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Fitness Is A Family Affair

25 June 2004

Fitness Is A Family Affair At The Alan Brewster Fitness Centre

Staff at Manukau City Council's Alan Brewster Fitness Centre in Papatoetoe are really impressed at the number of families using the facility, who speak very highly of the benefits they receive from pursuing long term programmes.

One couple who were very happy to be interviewed about their personal experience are Lyle and Ruth Smith and their children Wesley who is 17, Dylan, 11, and Arianne, 8.

Lyle, a member since 1994, speaks in almost spiritual terms of the Centre where he has established 'roots', made many friendships and developed a disciplined routine, attending 4 - 5 times each week. He speaks of the cleansing effect of exercise for both body and mind and constantly passes this message on to his friends and colleagues.

Team Leader, Fitness, Shamila Unka, says "It is very true, word of mouth is a great form of advertising and Lyle has been effusive in his praise of the Alan Brewster Centre. He has actively encouraged others to join, many of whom could ill afford to. We have been able to arrange flexible payments for them, to help make gym membership possible when money could be a barrier.

"We are constantly looking at ways to improve our service and we realise that listening to feedback from members such as Lyle, is the best way to provide the sort of amenities people want."

Ruth, his wife, also a member since 1994, wants to promote the Centre for the obvious health benefits and improved family relationships. Her squash sessions 2 -3 times a week serve as stress release, improving her mood and making her a better parent and partner.

"After some time Lyle and myself realised, as our children grew up, we were unconsciously role modelling, for them. They saw us exercising and enjoying it and wanted to follow suit. We regard this as a great way to keep them fit active, happy and gainfully occupied during those years when distractions are many. I am very proud of them and what they have achieved.

I have noticed improvements made over the years, with ideas submitted to the 'suggestion box' actually implemented. This is refreshing. Staff really listen to my concerns about our childrens' fitness programme and give good, helpful advice.

"Wesley is in the U15 Auckland Rugby Rep team and at present plays squash once a week. In recent years he has become more confident, emerging into adulthood as a quiet, independent young man with a strong build and stature developed through exercise. I credit the Centre for these positive developments.

Dylan currently plays squash and is itching to become a gym member and work out on the equipment like his brother and father. Arianne went on last year's YMCA 5 km walk with me. I believe she has a natural talent for running and good squash playing potential."

Shamila says, "It is clear that a family can derive a great deal of fun and many health benefits from our activities, if you consider the number and range of activities in which this one family participates.

"They include: fitness programming; squash and the Centres touch team and runners' team; social sports events such as organising van loads of members to Warriors' games; social squash; the Devonport Women's Fun Run, in which Lyle has also participated, setting a benchmark, as men were able to run if dressed in drag; and the YMCA Women's Fun Run/Walk.

"I believe there can be no stronger endorsement of the benefits of exercise, than this family's. The Smiths have adopted an enjoyable way of achieving a healthy lifestyle balance, enhancing and enriching their daily lives through membership of our Centre.

"As a staff member of the Alan Brewster Fitness Centre, one of the city's seven recreation Centres, it is very satisfying to be actively pursuing and supporting Council's vision of 'Tomorrow's Manukau', in promoting the benefits of a healthy lifestyle to our residents. That gives me a lot of pleasure."

For more information about the Alan Brewster Fitness Centre phone 278 5319 or go to Manukau City Council's website www.manukau.govt.nz for details of other facilities throughout the city.


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