Kids running. Kids rolling. Kids playing. Kids laughing.
I love it! I believe in being active and having fun. Trust me, I don’t just cycle for hours to get the exercise. It’s great being out on the road in the fresh air, pavement whizzing by. One of my favourite times of the year is the first ride in the spring. I see the leaves unfurling and the new growth peeking out from the brown grasses, and the smell in the air is wonderful.
In Canada, kids aren’t nearly as active as they should or could be. The recommendation from the Canadian Physical Activity Guidelines is 60 minutes of vigorous activity a day. Only 7% (yes, you read that right, 7) are doing that. The news isn’t all bad, because about 75% of youth are active that long three times a week. Still, when you think about all the sitting that’s going on, especially in cars as most kids are driven from place to place these days, we’ve got some work to do.
Adults have a big role to play and modelling is one way to do it. I have to check in on my activity daily. Recently, I bought an activity tracker and realized how much I sit during the day. It’s so easy to be sedentary, especially in all day meetings. Running, swimming and cycling are great, but if I spend the rest of the day sitting, it doesn’t help me that much. I’ve been making an effort to get up and walk around or go for quick walks at lunch.
Last Wednesday, I participated in the Run4Change at Bayfront Park in Hamilton with over 10 000 students and staff. It was fantastic! Mike Desjardins, our district community engagement guru, tweeted:
— Mike Des Jardins (@superengager) May 13, 2015
Kids from ages 6 to 18 were active in the park before and after the run, throwing footballs or frisbees and running around with their friends. I walked the 5K route with Mike and being around all those kids as they ran, walked or even strolled made us happy.
It was the culmination of a year of physical activity in partnership with Start2Finish, a non profit who is working to eradicate child poverty. My wish is that the students at the event had so much fun that it sparked some interest in continuing that activity. I have a friend who goes out for walks and bike rides with his kids, and they love it, even when they grumble at the beginning. Maybe all the kids from the Run4Change went home and talked about how great it was and inspired the whole family to get active. I really hope so.