From the classroom to the weight room, Kim Magnan has always understood the importance of keeping physically active.
Before becoming the fitness consultant for the Lake Cowichan Primary Healthcare team, Magnan worked as a school teacher in Victoria and later taught aqua fit classes at community centres. She eventually added other services to her repertoire such as land fitness, weight training, personal training and Zumba.
“As a school teacher I was always teaching P.E. and science,” she said. “This role is kind of my in-between. Not quite school teaching, not quite fitness all the time. It’s [combined] the two, plus a little more paperwork.”
Magnan coordinates all the fitness programs offered through the primary healthcare team, plus she meets with clients and shares her expertise the same way dietician Bronwyn Coyne and behavioural health clinician Heather Strong do.
To qualify for the free service, clients simply need to be over the age of 19 and be living with a chronic health condition.
“It’s the cheapest personal trainer rate you can get in town: free,” she said.
“We do standard measurements of [a client’s] body and discuss standard health issues that they might have that might affect the way they exercise and then we do some physical tests and assess their fitness. And from there we decided together what classes would be best suited for them.”
Classes are offered throughout the week, ranging from a community walking group to weight training at the rec centre.
One class is called Learning to Exercise Again.
“After an injury or after being inactive for a while, it’s a nice place to start.… [It’s] a real introduction to the vocabulary, so bicep curls and squats and lunges,” said Magnan, adding the course is a good stepping stone to their weight training program.
Magnan said the programs can be modified for each individual client, and group participation is not mandatory.
“Not everyone wants to be part of the group exercises, they just need the space to do the exercises,” she said.
Common ailments Magnan sees among her clients are arthritis, diabetes and people who are either waiting for joint replacement surgery or have just undergone it.
“It’s definitely humbling to see how resilient the people are out here and how willing they are to try exercise when they have so much going on in their health,” she said.