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Mayor visits local leisure centres as training resumes under new restrictions

07 May 2021

With the gradual easing of lockdown restrictions, local people have once again been turning their attentions to fitness and engaging in a range of new outdoor and indoor sessions on offer through Council's extended programme of activities.

Local gyms are now open to offer individual and one to one motivational training sessions, as well as lane swimming for those keen to get back to the pool and the climbing wall, which reopens at Foyle Arena on Monday May 10th. While there is still some way to go before all leisure services can resume, staff at Council's leisure centres have been delighted to see the steady return of the public to facilities where visitors have welcomed the extended and more flexible programme of activities.

Mayor of Derry and Strabane, Councillor Brian Tierney, has been paying a visit this week to some of the centres, to see for himself the provisions that have been made to ensure visitors have a safe and enjoyable experience as they return to training in line with the current restrictions.

"I've been out and about this week to some of Council's leisure centres where staff are absolutely delighted to be back on site ready to welcome people back. And I've had the chance to meet some of the members who are even more delighted to get back to the pool and the gym, or just to train outdoors with friends as part of a class.

"There's a very strong social aspect attached to health and fitness, and people love to train with friends which makes the outdoor training sessions perfect. It's been very easy for fitness levels to lapse a bit during lockdown so the return to sport sessions are perfect for anyone who wants to ease into getting fit under the guidance of a coach.

"I think that as restrictions ease, it's great to set yourself a new fitness challenge that will give us a positive focus as we gradually resume normal ways of life. I even got a bit of personal training advice myself when I was out and about so it's time to dust off the trainers and get back to better ways of living."

Director of Health and Community with Council, Karen McFarland, said the leisure teams are there to work with members and the wider public to shape a diverse and fun new approach to fitness.

"Over lockdown we have been planning a range of new activities and approaches that will make returning to fitness as easy and enjoyable as possible. The new programme has something for everyone whether they're getting back into serious training or taking the first steps to fitness – maybe for the first time ever.

"Health and wellbeing has become so important over this past year, we are all more conscious of looking after ourselves and those around us. So we want to give everyone that opportunity to improve their health, whether they are 9 or 90. We want to ensure people feel comfortable when they are training, for some that will be in a socially distanced indoor space, for others outdoors is still the preferred option, or even following a class online at home. Which is why our focus is on offering a range of options to suit everyone's needs."

Fitness coach Mark Connolly has been putting people through their paces once again this week and is delighted to see the return to Council's outdoor and indoor fitness programmes. "We are delighted to see people come back to our clubs in the past week," he said.

"The laughs, smiles and craic have been great to see and that's really what's at the heart of our programmes while also helping you build your fitness and achieve your goals. We are always looking to get more people involved and there really is no better time to start." 

Among the activities available are the Wheelers Cycling Club which offers the chance to get outdoors on your bike with a trained instructor. The cycling programme will help build fitness and confidence on the bike as well as the skills to let you explore the wonderful bike routes the district has to offer as well as meeting new friends.

For anyone who wants to improve their fitness gradually the Walk Jog Run programme is perfect for beginners, helping you set achievable goals gradually building up your distance and stamina. The sessions are geared towards your current level of fitness and the coaches are fully qualified to help you achieve your goals - whether that's a 5k or a marathon! The Walk Jog Run clubs are great for those tryng to get fit again whilst having a chat and some fun at the same time!

With summer approaching why not get the kids more active outdoors with the Kids Multiskills programme, which takes place after school and offers a range of fun activities for aged 7-11. The programme is fully focused on getting children active but more importantly it has a strong focus on fun. The sessions offer a mixture of games, activities and sports skills. Children will get to experience a wide range of sports such as soccer, athletics, tag rugby, cricket and more. 

You can book the full range of outdoor activities and indoor sessions here derrystrabaneleisure.com