Father walking children to school

Burn Calories, Not Fuel!

October 2016 is National ‘Walk to School’ Month for over 40 Countries across the Globe, and there is plenty of reason for you to get involved in the scheme!

The scheme, started 85 years ago by Living Streets, aims to help maintain a healthy and active lifestyle for both children and parents in the modern world- where perhaps the easiest option would be to drive everywhere instead.

We love this initiative, and believe the idea of families and even whole communities leaving the cars at home and walking to school where possible is valuable to the education of children on healthy living- as well as the obvious health benefits that come with it.

The average walking distance to school now is around 1.6 miles for Primary school children, which is easily walkable in around 25 minutes at a reasonable pace. Yes, this does take slightly longer than a car would, but on a school run traffic usually does tend to be an issue, and it seems a waste of fuel- doesn’t it?


So let’s do some calculations quickly, for an average journey to school, it costs around £0.18p for each way- so that’s £0.36p per journey. Do that twice daily and that £0.72p. 5 times a week, that’s £3.60p. Starting to sound like a lot?

Well, over a year of school trips, on average, around £136.80p is spent on petrol for simply a 1.6 mile trip to school and back. That’s a lot of money for something that is easily avoidable. For secondary school it’s even worse! The average trip is 3.4 miles here, so that equates to over £270 worth of petrol money per year!


The benefit to a child’s health when walking to school is huge too! It is recommended that children get around 1 hour of physical activity per day, in order to maintain a healthy and active lifestyle. Walking just 1 mile per day to school can account for 2/3’s of this! This is especially crucial when 23% of children don’t have any time for physical activity at the moment. By just walking to school, it can combat this problem directly with very little effect on the structure of the day.


Picture Credits to:






Get Your Rigs out!

Here at Andover Leisure Centre, we love a bit of new equipment to get our hands on. It’s always exciting having the opportunity to explore new exercises and their potential health benefits- as well the novelty of using modern or even futuristic technology.

The way we exercise and stay fit is ever changing, too. Which is why it’s essential to keep one step ahead of the game, identifying trends and new workout routines, and ensuring our instructors are at hand to provide expert advice on how best to utilise them.

Today, we take a look into our recently installed piece of equipment at the Leisure Centre, The Functional Training Area- or more commonly referred to as ‘The Rig’.

The Rig provides enthusiastic gym goers with the opportunity to try out something a bit different, and add new and adventurous exercises to their routine. The rig targets a specific new style of fitness which is ever growing in popularity, revolving around functional strength, with links to body weight exercises in particular.

Great for Beginners-

One important thing to remember is that it can be used by people with a wide range of different needs and abilities, which our Fitness Co-ordinator Al Darmanin was more than happy to demonstrate, alongside some of our lovely members. The unit can be used for more common and less strenuous exercises, which can be performed by members of all abilities. Such examples include Pull ups (which can be assisted through use of resistance bands), Triceps dips, Rows, Squats and Sit-ups- some of which have been demonstrated below.


Exploring Potential-

Once mastered, these exercises can be explored further, and improvised in order to create adventurous new movements, pushing the body to new limits. Al has spent many years becoming proficient in such activities, and was eager to show off just how much potential The Rig holds for those willing to practice their craft in the gym in the longer term.


Each of these exercises utilises the body weight of the individual, and directly builds strength in proportion to this weight. Many athletes and gym users have used their ability in comparison to body weight to use as a key measure in ensuring that they are hitting their desired goals, and maintaining functional fitness to use in everyday life.

Why don’t you come and explore it too, with a 7 Day Pass?


Halloween Treats this Half Term!

The countdown to Halloween half-term is now less than four weeks away, scary right?

But if you haven’t got anything planned for the kids, don’t worry. We have you covered, with a range of fang-tastic adventures for children of all ages!

Halloween Pool Disco 


Join us on Friday 28th October at Romsey Rapids Sports Complex!

Ride the rapids, zoom the flume and splash your way into an evening of spooky Halloween fun! Full of fun and excitement for the whole family, with a coloured pool, disco lights and music.

Buy tickets here

Holiday Club


Suitable for children aged 5-11 years, Holiday Club is an activity day full of fun. It includes activities such as trampolining, go-kart racing and even sumo suit fun! Children can also partake in a swimming session every day.

Book online now

Adventure Club

Adventure Club is a great way for children aged 8-14 years to explore the outdoors at Charlton Lakeside. Activities include climbing, canoeing and archery. But be warned, Adventure Club will only run for a couple of days throughout the half-term!

Book your place here

Fast Track

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If you are looking for a fun day out for the whole family, then our Fast Track service at Romsey Rapids Sports Complex is perfect for you! Plan your day, beat the queues and get a free session on the Adventure Golf course after your swim.

Just Click here

Roller Disco

Get your skates on and roll down to Andover Leisure Centre for the Roller Disco! As per usual, this will be running each Saturday this month, between 4.30-6.30pm.

For more information on this simply click the link




Picture Credits: http://lessonplanspage.com/fun-free-halloween-lesson-plans-for-the-fall-season/


Sweet treats – indulge in the goodness

At the beginning of this month the Toning Centre at Romsey Rapids Sports Complex launched their ‘Toning Coffee Morning’ event. This event takes place on the first Friday of every month, between 10am – 11:30am.

