Recession-proof recreation fun ... in a burkini

Does the economy pose a threat to the health and fitness industry — rising oil and food prices, falling house prices, foreclosures, the credit crunch, bank failures and a historically weak dollar?

I think not.

Although common wisdom in the fitness industry has been that health clubs and recreation centers are recession-resilient, I like to believe that our recreation center is certainly not recession-oblivious.

I say this for a number of reasons: the recreation center, compared with other recreation centers across the country, charges a very modest fee because of careful control of our expenditures. The value of the services we provide is huge. This reason alone, making local leisure time options more attractive given $3.80-plus-a-gallon gasoline, is working to the recreation center’s advantage. Where and how can one relax, recreate and stay ahead of the obesity and poor health curve for just a mere $1.20 per visit? This is based on a single annual membership with an average of three visits per week. Using the same formula, a member on an annual family membership pays 53 cents per visit.

Recreation center memberships for 2009 will be available at the center starting Monday, Dec. 15. I encourage you to get one for the family as part of your holiday season gift-giving. It’s a gift that lasts all year and reaps benefits of health, shared family time and relaxation.

Each year, I see increasing numbers of recreation center memberships purchased as gifts for family members and friends. It makes good sense. Most of us already have far too many sweaters, so why not give “experiences” instead.

Renters who rent in Pagosa Lakes are eligible for purchase of memberships to the recreation center at property owner rates. A copy of both the lease and utility bill are required at time of purchase.

Recreation center members come in all shapes and sizes, and with different levels of ambition. One walks, or I should say, strolls, on the treadmill while next to him another runs at high speed with a 45-pound pack on his back. Some participate in organized group classes while others work out on their own. Regardless, each person is seeking and working toward better health and improved quality of life.

Appropriate exercise attire? Anything goes provided you are not indecent. Have you heard of a burkini? It’s making waves in pool attire trend. A burkinis a variation on the full coverage dress of many Muslim women. Manufacturers report strong sales and many Dutch public pools are happy to welcome Muslim patrons in their burkinis.

Critics say the burkini goes against western ideals of personal freedom and gender equality. I say these critics need to hold their ideals to themselves. If the only way to get a Muslim woman out of her burka and into the pool is through a burkini, that’s just swell.