Our Parks is an exercise movement that swept across Waltham Forest and many other London boroughs early last year. The aim of the scheme is to make keeping fit even easier by providing council funded classes to local residents. Everything from yoga to buggy fit is available through the scheme allowing people of all ages and capabilities the chance to get active within the borough.
Having attended a series of yoga classes in Lloyd Park with Sherene Banner, it became clear that the initiative was a success amongst locals. Classes quickly became over subscribed, the atmosphere was warm and welcoming and any progress being made was quickly pointed out and praised. These basic things not only built an amazing sense of community spirit, it also created a lifestyle that has since grown both in the park and through social media.
‘Turn up, tone up’ is the motto for this new active lifestyle, created by Our Parks founder, Born Barikor. Those who attend classes are affectionately called ‘Parkers’ and are invited to share their experiences on social media, further building the Our Parks community. Bringing a sense of community into exercise not only helps people to meet their neighbours and stay motivated, it also allows them to discover their surroundings in a whole new way. One Our Parks member says she attends class because “It is great for meeting new people, great for clearing the mind and the wonderful side effect is that you get a great body at the end.”
Our Parks is perfect for people on a budget as it allows members to attend classes with fully qualified trainers for free. It has become quite a fixture in the newly renovated Lloyd Park, which is also home to the William Morris Gallery, and it is not uncommon to see groups of people jogging around the park or strengthening up their muscles at a boot camp.
With Summer fast approaching and the evenings getting lighter, it is the perfect time to start thinking about adding some exercise into your weekly routine. Sign up with a friend, grab your trainers and find your local park. The hardest thing is deciding which class to attend.
To see a list of all the Our Parks venues, click here
Photos: Our Parks
Words: Grace Molan