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  • Writer's pictureMike Douglas

Southsea Fitness Festival, any good?

At the start of June Southsea's Castle Field again played host to the Fitness Festival, brought to you by the people at Sweat Southsea.

It was great to see such a wide range of sporting provision, activities and groups at this years Fitness Festival.

I must confess, I preferred last year. This is for me personally, so keep that in mind.

Last year I met up with some fellow Pompey Bloggers at the event and we took part in a few different activities and talked about our thoughts on different activities and health promotions. Plus, I met Hannah, who was there as a speaker at the event. So socially it was great. This year, I attended on my own and despite sharing information about the event, there was a lack of interest or awareness of this years event. I do know some events locally had been cancelled or postponed because of recent actions at a nearby festival. I do wonder if that hindered attendance or made people think the Fitness Festival may also be postponed.

Speaker wise, there were two talks I wanted to see. However both were in the afternoon and after waiting 20 - 30 minutes for the first session I wanted to attend I found out there was 45 minute delay. So I opted not to stay, as I had another commitment in Port Solent in the afternoon.

The layout allowed plenty of space for people to move around, but did make the event look quite... empty. As you know I love a good photo and it was really hard to get a good photo of the whole site as there was this massive gap in the middle with nothing going on.

Unfortunately due to recent events at another music festival, the Bandstand postponed their weekend activities. This I think did hinder the Fitness Festival in that there were less people around. I am not sure if these were on the same day last year, I think they were, but I'm not sure.

No hot yoga, sad times, hot yoga was my favourite thing last year. So not having that again was a down for me.

That said. There were some awesome activities and groups here and I learnt about some cool things you should definitely look out for. Here's the positives.

Capara and Zumba were both a lot more accessible than I had previously thought. You do not need any equipment to get started and it pretty easy to follow at the start. Yes, it gets way harder as you move faster and you need to make sure you footwork is actually correct. But getting started is much easier than I thought it would be.

Capara looks very cool, but I'm not sure its for me. I feel like I would get carried away with the kicks and try to really kick someone, rather than wave my leg over their head, hahaha.

Zumba, on the other hand, is closer to something that I could (and should) get involved with. I have actually considered trying something similar in clubbercise. I first heard of clubbercise last year, but at the time there wasn't anything near me. However, earlier this year one (maybe more) started in Portsmouth. So I must get along to a session and try it out.

I enjoyed watching some of the football games in the centre field, there was a nice mix of abilities and fitness, which made it feel very welcoming. This was also a good use of the space in the centre of the field.

Ping Pomey was another cool find. I enjoyed playing table tennis / ping pong with a lovely chap from the City Council who was also there to talk about my next point.

I love me some table tennis. Dad used to have a table when I was at secondary school and college, we got to the stage where we had to use it outside because we needed more space.

Playing on the Ping Pomey table really reminded me how much I loved playing. That is one of the ace things about sports and fitness festivals like Sweat's, it not just discovering new things you can do. It's also about rediscovering sports and activities you used to do.

The 'Small Changes Big Difference' campaign was launched at the Fitness Festival by Lord Mayor Cllr Lee Mason. The campaign aims to make Portsmouth a fitter and healthier city, through 3 challenges.

Walking 1 million miles, losing 1 million pounds and donating 1 million hours of volunteering.

Sometimes these campaigns seem a bit... hit and miss. But I am more positive about this campaign because of what I saw at the event. Firstly the Lord Mayor talking about his own involvement in the campaign and secondly the involvement of The Good Gym.

The Good Gym combines fitness (usually running) with tasks that help the community, such as beach cleaning, visiting retirement house and much more.

All in all I enjoyed Sweat's Fitness Festival and came away with inspiration to get more involved and to find out about a couple of different activities.

Was it as good as last year, not for me. But, does that matter. Not really.

Well done to everyone involved in setting up the event and I look forward to next year.

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