By LIVE WELL Exercise Clinic
Sara Hodson, CEO of LIVE WELL Exercise Clinic, has advocated for physician-prescribed exercise and the role of medical and lifestyle fitness for the last two decades, building LIVE WELL from its first location in White Rock, BC to clinics in four Canadian provinces. Now, she can add Special Presenter of the Year Award, winning the honour at the Canadian Fitness Professional Association conference in Toronto last weekend.
A NEW DAY
“It is a new day in fitness when I stand up here as someone who spent their career in cardiac rehab, helping people with diabetes, heart disease and cancer treatment exercise, to see my industry honour me,” said Hodson in her acceptance speech. “We had always been somewhat separated from mainstream fitness, and this award shows we are no longer are. We are not just talking about how fitness is an essential part of healthcare, we are doing something about it. That is a new day not just for the fitness industry but for all Canadians.”
LIVE WELL members come from all walks of life, and Hodson acknowledged that fitness is not only about physique or performance anymore. “Our members are very fit. Just because someone has diabetes or heart disease, they are now living their lives to the fullest. The dose of physical activity is our number one predictor or our overall health,” she said. “Everyone should find a place and a home in fitness and feel safe and supported. This award speaks to the future of fitness.”
Hodson, President of the Fitness Industry Council of Canada (FIC), has been advocating for a medical exemption tax credit at the federal level and a Physical Activity Tax Credit at the provincial level. “Our hope is that one day every Canadian will be able to write off a portion of their wellness on their taxes. We know that being physically active not only reduces overall healthcare costs, but dramatically reduces rates of chronic illness. The data doesn’t lie.”
PHYSICAL ACTIVITY SAVES 6.2 BILLION ANNUALLY
This data was presented at the national fitness conference, held in Toronto, where the FIC revealed the enormous cost savings of physical activity. Using the highly-regarded Social Value Calculator from data consulting firm 4Global, along with research from Sheffield Hallam University in the UK, the FIC showed that sport and physical activity saved the Canadian taxpayer 23.4 billion dollars in 2019, and more than 2.2 million cases of chronic health conditions were prevented, such as heart disease, Type 2 diabetes and depression
The most significant piece of data shared at the fitness conference was that the work done inside physical fitness facilities in Canada creates $6.19 billion dollars in direct health care savings.
“The fitness industry is about much more than physical and mental health. Our social health - community, accountability and most importantly friendship - are as important as the bricks and mortar of our clubs. We are invested in health from every angle, and are essential for the health of Canadians,” says Hodson.