Vanda Scaravelli, a woman who empowered yoga in the West once said that “movement is the song of the body”. I believe this quote emphasizes the rich connection between movement and the wonderful instrument that is the human body.

We only begin to comprehend the value of this physical song when our health or mobility is compromised. A simple cold, sprained ankle, or headache can quickly bring us to our knees and humble our arrogant perception of health. Being physically active was historically a dominant aspect of day-to-day living, but eventually our reliance on cars, automation, and having evolved into a society dominated by technology, physical activity has become less common and less of a necessity. Canadians have become more sedentary as a result, and this has substantial implications on our health and wellbeing. This article will discuss physical activity in Canada and offer solutions to become more active within our community of Guelph –read until the end to find out about the handful of local facilities who want to unite to make Guelph more active!

Canadians and Movement

According to a Health Analysis Division researcher who works for Statistics Canada, children and adults spend most of their time sitting—Canadian adults spend more than 9.5 hours being idle, and similarly, Canadian children are idle for more than 8 hours a day (Statistics Canada). This has created a Canadian society focused predominantly on watching shows, surfing on the internet, scrolling through social media, and playing video games, which in turn, has created a sedentary culture more than an active one (Public Health Agency of Canada). Having said that, the most active regions in Canada are Vancouver Island, the Kootenay Region of British Columbia, western regions of Ontario, Peterborough, Simcoe, Muskoka, Lambton and Grey Bruce Regions of Ontario, Regina Qu’Appelle Regional Health Authority in Saskatchewan as well as the Aspen Regional Health Authority in Alberta (CFLRI).

 

Most at Risk in Canada

The reality is that demographics and social elements such as life circumstances, community characteristics, illness, disability, and socioeconomic challenges result in significant barriers to health and physical activity. Examples of this can be seen in Indigenous communities: As per the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Report, it has been confirmed that due to the substantial impact of colonization on Indigenous people such as but not limited to, intergenerational trauma, the elimination of the language, identity, and culture of the Indigenous people (Government of Canada), food insecurity and overall health has been limited in their communities compared to non-indigenous communities. At the same time, physical activity has decreased for all income levels in Canada, and poverty and socioeconomic conditions is on the rise, and those who fall into lower-income levels are 33% more sedentary (Government of Canada). Likewise, children are rarely walking, biking, or using physical movement to get to school and/or extracurricular activities in contemporary society, and that is because our society is heavily dependent on vehicles used for transportation.

Screen time has also become a major hurdle for the motivation to move for children, with 72% using far more screen time than is recommended by the Government of Canada. Adults in Canada are certainly not offsetting this since they spend more time sitting than being active and continue to be more sedentary as they age: the average older adult spends 10.1 hours being sedentary (Government of Canada).

Possible Solutions 

Local Government

Municipal governments can assist in decreasing and eventually eliminating barriers that people face in their communities to be more active by implementing public policy programs, funding community activities, and taking an active approach to ensure the community has accessibility to physical activities. Winter is a time where activity can decrease significantly due to weather conditions, therefore, it would be beneficial if municipal governments provided winter-specific activities that can motivate the community to move!

Wellness Programs

There are negative implications of a sedentary lifestyle, and the implications become more challenging to deal with when people are spending a lot of their time at a job or task that is sedentary. Wellness programs can be a proactive solution to combat the high amounts of idleness. For example, the City of Guelph has implemented a Wellness Strategy and recognized the importance of wellness for employees since 2007 (City of Guelph). Likewise, a proactive and successful workplace wellness program is demonstrated at SSQ Insurance founded in Quebec. They have implemented a rewarding program for their employees consisting of fitness programs, individual nutrition plans, programs to help quit smoking, and the employees who reach their annual health goals qualify for prizes and rewards (Rise Staff).

 Choose to Move 

We need to take responsibility for our own physical activity or lake thereof. If one does not face barriers or access to movement, then we would benefit from making a conscious choice to be active. Something as simple as a walk or chair yoga can enhance our wellness. Being proactive is integral to overcoming a sedentary lifestyle and in many cases, physical activity can help your mental and physical health! If you regularly move aerobically and/or partake in activities such as cycling, walking, resistance training, cardio, yoga, stretching, or balance exercises then you may be able to treat and prevent depression: physical activity has been demonstrated to be as helpful as psychotherapy or medication according to Harvard Health (Pillay). Daily movement can also prevent obesity, certain cancers, heart disease, type 2 diabetes and more (Government of Canada), so any opportunity to move is worth it!

GET MOVING GUELPH! 

 

HERE ARE SOME GREAT WAYS TO GET MOVING :

FREE DAY PASS GoodLife Fitness Guelph Pergola Commons: You’ll find this awesome gym at 101 Clair Rd, and you can get a FREE DAY PASS when you mention this article between March 7th -March 18 (2019, 18+, government issued ID).  This day pass will give you full access to their gorgeous facility filled with tread mills, ellipticals, weight-lifting equipment, and their Fit Fix which only takes 20 minutes– a circuit including 9 strength training machines giving you an awesome way to be physically active! They also have massage chairs to enjoy after your movement which is a great relaxing experience, and you can use the elevator if you don’t feel like taking the stairs or have mobility challenges.

