ACTIVE LIFE: Small steps can lead to big strides in health

NANAIMO - Parks and recreation offers a variety of walking groups people can join this spring and summer.

Pascale Jallabert leads several parks and recreation courses for the city this spring and summer that focus on walking and hiking in outdoor green spaces in the community.

Pascale Jallabert leads several parks and recreation courses for the city this spring and summer that focus on walking and hiking in outdoor green spaces in the community.

Pascale Jallabert wants people to take a walk.

She said walking is one of the most accessible forms of exercise for people who can’t afford to go to the gym or buy workout equipment for their home.

People can also get various types of workouts from the leisurely and slow paced, to more challenging hill climbs depending on where people take a stroll.

“It’s very important for us to be out and about,” she said.

Jallabert teaches several courses for the City of Nanaimo parks, recreation and culture department this spring and summer.

She leads the Mount Benson Challenge, which consists of three separate hikes up the mountain.

The hikes include going one third, halfway or all the way to the top of Nanaimo’s familiar backdrop. People can join one hike or all three. The first hike is May 11.

She also leads walk fit/yoga fit in Beban Park recreation centre. The course combines walking and yoga activities in the park. Trailblazers is a hiking group that visits various locations throughout the spring and early summer. Hikes range from four to six kilometres.

Jallabert said she likes to change locations for Trailblazers, which helps people explore the city’s parks. She said it is also nice to get out and explore nature.

Even if people have a favourite park they walk in every week, they can still change up their workout routines by taking alternate routes throughout the area.

According to the Participaction website, walking can help boost bone density, reduce risks of stroke, heart attack and some types of diabetes.

It can help lower blood pressure, reduce anxiety and improves posture.

Paying attention to posture and walking technique is important, said Jallabert. Foot spacing while taking strides and posture can be important, especially when walking on uneven terrain.

Jallabert has been a fitness professional for more than 20 years and has a bachelor’s degree in physical and health education as well as a B.C. Recreation and Parks Association certificate in personal training, weight training and group fitness. She also holds yoga fit certification.

Her love of keeping active began in high school with activities such as basketball. She said keeping fit helped her feel more confident and healthy and that feeling got her hooked.

“I always liked moving,” she said. “I am very enthusiastic. I love moving and love sharing that with people.”

For more information on the courses Jallabert teaches through parks, recreation and culture, please call 250-756-5200, go to www.nanaimo.ca or check out the spring activity guide.