GUEST COLUMN: In celebration of physical activity

Committing to long-term lifestyle changes is challenging but making excuses has life-long impacts

Many may have heard of the recent phrase “sitting is the new smoking.”

Prolonged sitting and the lack of moving the body has been noted by the health industry as a significant contributor to various health issues including heart disease, Type 2 diabetes and cancer.

We all know how important physical activity is, so why is it such struggle to incorporate activity in to our daily lives? Everyone has the standard excuses: too busy, too tired, too expensive, too lazy.

Committing to long-term lifestyle changes is challenging but making excuses at the end of a long day or when the weather is bad has life-long impacts.

Here are a few quick and easy fitness ideas that may inspire you to get out of your chair and on the road to increase your activity levels:

• Spend 30 minutes in your garden each day — great exercise and the added bonus of connecting with nature

• Find a friend with dog and volunteer to take it for walks

• Get a pedometer, Fitbit or other gadget to keep you accountable to reach your goals

• Always park in the farthest parking stall from your destination and enjoy your extra steps

• Try “walking-meetings — you may be surprized how productive these meetings are

• Find a fitness buddy — work together on building an activity schedule and keep each on track

• Deskercise – set an alarm on your watch or computer to sound every 30 minutes and then squeeze in three minutes of body movement — stand up, stretch, squat, lift your knees. Challenge your office mates to join you.

• Find the stairs and always take them. If you are feeling extra energetic, run them.

Take these ideas and create new habits. Keep track by logging your activity and hold yourself accountable. Continue to commit to it and soon it will be become part of your regular routine.

We are approaching National Health and Fitness Day on Saturday, June 2 which was established to promote health and wellness for all communities across Canada. Summerland is embracing this initiative and has several local opportunities available to get the community active.

Bike to Work Week runs May 28 to June 2. Dust off your bike, throw on your helmet and bike to work, to school or to your errands. Even if it is just one day that week, you may be surprised how easy it is and how good you feel. Celebration stations will be set up in front of the Summerland Library from 7 to 9 a.m. Drop by for a coffee and snack. Register your kilometers to and enter to win a trip for two to Portugal! A culmination event on June 3 is a group ride along Garnet Valley Road and an option to continue to the Antlers Saddle Lookout. www.biketoworkweek.ca/summerland

Summerland’s 36th annual Giant’s Head Run (five and 10 km) and Man of Steel Triathlon is on June 2. Both events are recreational-focused and welcoming for all ages and ability levels. These events are the perfect way to connect with the community and have fun while being active.

More than $2,000 in prizes will be given out at the awards ceremony after the race in Memorial Park. Register online www.runningroom.com

Summerland Action Festival runs June 1 to 3 — a jam-packed weekend of fun activities for the whole family including a slo-pitch ball tournament, pony rides, Orbis inflatable sports stations, Tumble Time for Toddlers, community dance and many more fun things to do that will get your body moving.

If you are considering incorporating a new activity in to your routine or taking part in a new event, do it! Then celebrate it! And don’t be afraid to huff and puff.

Lori Mullin is Summerland’s Recreation Manager.

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