Carrot cake, biscuits and even a low-fat fruit loaf were baked in preparation for the coffee morning, but is it possible to bake healthy yet indulgent cakes at home? The short answer, YES.

Here’s a recipe for mouth-watering Apple and Cinnamon Turnovers with no refined sugar:

Ingredients (makes four large, or eight small turnovers)
Four large apples, peeled, cored and chopped
1 tbsp honey
1/2 tsp cinnamon
375g puff pastry
1 egg, beaten

Pre-heat the oven to 180°C. Cover a baking sheet with greaseproof paper.

Put the apples, honey and cinnamon into a saucepan, stir and gently heat through until the apples are starting to soften. Add 1 tbsp water if the mixture starts to stick.

You can use the mixture as it is, or mash it together (I did the latter).

Roll out your puff pastry into a large rectangle, or if you’re lazy buy the ready rolled variety). Cut into four or eight smaller rectangles, depending on whether you would like to make large or small turnovers.

Put a few spoonfuls of apple mixture into the centre of each rectangle, being careful not to overfill. Press the edges together and lightly brush with beaten egg.

Place on the baking tray and bake for around 15 minutes in the centre of the oven until golden brown.


This recipe is by food blogger Mandy Mazliah. You can find this recipe and others on her blog here.

If you would like to attend a coffee morning, they run on the first Friday of every month between 10am – 11:30am. For more information about the Toning Centre, please visit the Valley Leisure website at www.valleyleisure.co.uk or call the Toning team on 01794 835568.

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We’re going green for Macmillan

Go green this week and support Macmillan with their annual ‘Worlds Biggest Coffee Morning’ taking place on Friday 30th September.

To support this, Valley Leisure will be hosting coffee mornings throughout the week at our two main centres – Andover Leisure Centre and Romsey Rapids Sports Complex.

Do you want to show your support and get involved? Come along!

Andover Leisure Centre BAKE OFF! Friday 30th September: The staff at Andover Leisure Centre are baking for Macmillan! Goodies made by the staff will be available throughout the day to buy at the leisure centre.

Active Community Coffee Morning at Romsey Rapids Sports Complex, Wednesday 28th September (10am – 12:30pm): We’ll be creating a selection of ‘Naughty & Nice’ cakes. Will you take our taste test and tell the difference? You can also grab yourself a FREE Health MOT, get useful information about exercise and Macmillan support and join in a taster session. Here’s a breakdown of the morning:

  • 10:35am – 11:15am: Body Balance
  • 11:20am – 11;50am: Zumba Gold
  • 11:55am – 12:25am: Pilates

Top Tips: Find your own balance

Top Tip 1: The importance of a balanced diet

1. Try to eat 5 portions of fruit and veg a day

2. Starchy foods such as potatoes, rice and pasta should make up just over a third of the food we eat. Choose high-fibre, wholegrain varieties such as wholewheat pasta and brown rice, or simply leave skins on potatoes.

3. Dairy products such as milk, cheese, yoghurt and fromage frais are good sources of protein and vitamins, whilst also being an important source of calcium to keep bones strong. Always choose the full-fat options for this, as they are the closest to being natural.

4. Pulses such as beans, peas and lentils are good alternatives to meat due to being low in fat and high in fibre and protein. Choose lean cuts of meat and mince (more preferably white meats), and cut down the consumption of red or processed meats such as bacon, ham and sausages.

5. Unsaturated fats are classed as ‘healthy fats’. This includes oils such as vegetable, rapeseed, olive and sunflower oils.

6. Limit sugary processed foods such as cakes, chocolate, biscuits, butter etc. If you cannot cut them out, then try healthier alternatives such as a couple of cubes of dark chocolate, or olive oil spread.

7. Drink lots of water. The daily recommendation is 6-8 glasses each day.

Top Tip 2: Hit the national guidelines for physical activity

Age 5-18 years: At least 60 minutes of physical activity every day. Choose from activities such as cycling, playground activities or playing a team sports.

Age 18-65+: At least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity, such as cycling or walking every week, or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity such as running, or a game of tennis. On top of this, you should aim to complete strength exercises on two or more days a week that work all the major muscle groups (legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders and arms).

Keep it up and feel the difference.

Get motivated,

The Valley Leisure Team


Top Tips: Dive into your 5-a-day

Top Tip 1: 5 reasons to eat your 5 portions of fruit and veg a day

1. Fruit and vegetables are a good source of vitamins and minerals, and include healthy nutrients such as float, vitamin C and potassium.
2. They are an excellent source of dietary fibre, which can help to maintain a healthy gut and prevent a range of digestion problems, including constipation.
3. A diet high in fibre can reduce your risk of bowel cancer.
4. They can help to reduce your risk of heart disease, stroke and some other cancers.
5. Fruit and vegetables contribute to a healthy, balanced diet.

Top Tip 2: Exercise doesn’t have to be high impact – go swimming
If getting hot and sweaty puts you off the gym, then why not try a low impact alternative like swimming?
Swimming is a great workout for getting in cardio and toning your body. It is one of the few sports that doesn’t cause any stress to the skeletal system, yet water resistance has a similar effect to using a lightweight on a resistance machine at the gym.

Not only that, but research suggests that swimming actually boosts endorphins in the body, which creates that feel-good feeling.

Health and vitality goals from the Valley Leisure Team