Staying Fit in Old Windsor


A decorative garden in Old Windsor

Knowing that I would be staying in Old Windsor for almost a month, I determined to find some fitness activities nearby.  The Old Windsor Workout meets bi-weekly in the recreation ground Tuesdays at 9.15, and Saturdays at 7am. I turned up for the Saturday workout to find they were already running. Also, Saturdays are Men Only, but they kindly allowed me to join in. Starting out with light jogging, squat thrusts and push-ups, I kept up quite well. When the men started sprinting, I started thinking about ways to sprint off the field, but the instructor kept shouting us along. 

Old Windsor Workout (Men's Group), instructor Mark is third from right

“Come on lads, and lady, push yourselves,” he yelled from the side.  “I know you hate me now but you’ll love me later.”

The instructor gave us a few 30-second breaks, during which the men made comments like, “We’re only doing this so we can go down the pub and pig out for the rest of the weekend.”

The Women’s Workout is on hiatus for the summer, as is the Pilates group.  I’m not sure why the Workouts in Old Windsor are gender segregated, but when I looked further afield in Windsor this was not the case. 

Some 4Motion Dancers at Windsor Firestation, teacher Jess is 2nd from left

4Motion Dance classes run at the Windsor Firestation on Tuesdays at 7.35pm. 4Motion instructor, Jess, displays an infectious love of dance in her classes. Jess started with some fitness, including running around the room, crawling, rolling, and running backwards. Then she did some yoga moves in a circle and ended with a choreographed dance.  It was a fun routine, involving pushing away of limbs, falling, and covering a lot of space in the room.  The 4Square dancers are a young group, and I enjoyed their vibe so much I went back the following week.

Windsor Fitness Pool

Next I visited Windsor Leisure Center, a sprawling complex with two swimming pools, a full gym, tennis courts, a spa and exercise rooms. I took a dance aerobics class and thought I would find it pretty easy. But then, veteran dancer Charles created a ten-minute routine by combining four sections of choreography, which he kept swapping around. Trying to remember all the moves proved futile, so I just kept moving, and occasionally my body synchronized with the routine.

Windsor Leisure Pool, including slides, waves and 2 jacuzzis

Pole classes at Windsor Pole studio are on hiatus. So I went back to Windsor Leisure Center to swim.  The fitness pool is heated and each lane had plenty of space to do laps without bumping into anyone.  The space was great, but it also reminded me why I moved to the city. Sometimes life is more interesting when you can’t help bumping into people. Peace and quiet have their place, but so does organized chaos.


La Gente es La Gente

La Gente Es La Gente is a monthly performance by Aera, an aerial dance company based in Brooklyn.  Aera quote Oscar Wilde in their publicity for the show: "Most people are other people. Their thoughts are someone else’s opinions, their lives a mimicry, their passions a quotation."

Because the last show at Casa Mezcal was on April 20th, the theme was 420, and each dancer created a performance about drug or alcohol use inspired by a character from popular media that has influenced them.

Casa Mezcal is a basement room with an alligator on one wall, a bison head on another, a stage with tasseled red curtains and space for about 100 people.  The red curtains closed and opened music hall style between each act, while the dancers cleaned the pole themselves.

The first performer, Stella Fink, skipped on in a summer dress, followed shortly afterwards by a man dressed as a cannabis leaf.  They then smoked a herbal cigarette, and Stella stripped down to a cannabis leaf-decorated bikini to do some amazing moves on the pole while the cannabis leaf man relaxed.

Jessica Linick at La Gente es La Gente 420

The next performer, Jessica Linick, came on in a striped shirt and wasted-looking make-up. She put on a fantastically desperate and creative performance, throwing herself around the pole as if she wanted to choke the life out of it.

Next came NYPD instructor, Caitlin Goddard, who slinked on in a black dress, taking swigs from a bottle of whiskey. The character she chose was Meg Ryan in the movie, When A Man Loves A Woman. At the end of her performance, she threw a glass of whisky at the pole and lolled against the back curtain.

Kelly McLaughlin strolled onstage wearing a floral dress with a man dressed as some kind of animal on a leash.  A psilocybin mushroom poked in from the side and after she took a bite, she started indulging in shenanigans with the animal man, and I think she might have killed him at the end, but I’m not sure. 

Jessica Mari at La Gente es La Gente 420

Jessica Mari followed, doing a sultry dance around the pole with a black bob and black leotard.  She brought to mind Louise Brooks or Liz Taylor.

The elegant Nasty Canasta, came on and drank from a bottle while washing herself in a tin bath.  This was not pole dancing, but the audience seemed to love it.


Steven Retchless danced to Johnny Cash’s "Hurt."  Steven emerged to screams, removed his g-string to more screams, (he was wearing underpants underneath) and revealed a pair of plastic breasts to even more screams.  Steven’s dancing is fierce and fluid, and I admired the strength with which he handled the pole.

Danielle Romano's bucket hat and khakis made me think of 70’s tv series Gilligan’s Island.  She did a funny pole walk while suspended on the pole, and combined some very creative and strong moves.

What I love about Aera is that they combine dance, props and performance to create something artistic, surprising and often very funny.  I look forward to seeing what they do next.

Aera photo by Christopher Butt,