29 September 2011

Keeping fit in Alcalá

When I first moved here I though that just walking around this preciptitous town of ours would provide enough exercise to keep me in shape, not to mention living in a three-storey house. It did at first;  I lost half a stone and could sprint up the hill like a whippet without even thinking about it.   But lately I've found myself rationalising my trips into town so I don´t have to do it more than once every couple of days - less if possible, especially in summer.  My muscles are getting flabby and I'm starting to get puffed out climbing two flights of stairs.

So, now that the temperature has come down to a pleasant 25 degrees or so, it's time for some remedial action.  I'm not worried about dieting; we already eat very healthily, I'm not overweight and there are too many tasty treats around to start exercising self-denial at my age.  Exercise, "gentle and regular" as they say, is the thing for us nearly-60s.  My gentle and regular regime involves a rowing machine, lifting heavy things up and down a lot, and plenty of BRISK WALKING.

The Alcalá cycle path, from the town centre to La Palmosa, the industrial estate by the motorway, was opened three years ago.  I've never actually seen a cyclist on it, but it is well-used by Alcalainos and Alcalainas of all ages, shapes and sizes.  The Andar para Salud (Walking for Health) programme is promoted jointly by the Ayuntamiento (Town Hall) and the Junta de Andalucia health service.

The views over the lake, the spring flowers,birds singing in the trees, morning mists and spectacular sunsets make this one of the nicest ways of keeping fit you can imagine.  Hundreds of people do the 5 km round trip every day; some jogging, some power-walking, some ambling along having a chat, some with pushchairs, some with dogs, some with walking sticks.  It's an ideal healthy walk; a gentle downhill slope to warm the muscles up, and an uphill slog on the way back go really get the circulation going.  A stop at one of the cafes at the bottom is optional.

Just outside the town is a small wooden hut called La Moncloa.  The Spanish equivalent of 10 Downing Street, El Palacio de La Moncloa in Madrid, is the location for the weekly Council of Ministers meeting.  The original Alcalá "Moncloa" was a scruffy shack with some ramshackle chairs where the old men used to sit, putting the world to rights while keeping an eye on who was coming in and out of the town. When the cycle path was built, the Ayuntamiento replaced it with a more substantial building, but sadly the old boys no longer seem to use it.  It´s a good place to stop for some shade though.

The well-used football pitch, home of Alcala FC

For a town of its size, Alcalá is very well endowed with sporting facilities.  The Ayuntamiento maintains an outdoor swimming pool, an all-weather football pitch, a large sports hall, keep fit classes and an open-air gym. There are also tennis and paddle courts which can be booked at the reception desk in the sports hall, by phone on 676 778278, or by email padelalcaladelosgazules@hotmail.es.
There are also two private gyms:  Gimnasio Energy on C/ Alcornocales (€30 a month and you can join for just one month if you are here on holiday) and one in C/ Altilla.

So there really is no excuse for flabby muscles!

Gimnasio Energy

Basketball in the Sala Deportivo

Floodlit Five-a-Side

Municipal swimming pool (open mid June till mid September, 1 till 7 pm)

1 comment:

Tumbit said...

Motivation is 90% of keeing fit, the other 10% is intensity. When I arrived in Spain I put up a pull up bar and a set of Olympic rings in my Olive trees instead of investing in any weights.
And yes, I do use them (almost every day) despite the incredulous stares that I get from the hunters and farmers that pass me by