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 westsyde.squaredance.bc.ca.

Comments are closed

Just Posted

Kelowna’s Gospel Mission serves annual Christmas dinner

Between 700 to 800 meals were served Saturday to the community

Your weekend story highlights

Every Saturday, the Capital News will highlight stories from the week

The Paperboys visit Kelowna

Check out the Rotary Centre for the Arts Jan. 27

Let it snow in Kelowna

Snow is in the forecast for this week

Photos: Adventuring in Stuart Park

Have you seen Friday’s edition of the Capital News? Check out the photos featured

All aboard the Summerland Christmas Express

The first train of the Summerland Christmas Express schedule.

Porter blanks Blades in Rockets’ road trip finale

Rookie netminder stops 40 shots in Kelowna’s last game before Christmas break

All aboard the Summerland Christmas Express

The first train of the Summerland Christmas Express schedule.

Meningococcal clinics open this Sunday

Interior Health is stepping up efforts to get young people vaccinated against Meningococcal.

Update: RCMP arrest domestic assault suspect west of Kamloops.

The RCMP Emergency Response Team made the arrest at around 4:30 p.m.

Owl found dead after eating rat poison leaves B.C. woman concerned

After finding the owl on her Surrey property, Christine Trozzo says the poison is a concern for kids

Change to CPP death benefit panned as insufficient to cover funeral costs

Funeral Services Association of Canada lobbied governments to raise the value to $3,580

#MeToo at work: Employers play a role in fixing culture of sexual harassment

B.C. workplaces are getting ahead of being the next MeToo debacle, calling on experts to train staff

Most Read