National Health and Fitness Day

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Every year on the first Saturday in June is National Health and Fitness Day and this year it happens to fall on June 1st.

The government passed Bill S-211 in December 2014, an Act establishing the first Saturday in June each year as NHFD.

The day is to promote physical literacy for all levels of abilities across Canada.

Lace up your shoes and participate in a group or on your own as it’s a day to celebrate living a healthy lifestyle.

In a Q&A interview Scott Wildeman, president of Fitness Council of Canada explains why we have National Health and Fitness Day and talks about future plans to promote healthy living.

Q: Why is it important is to have National Health and Fitness Day?

A: It is important to shine a light on all the benefits that being physically active offers.

It is also equally important to stress that over 80 per cent of Canadians do not meet the weekly target of 150 minutes a week of activity.  

Read on…

Physical activity and exercise will:

Reduce incidence of hypertension by 33-60 per cent

Reduce incidence of diabetes by 25-58 per cent

Reduce incidence of cardiovascular disease by 33-50 per cent

Reduce risk of stroke by 31-45 per cent

Reduce risk of colon cancer by 30-60 per cent

Reduce mortality and risk of recurrent breast cancer by 25-50 per cent

Reduce risk of developing Alzheimer’s by 40 per cent

Decrease depression as effectively as medications or cognitive behavioral therapy

Resistance training reduces the incidents of falls in seniors by 25-40 per cent (each fall is estimated to cost $25,000 – $35,000)

Reduce risk of premature death by 31-65 per cent

Q: How can people participate?

A:  Download our Trainer plus app to receive your NHFD guest pass to any participating facility to allow free access.

You can also use the app to create a workout for the day.

If you are not in an area with a participating facility, try to be active outside or indoors.  

Go for a hike, play some golf, ride your bike or play at the park with your kids.  Just try and move, get your heart rate up and enjoy it!

Q: What can we expect from participating?

A:  (We) hope to ensure Canadians know the benefits of physical activity and exercise. We also are working with a number of partners to help bridge the gap between your family physician and exercise professionals.

We are in Ottawa for the week leading up to the event promoting the “Prescription to Get Active” program.

This program started in Leduc Alberta with one physician and the local recreation centre, and we want to expand this program across the country.

In essence, your physician would write a prescription for the local recreation centre or activity in your home or community.

Q:  What are the most valuable benefits of exercise?

A: The saying is that anything made worse with age gets better with exercise.

Improved cardiovascular health and endurance, improved muscular strength and endurance, improved mobility, improved cognitive function, improved mood and mental state, improved bone density, improved balance and coordination are all benefits.

These will allow people to live life to their fullest by giving them physical freedom.

We understand that not everyone is going to be an elite athlete or a bodybuilder.

Although many facilities will have people who compete in sport, most participants are just your regular Joe or Jill trying to be a little bit healthier.

Q:  Can we use modern technology to help us improve our fitness?

A: We have partnered with Trainer plus to help people create programs either in a facility or at home.

Trainer plus will also match the participant with a qualified exercise professional.

We have also partnered with GoGet.Fit, which is an app to help people build the habit of exercise by giving gentle prompts.

For example, if I have a workout scheduled for tomorrow morning, the app will remind me tonight to pack my gym bag, which is a behavior that people might not be used to.

Q: What are some exercise tips for office workers?

A: Try to move for a half hour.  In the winter if you cannot get outside, bring a yoga mat and practice some mobility in your office.  

After work, try to be active for another 30 minutes.

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