A year on, fitness club getting in shape

By Allan Bradbury
Staff writer

Last year we told you about the running club Lori-Lynn Leduc was setting up as part of her role with the United Native Friendship Centre (UNFC). Leduc is very happy with the progress the group has made.

Leduc has had a good sized group coming out over the course of the year, despite the COVID-19 pandemic. They’ve been meeting every weekend since the one after the last lockdown was lifted. The Land for Life program meeting at The Point park on Saturdays at 9 a.m.

As part of showing their respect for the land they start their workout sessions with a tobacco offering.

“So, we’re a jogging based class, using the land,” Leduc said. “We do show our respect for the land by offering tobacco.”

In addition to jogging the group also does other bodyweight exercises.

Leduc is also happy to see that there are children as well as their caregivers coming out. The age ranges of attendants goes from five years old up to 70.

“So it’s the whole family going together and lots of the teenagers have stayed with me since last year,” Leduc said.

Some of the older teens have also seen the benefits of the program in returning to their hockey seasons as well.

“There’s a good seven of them that are in the triple A or double A hockey, on hockey tryouts,” she said. “They worked with me as much as they could in the summertime and then hopefully they’ve got their cardio, and we do interval training and lots of other running skills.”

On top of the fitness skills, Leduc hopes to teach those coming for the workouts new life skills as well.

“I instill certain ethics in my group that they all abide by. There’s no swearing, no bullying, no teasing,” Leduc said. “It’s a disciplined group.”

Leduc says the UNFC bases its work on the Seven Grandfathers Teachings which run on the pillars of humility, bravery, honesty, wisdom, truth, respect, and love.

On Saturday, Leduc and some of her group members took part in a run at Manitou Mounds. Most of the group ran five km while younger members ran one km. The group ran sporting bright orange t-shirts, which were donated to the program by Ink Spotz Apparel in Fort Frances. Of the day, Leduc said “It was the best day ever!”