A new program being offered in West Vancouver is focused on motivating North Shore residents to lead healthier lives.
The District of West Vancouver's Move More on the Shore program, a partnership with Vancouver Coastal Health, was launched in September 2012 and is based on the Healthiest Winner program, which has been offered in Vancouver since January 2010.
Representatives of Vancouver Coastal Health approached West Vancouver about coming together to create a similar program, one that would be tailored to suit North Shore residents' needs.
"This is the first time that Vancouver Coastal Health and the District of West Vancouver have ever come together to offer a program that combines both healthy lifestyle and nutrition workshops as well as activity sessions," says Jennifer Folkersen, Move More on the Shore program co-ordinator.
Move More on the Shore is a 12-week lifestyle management and activity program open to those new or returning to exercise, as well as those who have been diagnosed with some form of chronic disease (diabetes, heart condition, etc.) and is offered at the West Vancouver Community Centre.
"It's really great for people that have no fitness level, they're really starting from scratch, and all of the classes are based on that," says Folkersen.
"This is one of the most rewarding programs for sure that I've ever had the opportunity to work on," she adds.
Following a successful fall term, Move More on the Shore is gearing up for its second session, launching with an orientation evening Wednesday, Jan. 16, and district programmers are encouraging community members, both adults and seniors, to sign up.
Sessions are led by a host of trained and certified health and fitness professionals, including a dietician from Vancouver Coastal Health, the North Shore's active living co-ordinator and Folkersen, who is a personal trainer by trade, and they work to offer participants a safe and supportive environment to make positive change in their lives.
"One of the biggest things for us is the (connection) within the group because the group seems to be what keeps them going," says Folkersen.
Following Wednesday's orientation event, participants meet twice weekly, Monday and Wednesday evenings, at the community centre for: two activity sessions, which include basic weight room orientation, restorative yoga, zumba, aquafit and other group fitness classes; and one healthy lifestyle workshop featuring topics like active transportation, mindful eating, active living and eating for weight management.
There were 12 participants in the fall session, which was eight weeks in duration, and a number experienced a drop in their blood pressure and waist circumference at the program's end, as well as expressed feeling much better and stronger than when they first walked in the door.
"We've had other people too that have continued to come to the community centre, they now are comfortable in this environment," says Folkersen, adding a couple of other women have since started their own local walking group.
The January program, open to approximately 25 people, costs $153, and gets participants a Wave Pass giving them unlimited access for the duration of the program to the community centre's amenities, including group fitness classes, pool and hot tub, weight room and ice rink. Financial assistance is available for West Vancouver residents.
Subsequent Move More on the Shore sessions are planned for the spring and summer terms.
"We're hoping this continues and is as successful as the Healthiest Winner is in Vancouver," says Folkersen.
For more information on or to register for Move More on the Shore, contact Jennifer Folkersen at 604-921-2169.