting to pay for a gym membership is no longer a valid reason for not working out. That’s because a local doctor is offering a free weekly fitness class coached by himself and an exercise specialist.

“Most people feel they need to go to a gym to exercise and in Edmonton, our biggest gym is right here in the River Valley,” said Dr. Doug Klein, a family physician at the Edmonton Oliver Primary Care Network (PCN).

“We’ve got walking paths, we’ve got hills, we’ve got stairs – everything you need to get a workout.”

Even picnic benches come in handy for certain exercises.

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“We’re trying to increase people’s ability or confidence in order to enable them to use things around them,” explained Matthew Kallio, a kinesiologist with the PCN.

Both he and Klein volunteer their time on Wednesday afternoons to run the program because they felt the “need to move beyond the office to encourage people to stay healthy.”

Klein explains the program started as an initiative for PCN patients who are at a beginner-to-intermediate fitness level, but all Edmontonians are welcome.

“Pretty much anyone who comes out will get a good workout,” he promises.

Lester Hickman jokes Klein ordered him to participate, and he’s glad. The weekly workouts are helping him manage his chronic condition, and meet new people.

“A walk in the park is never a bad thing. I get out of the office and it’s actually quite motivational,” he said.

“Encourages people to get out. And it’s not like you have to buy a membership or anything. You just show up.”

Currently, the group meets at Hawrelak Park’s southeast parking lot every Wednesday at 1 p.m. You can find out more about the fitness program by visiting moveyeg.ca, or calling the Edmonton Oliver PCN (780-701-5393).

Six other primary care networks in Edmonton are also encouraging people to get out and get active, by leading walks throughout the month of May.

With files from Su-Ling Goh, and Carole Anne Devaney, Global News

© Shaw Media, 2014

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