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  • Writer's pictureMike Douglas

Fitness and Fun at Gunwharf Quays

On Saturday I packed Henry's bag and pushchair into the car and we ventured to Gunwharf Quays for this year's Fitness Festival. Last year I missed some of the things happening, so I made sure to have a good wonder around this year.

I looked online and found the line up of activities for Saturday and Sunday (though we only visited on Saturday), where there was a mixture of Zumba, Fit Bounce, Dance Fitness, HIIT, Salsa and Street Dance being performed on the staged area. We did stop a couple of times on the day to see what the sessions were like and how they ran, but fitness classes are not something I have really got to grips with. I still only really workout solo with music/ podcasts or with Apple Fitness (on demand sessions). While working out solo is my preference and what best fits my weekly routine, it is interesting to see how and what classes run and the type of movements they cover. 'Movement' is this years theme for Mental Health Awareness Week, so it's a good prompt to think about my movement, particularly as someone who spends a lot of work time on a laptop.

Saturday was a lovely weather day and it's fair to say Gunwharf was buzzing with people out in their shades, shorts and suncream. Which meant it was great weather for just wondering around. In the end I was at Gunwhalf with Henry for just over 4 hours, and thats all we did, just wondered around. Although the intention was to come along and just visit the Fitness Festival, our trip quickly turned into a day out; looking around a few shops, getting something to eat, then going back to the Fitness Festival to see another activity or listen to some of the music. Which very much leads me to the other thing we discovered on the day; the Gunwharf Quays busking area.

Here in the 'Square' at the centre of Gunwharf, not only were the flowers looking amazing, there was a lovely space with seating facing a busking spot, with a live singer/ performer. We'd walked pasted a couple of times, but when it was time for Henry's milk I knew where we were sitting. I think we ended up sitting there for about 40 minutes, listening to the singing and smiling at Henry's amazment for his own hands. After about 40 minutes there became a noticable smell of smoke (with the busking space also being a smoking area, that's going to happen sometimes), so we moved to look in some shops.

We had the priviladge of having our photo next to the League One trophie thanks to Pompey in the Community. What a year it's been for both Portsmouth men's and women's teams! It has been so amazing. Henry still hasnt quite got the hang of smiling for photos unless it's Laura or I taking the photo, so he looks hilariously unsure in the photo we had taken.

There were a range of activities and things to try in the Festival space including: tennis court (with one very large racquet), inflatable football pitch, pull-up bars and mini trampolines. While those were out of our remit on the day (Henry is still working on standing up), it was nice to see a range of things to do, and a good use of the space in the 'Plaza' area. I think that, maybe along with the weather, really helped the more festival feel of this event. We also found/ walked past the Sweat Studio, which I keep seeing on instagram but have never noticed in person before.

I balanced off our fitness exposure with fries and fizzy drink from Burger King, a visit to the Haribo store and an ice cream from the kiosk by the waterfront. As we moved around we also stopped a couple of times to watch people absailing down the Spinnaker Tower, the ferry drift past and very much to Henry's intreage we saw the mini train drive past us a few times. Once he's a little bigger we'll be on there!

The Fitness Festival had a lot going on and plently of people around for you to talk to and ask questions about their activities/ classes/ venues/ events. What added to our experince, and extended our visit was the other things happening around the Gunwhalf site, particually the busking space. If you'd like to find out more about fitness and sporting activities happening around Portsmouth the Fitness Festival is a great place to do that, but having seen this event over a couple of years I think it's also becoming a place that's great for meeting people and for groups to share and celebrate their existing groups and activity. I'm already excited to see what activities and exhibitions are there next year.

This years theme for Mental Health Awareness Week is movement, so lets get thinking about what movement we already do, what we can try-out and maybe what we can add to our routines. Maybe that includes something you tried out at the Fitness Festival?


Blogger's note: This post does not include sponsored content. This was a free event to attend. Sweat Fitness Festival did not ask to and have not seen this post before it is published, nor have they instructed me on what to say. The views, experiences, thoughts and insights expressed in this post are my own. The links included are direct web links and are not affiliate links.


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