FREE CLASS at Modo Yoga: Get your flow on, get breathing, and move your body at 78 Norfolk St where Modo Yoga is located. The owner believes in movement wholeheartedly, so when you mention this article between March 7th to March 18th (18+, government issued ID) you can get a FREE CLASS! Try Modo Fit, Music Power Flow, Yang Yin and more, and help your body feel empowered, relaxed, and physically strong. Aside from an array of classes and member perks, they also have Ocean Float Water & Steam Therapy which is out of this world and something your body will be grateful for when/if you need recovery from movement (not included with the free class).

FREE DAY PASS at CrossFit Guelph: Have you heard of CrossFit? It’s a powerful way to get people moving, and you can Get strong, Have fun, and Get Happy at 340 Edinburgh RD N with a FREE DAY PASS when you mention this article between March 7th to March 18th (18+, government issued ID). The coaches believe that movement should be safe, fun, challenging and accessible to all! A motivating, inspiring, inclusive and supportive environment where your movement could be life changing!

FREE DAY PASS at Guelph YMCA: mention this article between March 7th – March 18th (2019) and get a FREE DAY PASS (18+ government issued ID). You’ll get full access to their two-level Health and Fitness Centre, pool, group fitness classes such as Zumba, Pilates, Cycle, Interval training and more for 1 whole day! Located on 130 Woodland Glen, the YMCA offers a variety of programs for all ages and all levels of fitness! They are inclusive, supportive, and they believe in empowering the community of Guelph for movement and well-being! Make sure to check them out &

FREE DAY PASS at World Gym: you can find them at 6-346 Edinburgh Road North, and they are all about getting Guelph moving, which is realistic since they are 24 hours between Tuesday and Thursday! Simply mention this article between March 7th to March 18th (18+, government issued ID), and get yourself a FREE DAY PASS and have full access to their cardio area, strength machines, free weights, and group classes for an entire day!

Indoor Walking at the Guelph YMCA: Every Tuesday & Thursday you can take a walk around an indoor track at the Guelph YMCA thanks to The Guelph Family Health Team! WHAT YOU NEED TO BRING: your walking shoes, a government issued ID, and be ready to move –a volunteer will assist you with the rest! You can walk as little or as long as you’d like every Tuesday and Thursday between 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm! Walking is a fantastic movement for mental and physical health, and it has been confirmed to lower blood pressure, lower cholesterol, lower the chances of diabetes, obesity, lower mental stress, and overall, walking can decrease premature death by 32% (Harvard Health).

These 6 facilities are kind enough to support a healthy Guelph, but regardless, we must take a proactive and conscious approach towards our own physical activity or lack thereof. At the end of the day we are human beings, and we must connect with the song within in any possible way we can. Making Guelph more active starts with every individual reading this –moving individually and moving together makes a healthier community, and a healthier community means more citizen engagement, more economic stimulation, prevention and treatment of mental health issues, and overall, it makes a healthier nation, so let’s try our best in making Guelph healthier and more active!

 

Sources
CFLRI. Rating Canada’s Regional Health Which health region has the most physically active population? PDF. Canadian Fitness and Lifestyle Research Institute, 2009. cflri.ca.
City of Guelph. “Wellness Strategy.” City of Guelph, Guelph City Hall, 3 Mar. 2013, guelph.ca/plans-and-strategies/wellness-strategy/.
Clipart Library. “Lucky You Clipart – Clip Art Library.” Free Clip Art – Clip Art Collection – Download Clipart on Clipart Library, clipart-library.com/clipart/1378579.htm. Accessed  2019.
Government of Canada. “Physical Activity and Your Health.” Canada.ca, Public Health Agency of Canada, 1 Oct. 2018, www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/being-active/physical-activity-your-health.html#a1.
Harvard Health. “Walking: Your Steps to Health.” Harvard Health, Harvard Health Publishing, 13 Aug. 2018, www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/walking-your-steps-to-health.
Pillay, Srini. “How Simply Moving Benefits Your Mental Health.” Harvard Health, Harvard Health Publishing Harvard Medical School, 28 Mar. 2016, www.health.harvard.edu/blog/how-simply-moving-benefits-your-mental-health-201603289350.
Public Health Agency of Canada. “A Common Vision for Increasing Physical Activity and Reducing Sedentary Living in Canada: Let’s Get Moving.” Canada.ca, Government of Canada, 31 May 2018, www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/publications/healthy-living/lets-get-moving.html#p1.
Rise Staff. “10 Companies with Amazing Workplace Wellness Programs.” Rise, 26 Apr. 2018, risepeople.com/blog/10-companies-with-amazing-workplace-wellness-programs/.
SSQ. Health InSight Program PDF. SSQ, 2018. ssq.ca/en/media/3891/download.
Statistics Canada. “Ten Years of Measuring Physical Activity’What Have We Learned?” Statistics Canada, 24 Nov. 2017, www.statcan.gc.ca/eng/blog/cs/physical_activity.
Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health. Addressing Social Determinants of Health in Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph: A Public Health Perspective on Local Health, Policy and Program Needs PDF. Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health, 2013.

 

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