Summer is a great time to get active outdoors, and getting active is something we can all use a lot more of! The World Health Organization has identified a lack of physical activity as the 4th leading risk factor for global mortality. The Government of Canada recommends Canadians should get onto their feet more and sit less during the day to maintain good health. Engaging in physical activity allows you to strengthen your body and improves your overall sense of wellbeing. Getting active is something everyone can take part in.
Our last TESL blog on physical activity looked into ways to stay active in the classroom. We hope that this month’s blog will help you promote an active lifestyle for your students outdoors.
Getting Active as a Family
To support individuals and families within Toronto, the City of Toronto offers the Welcome Policy. This program allows families under certain threshold incomes to access a yearly credit which makes physical activity programming in the community more accessible.
Encourage your students to take a stroll in their community and have a look at nearby recreation centres. Individuals can inquire about whether these centres offer free programming, accept credits through the Welcome Policy, or offer subsidized membership fees. The City of Toronto hosts a comprehensive list of all the free centres, free drop-in programs and discounted or subsidized fees for recreation centres throughout the city.
Using Smartphone Apps to Keep Active
Another way to integrate physical activity is through activity trackers. Participaction and Carrot Rewards currently offer free smartphone apps to motivate people to get active. Participants can track their steps, complete quizzes, and watch motivational videos on physical activity to earn points towards prizes and discounts at local attractions. The apps also feature activity challenges, which allow participates to invite their friends and compete in contests for the most steps! The apps can be customized to personal goals and prompts users to keep on track.
Looking for an eco-friendly way to get around? Families can check out the City of Toronto’s website for various biking and hiking trails available in their community. The biking routes allow Torontonians to plan a route from home to their destination. In the classroom, have your students plan a route and encourage them to test it out with family and friends!
The promotion of healthy activities also coincides with Bike Month this June: a month long event promoting bike use within the City of Toronto. This is a great opportunity for students to try walking or wheeling to school as a way to add more physical activity into their day. It also allows them to enjoy the outdoors, get some fresh air, and explore and witness the beauty of their community.
With biking being a great active mode of transportation for many, we can also start thinking of other methods of active transportation to work, school, or play. Walking or rollerblading are great ways to get where you need to go while also doing good for your body. Smart Commute is a great resource to determine how to plan for an active and eco-friendly commute to work. Other ways to increase moments of activity in your day can include getting off the bus stop a stop earlier, allowing for a longer walking distance. You could also promote taking the stairs at work or school. Making these small changes to your daily commute can increase your overall daily physical activity.
Always remember to listen to your body and be mindful of your limitations. Small consistent changes can make a big impact on your health. If you have any concerns about your level of physical activity, follow up with your health care provider. The impacts of physical activity are multi-faceted and range to all aspects of your day-to-day life. So get out there and get your body moving!
Post written by Toronto Public Health