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Writer-s-Bloc

Your results are In

By Hannah Gibson 

Whether you dreaded or relished your end-of-year report cards through high school, ParticipACTION is on a mission to keep them coming through your adult life too.

Each year, the organization releases a report card on the nation’s physical activity levels. So what did it say this year? Something we probably already know – we have all the right intentions to exercise, but we rarely actually get our sweat on.

I delve into the report card, to bring you the highlights, lowlights, and what you can do to make sure next years is A+ all round.

The Results

  • Overall physical activity: D
  • Intention to exercise: B+
  • Daily movement: C
  • Moderate to rigorous activity: F

First, we should celebrate the fact that we get a B+ for our intention to exercise. It shows that we already know the importance of physical activity, and that we want to engage in something that will help our health and wellbeing.

This is half the battle, as it takes motivation and intention to get out and exercise.

Before I delve into how we can ramp up our exercise intake, it's important to remember to be kind to yourself. Having self-compassion increases the chance that you’ll succeed; try not to beat yourself up.

Creating small, achievable goals is crucial to this, as you’ll feel much more positive if you can keep up with the goals you set yourself.

However, we aren’t converting that intention into action. Each individual is different, and their reasons for not working out are varied, but I think our excuses usually fall into three categories:

  • we don’t have the time
  • we don’t have the energy
  • we just don’t relish the prospect of getting sweaty.

This could be because of boredom, embarrassment, or a true loathing of the gym; all valid reasons not to get into that gym kit gathering dust on your shelf.

How can we turn the tables on exercise, making time and space for it as something that we genuinely love?

It’s simple – find something you genuinely love. While some people love lifting weights at the gym or pounding the treadmill, it’s not for everyone.

Whether it’s hiking, swimming in the pool or the lake, cycling (between breweries or vineyards as an optional extra), joining a sport team, Zumba, rock climbing, martial arts, dancing… there are so many opportunities in the Okanagan for getting your daily dose of physical activity.

We can also create time for short bursts of exercise throughout the day, if time is an issue. Measures such as always taking the stairs, parking further away or getting off the bus one stop early are all ways to increase the amount of movement you do each day.

You can also take steps to make exercise more fun by combining it with something else you enjoy.

Getting your friends involved is a great way to stick to your exercise goals, as you get to combine it with that much needed catch up.

You can also use exercise as an incentive to do or see the things you’re interested in; whether that’s hiking up a mountain to get an incredible view, cycling to a vineyard or paddle-boarding out on the lake.

Kelowna also has a Live Well exercise clinic, which offers programs such as Heart Strong and Get to Target, which offer clinical support to help you reach your goals.

Whether its joining a new sport, or something as simple as taking a walk in your lunch break, you’ve got a year to change your report card and start taking steps towards a better physical, mental and social health.

For more information, visit https://www.participaction.com/en-ca/resources/adult-report-card

Hannah Gibson s a student doctor, originally from the U.K. Through her years at medical school, she's worked in every department from pediatrics through to geriatrics, advocating for both physical and mental health. She's passionate about preventative medicine, and helping people to live happy and healthy lives.

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