by Lianne Castelino
So another national study is out confirming, yet again, that Canadians of all ages are grossly physically inactive.
Someone please tell me why we need to keep studying this? Why can't we invest more time, energy and brain power into some forward thinking and implementing solutions.
For one thing, where exactly are kids supposed to play these days? For the most part, depending on where you live, many outdoor venues like basketball or tennis courts, even school playgrounds are locked or not fully equipped when most children have time to access them. I can't even count the number of basketball courts I've seen with backboards and no rim, let alone a net.
When we were young, access to these types of free “exercise facilities” meant hours of outdoor fun. Now, there are fees, registrations, rules and red tape.
In the winter, again depending on where you live, outdoor hockey/skating/shinny rinks are rarely maintained. In many cases, the boards are up but the ice is missing. What a travesty. It's up to area residents to flood and maintain the ice. Why? What is the city doing? Why can't we prioritize this?
Why not open school gyms, under supervision of course, after hours and on weekends. Make use of these fabulous venues for the greater good rather than keeping them under lock and key?
How about creating simple mentoring (exercise) programs after school or whenever pairing up teens/youth with younger children all in the name of physical activity. This is possible and does not have to be complicated.
If we are really serious about our collective health, reduce the work week by 5 hours allowing people to spend more time taking care of their physical and mental health, reconnect in a meaningful way with their families.
Give people the tools and the tide will turn. Remove the restrictions and the statistics will begin to reverse themselves.
For whatever reason, though, we only seem to really focus on the fact that most of us are slugs – when studies come out or after we perform poorly at the Olympics.