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Metro: BFit Bringing Approachable Fitness to the Community

Whitesides provides everyday fitness tips

by Eric Russo @NHLBruins / BostonBruins.com

This story originally appeared in the Boston Metro newspaper's Bruins season preview section.

BOSTON - For 15 years, John Whitesides put some of the world's premier athletes through the paces in the gym. As the Boston Bruins' strength and conditioning coach, Whitesides was responsible for keeping the Black & Gold prime physical shape.

But following the 2015-16 season, Whitesides decided to shift his focus to the community, and helped launch the Boston Bruins Foundation's BFit initiative, which aims to "encourage movement and promote healthier living throughout New England."

In addition to providing free school assemblies for youngsters across the region and hosting the First Responder Challenge, during which local first responders participate in a rigorous obstacle course at TD Garden to raise awareness for health and wellness, Whitesides is keen on using his expertise to help the community as a whole stay fit.

"The goal is approachable fitness…get people moving and doing something that's doable for you specifically," said Whitesides. "It's not a specific workout, it's not a specific exercise, it's not a specific meal plan…it's trying to get people to find things that work for them.

"Moving should be fun, moving shouldn't be work. Get moving and stay moving."

With that goal in mind, Whitesides provided a number of fitness tips for working men and women, who may not always have time to hit the nearest gym:

Walk, Walk, Walk

"If you can take the stairs, if your office isn't on the 77th floor and you can walk up three flights, if you can avoid the escalators…whenever you can walk, walk. The more you can get up and move, it's calories out. Walk more, move more."

Remember Gym Class

"You don't need a gym, you can do it at home. We all know from being kids in gym class - push ups, sit ups, body-weight squats, step ups, lunges…there are so many alternatives, but people don't do those alternatives, they want to go to the gym and lift weights, but realistically all your answers we've learned in gym class."

Join a League

"If you were a good soccer player in high school, play soccer. If you're a good hockey player, find a league. There are tons of leagues in Massachusetts and tons of things people are doing to stay active. The more you have fun exercising or moving, the more chance you have at staying at it, especially if you make some friends and they make sure you're still there to do it."

Family First

"A lot of people come home and say, 'I'm tired.' Well, that's a great time to connect with your family. Go out and play with your kids, go out and walk the dog, go for a walk with your wife. There are so many excuses. If you look for excuses, there are so many ways to shut yourself down…it doesn't have to be a two-hour commitment every day."

Stretch it Out

"One thing that people of every age neglect is flexibility. If you're body is getting tighter and tighter over time it's a recipe for disaster. That's when your lower back hurts, your hamstrings hurt, your shoulders hurt. The No. 1 complaint I hear from people is about being injured or being sore. Make sure to stretch for five to six minutes before working out."

For more on the BFit program, please visit BostonBruins.com/BFit.

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