A healthy body can help lead to a healthy mind.
With that credo, the executive director of the Salvation Army is appealing to the generosity of Yellowknifers to help him set up fitness room at the non-profit organization’s downtown facility.
Byron Hardy said it’s his intention to fill a room with gym equipment so people who stay at the Salvation Army and others who could not otherwise afford a gym membership will have a place to work out.
Hardy said physical fitness can go along way towards rehabilitating some of the people who stay with them, including those with drug and alcohol addiction or mental health issues.
“We find that with any battle we go through that if we add a circadian rhythm to our life that helps. Circadian rhythm is when you get up at a certain time – you eat breakfast at a certain time and you go to work at a certain time – the rhythm of your day gets put into place,” said Hardy. “That’s what we’re trying to do here is put a rhythm back in peoples’ lives.”
Hardy said by bringing a healthy approach to their lifestyles, those people who have not been leading a healthy life can bring some order and some discipline into their lifestyles. That can go a long way towards helping them overcome detrimental issues and influences, said Hardy.
“People with addiction issues need to get their brains re-mapped, reprogrammed … to help your brain essentially get healed is what we are aiming for and where the physical fitness program comes into play,” said Hardy. “So if you can get somebody into an exercise program not only can they become healthier and in some cases lose weight, but it can also get the brain reprogrammed.”
The Sally Ann took roughly 500-square feet of office space, gutted it, and are now in the process of painting and adding a rubber mat floor.
An elliptical trainer has been donated by a private citizen. There is no firm timetable for when the exercise room will open. That will depend on when we get some exercise equipment donated, said Hardy.
It’s hoped at least one treadmill, an exercise bicycle and maybe a universal gym that allows for weight training might be donated before the gym opens.
He said he is aware that sometimes people will purchase fitness equipment that ends up collecting dust in a basement or corner. Hardy said they are happy to take used fitness equipment as long as it it is good working order. He is also appealing to the city’s fitness clubs for donations of any equipment that they are looking to replace.
“We need donations from individuals or companies. We’re looking to put down a rubber floor and that alone is going to cost about $2,500. To paint the room is about another $600,” Hardy said. “It’s about $3,000 before we even get exercise equipment in.”
Hardy said they run on a tight budget as it is and he does not want to take money away from money budgeted for other programs and services at the Salvation Army.
Al Cleary, a retired GNWT Housing Corp. employee, has been volunteering his time to help get the exercise room ready.
He said exercise first thing in the morning helps him stay in a positive frame of mind for the rest of the day.
He’s confident Sally Ann’s clients will eventually realize the same benefits.
Hardy said he can not afford to hire a recreation director of a personal trainer, but clients would be shown how to properly and safely use the equipment before they are allowed to work out on their own.