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Fitness Newsletter | June 2011 | 
Reap the Benefits of Outdoor Fitness


StretchingTake advantage of this summer's great weather with an outdoor workout! Getting out in the fresh air is fun and challenging, and when it comes to venues, we're spoiled for choice here in Virginia Beach with our parks, beaches and trails.


There are many benefits to taking your fitness outside:


  • The air quality is cleaner. Indoor air can carry up to twice the pollutants and germs as outdoors.
  • Vitamin D is absorbed from sunlight through the skin and helps promote strong bones and a healthy immune system.
  • When you exercise outdoors on different terrain, your body has to adapt to the changing surroundings. Whether running on sand, bumpy terrain or a path with twists and turns, you are improving balance and coordination.
  • The varied scenery and terrain tends to be more engaging and stimulating than the indoors.
  • Exercise itself is a great stress reliever; add the great outdoors to it and you should come away feeling calm and refreshed.

Outdoor fitness can be any form of exercise outdoors whether its jogging, walking the dog, riding your bike, taking a fitness class or just your daily chores. Just remember to take plenty of water and ensure you're properly protected from the sun with sunscreen and a hat.


We offer many outdoor fitness classes in our parks including boot camp, TRX suspension training and sunrise yoga. Check out our summer catalog for a listing of all programs. Outdoor classes do NOT require a recreation center membership. We hope to see you outdoors!

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Upcoming Events 


7/4 | July 4 Celebration | Mount Trashmore Park


7/15 | Salsa Concert | Mount Trashmore Park


7/25-29 | Adult Softball Registration | City-Wide Athletics


8/6-7 | Artisans in the Park | Great Neck Park

Lobby Renovations at Bayside, Great Neck & Princess Anne


PA Front Desk

Front desk at Princess Anne before renovations.

The lobbies at Bayside, Great Neck and Princess Anne Recreation Centers are being renovated to improve traffic flow and provide a single front desk area complete with a scanning station. Also, the window by the pool office will be changed to make it easier for you to speak with the aquatics staff.
If you've been to Bayside lately, you've surely noticed that renovations have begun at this center. Once complete, Great Neck's lobby will be renovated; we anticipate this work will begin in July. Princess Anne's lobby will be renovated upon completion of Great Neck and work is anticipated to begin in September.
The renovations will change the flow of traffic to improve customer service and safety, and will clearly direct customers to the front desk area. The doors at the entrance will be replaced with sliding doors that are better suited to high traffic. Lighting and seating in the lobby will also be improved, with additional seating at the pool spectator area. A layout of the new floor plan is available here.
The recreation centers will be operating as normal during these renovations, with classes and programs scheduled as usual. Safety of our customers is our primary concern; at times, customers may need to walk through a construction tunnel to access other areas of the recreation center.

Healthy Fast Food? Tips for Better Fast Food Choices


BurgerFast food is cheap, convenient, filling, and to many of us it tastes good. If you are eating out, a fast food restaurant is often the cheapest option, but unfortunately not a healthy one. Eating just one fast food meal can pack enough calories, sodium and fat for an entire day or more. Eating fast food on a regular basis can lead to a host of different health problems, both physical and psychological.


Still, in a bad economy the quick-and-cheap temptation can often be hard to resist. As an informed customer, though, you can make healthier choices and still enjoy the price and convenience of fast food restaurants.


Tips for making healthy choices at fast food restaurants:

  • Make careful menu selections - pay attention to the descriptions on the menu. Dishes labeled deep-fried, pan-fried, basted, batter-dipped, breaded, creamy, crispy, scalloped, Alfredo, au gratin or in cream sauce are usually high in calories, unhealthy fats or sodium. Order items with more vegetables and choose leaner meats.
  • Drink water with your meal. Soda is a huge source of hidden calories. One 32-oz Big Gulp with regular cola packs about 425 calories, so one Big Gulp can quickly gulp up a big portion of your daily calorie intake. Try adding lemon to your water or ordering unsweetened iced tea.
  • "Undress" your food. When choosing items, be aware of calorie- and fat-packed salad dressings, spreads, cheese, sour cream, etc. For example, ask for a grilled chicken sandwich without the mayonnaise. You can ask for a packet of ketchup or mustard and add it yourself, controlling how much you put on your sandwich.
  • Special order. Many menu items would be healthy if it weren't for the way they were prepared. Ask for your vegetables and main dishes to be served without the sauces. Ask for olive oil and vinegar for your salads or order the dressing "on the side" and spoon only a small amount on at a time. If your food is fried or cooked in oil or butter, ask to have it broiled or steamed.
  • Eat mindfully. Pay attention to what you eat and savor each bite. Chew your food more thoroughly and avoid eating on the run. Being mindful also means stopping before you are full. It takes time for our bodies to register that we have eaten. Mindful eating relaxes you, so you digest better, and makes you feel more satisfied.

Read the full article for specific items to avoid and what to select in a variety of fast food restaurants. 


Reprinted with permission from 2001-2011. All rights reserved. For more information, visit

Meet the Instructor: Mike Laramore 


Mike LaramoreMike has been involved in martial arts since he was 12 years old. He started training in Aki-Jitsu and is currently a third degree black belt. Mike has been teaching tai chi of the yang style for approximately 20 years. He likes teaching tai chi because it teaches people about themselves and about limitations and avoiding extremes.


Tai chi is a slow moving exercise which uses the mind, body and spirit as one. You perform a series of postures or movements in a slow, graceful manner. Each posture flows into the next without pause, ensuring that your body is in constant motion.


Tai Chi Level I has upcoming classes at Great Neck, Bayside and Princess Anne. For those looking for a more advanced class, Tai Chi Level II is being offered at Princess Anne.

Please Note Our Upcoming Facility Closures 


All Virginia Beach Recreation Centers and Owl Creek Tennis Center will be closed Monday, July 4 in observance of Independence Day.


Don't forget that your membership is good at all six Virginia Beach Recreation Centers! If your usual center is closed for maintenance, take the opportunity to visit another center. Use this locator to help you find one!

Virginia Beach Parks and Recreation believes all of our diverse citizens have a right to participate in community recreation and we are committed to creating equal access for everyone who may have a challenge or barrier. If your child requires additional support, we can help.  Learn more about our accommodation and inclusion services.
We welcome your comments and questions.  Feel free to email us at
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Virginia Beach Parks & Recreation is accredited by CAPRA,
the certifying agency of the National Recreation and Park Association.