National Health and Fitness Day gets Canadians moving

Get up, get out, get active!

Canadians may still be homebound as part of the COVID-19 pandemic, but that’s not stopping them from getting moving. This year’s seventh annual National Health and Fitness Day (NHFD) has gone virtual, and organizers are challenging everyone to find a fun and safe way to get some exercise on June 6.

“I remember when I was young, parents booted you outside to go and play. We played in the streets, in the yard, we climbed trees. But the world isn’t like that anymore,” said Olympic champion skier Nancy Greene, one of the leading voices behind NHFD.

“With devices these days, kids are sitting inside watching screens, playing video games instead of playing outside. We’ve been getting progressively less active and that has led to an epidemic of obesity. There is no silver bullet to fixing obesity, but we do know that regular exercise has a multitude of benefits. That’s why campaigns like this are so important.”

In previous years, participating communities have held large-scale public events, but this year things have gone virtual. Organizers are encouraging Canadians to share their activities online, and to challenge others to participate as well with the hashtag #NHFD2020.

“In past years events have been held  all over the country, and obviously we couldn’t do that this year. So we’ve taken everything online. Whether it’s a Zumba class or a boot camp or a yoga class, now everybody will be participating remotely. That’s exciting because next year we can do both ways,” said Pierre Lafontaine, chair of the NHFD.

“We’re going to make our country active starting at home.”

To help promote the annual event, organizers teamed up with over 30 Canadian organizations. This year they hope to attract big name participants, including Governor General Julie Payette and maybe even Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. They hope to reach 500,000 people or more.

When June 6 comes around, Greene plans to hike and bike around her community of Sun Peaks. She challenges all Canadians to find a simple and satisfying activity to do in the great outdoors.

“Get outside, go for a walk with your family, and really think about building this as part of your lifestyle. It will make a big difference. Everybody’s got a pair of shoes; you can get out there and walk.”

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