Find fun, friends and fitness with the Westsyde Squares.

Find fun, friends and fitness with the Westsyde Squares.

Dance your way to your new favourite fitness activity

Westsyde Squares welcome new dancers for free square dance intro Sept. 13.

While some prefer the solitude of a lap pool or forest hike, there’s a lot to be said for the combination of music and movement in the quest for mental and physical wellness.

Add the company of new friends with a shared interest, and you have the makings of a fitness program you’ll want to stick with.

Not that square dancing is all about fitness, but that is a happy byproduct of this popular activity that’s kept Westsyde Squares dancers do-si-doing for 60 years.

And if you’re trying to reach Health Canada’s recommended 150 minutes of accumulated moderate to vigorous aerobic activity weekly to improve overall fitness and reduce the risk of chronic disease, a square dance session or two would get you well on your way.

1. Limber up. After dancing for years as a youngster, Mary Potter returned to square dancing as a way to keep moving through winter. Twisting and turning across the floor, she soon found herself more limber and moving easier in her daily life too.

2. Step lively! Counting steps as a part of your fitness routine? During a recent square dancing event, club president Lynda Bjalek counted a whopping 40,000 steps danced. Put another way, two hours of square dancing equals five miles walked. Additional benefits include increased lung capacity, improved balance and flexibility – invaluable at all ages.

3. Make it musical. There’s a reason people plug in a workout playlist before a run – music motivates. With a repertoire ranging from Lady Gaga to Broadway showstoppers, and 26-year-old musician Dustin McGifford as the group’s caller, your call to action is as close as the next dance.

4. Mental fitness. The Alzheimer Society of Canada notes that in addition to reducing risk of developing heart disease, stroke and diabetes – all associated with increased risk of dementia – physical activity also pumps blood, nutrients and oxygen to the brain, helps reduce stress and improves mood. And while movement gets muscles and joints moving, learning new steps and listening to the caller’s instructions also limbers up the brain, Mary notes.

5. Get social. Social isolation is another risk factor for both mental and physical health concerns, and there’s no more social activity for singles or couples than square dancing. “It’s a team sport – you have seven other people in your square you’re working with.”

Learn more about Westsyde Squares at a free introductory session Sept. 13 from 6 to 7:30 p.m. at the Westbank United Church Hall. Learn more at

Just Posted

Fruit farmers in the Okanagan and Creston valleys are in desperate need of cherry harvesters amid COVID-19 work shortages. (Photo: Unsplash/Abigail Miller)
‘Desperate’ need for workers at Okanagan cherry farms

Fruit farmers are worried they’ll have to abandon crops due to COVID-19 work shortages

Earls On Top at 211 Bernard Avenue in Kelowna. (Google Maps photo)
Downtown Kelowna’s Earls ordered closed after COVID-19 transmission

Earls on Top on Bernard Avenue will be closed from June 18 to June 27

Danny Fulton receives his first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine at the Coast Capri Hotel on April 27. The pop-up clinic was hosted by the First Nations Health Authority. (Aaron Hemens/Capital News)
Drop-in COVID-19 vaccine clinic planned for Kelowna

Clinic at Kelowna Secondary School from June 22 to 24 from 1 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

Dereck Donald Sears. (Contributed/Crimestoppers)
Murder charge laid in relation to suspicious Kelowna death

Dereck Donald Sears is charged with second-degree murder in the death of Darren Middleton

A motorycle crash has been reported on Westside Road. (Google Maps)
UPDATE: Westside Road reopened following motorcycle crash near Vernon

AIM Roads advises drivers to expect delays due to congestion

A small pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins pass by close to shore in Campbell River June 16, 2021. Still capture from video courtesy of Kimberly Hart
VIDEO: Dolphin sunset captured from Vancouver Island shore

Spectacular setting for view of travelling pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins

Jeanette Megens
KCR: Volunteering is sharing your story

Kelowna Community Resources shares stories of its volunteers in a weekly column

(File photo)
Penticton not holding Canada Day activities out of respect for Indigenous people

Cities across B.C. are cancelling the holiday after an increased spotlight on Canada’s dark history

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Police are asking for public assistance in locating Anthony Graham who has been charged with the murders of Kamloops brothers Carlo and Erick Fryer. (RCMP photo)
2 charged, suspect at large in killings of B.C. brothers linked to gang activity: RCMP

Kamloops brothers Erick and Carlo Fryer were found deceased in May on a remote Okanagan road

Albert Health Minister Tyler Shandro and Alberta Premier Jason Kenney unveil an opening sign after speaking about the Open for Summer Plan and next steps in the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, in Edmonton, Friday, June 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta 1st province in Canada to lift all COVID-19 public health restrictions

70.2% of eligible citizens 12 and older in the province have received a dose of the vaccine

Fraser Health registered nurse Ramn Manan draws a dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine into a syringe at a walk-up vaccination clinic at Bear Creek Park, in Surrey, B.C., on Monday, May 17, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Honour our fathers’ with COVID-19 vaccine protection, B.C. urges

109 new cases Friday, 75 per cent of 12 and up immunized

Most Read