By Tasha McRae


In a year where more Canadians are giving less, LIVE WELL gave more. On Sunday, June 5th Canadians from Coast to Coast walked, biked and ran to raise money for the Heart and Stroke Foundation, and LIVE WELL Exercise Clinic members raised more than $13,000 walking a heart-shaped route in four provinces, proving that you can always start again, and exercise is the best way to come together.

“Any exercise has heart-health benefits, but walking is fantastic because it is usually done in our moderate zone, which has considerable heart-health benefits. We also chose to walk because it is something that everyone can do,” said Sara Hodson, the CEO of LIVE WELL Exercise Clinic and President of the Fitness Industry Council of Canada.


Walking improves blood pressure, reduces cholesterol levels, strengthens the heart muscles and the oxygen delivery system. Research published in March 2020 in JAMA found that people who walked 8,000 steps daily, compared to 4,000 steps daily, were half as likely to die for any reason, but especially from heart disease.

The myriad health benefits of walking extend to our mental health: walking is proven to reduce stress and improve mood. Researchers at the University of Michigan looked at exactly how much time in nature could give the greatest payoff and at what intensity: interestingly, in terms of lowering levels of the stress hormone cortisol, 20-30 minutes of walking in nature helped to lower stress. And the best benefits were reaped from walking. Researchers dubbed this “the nature” pill. “We all felt the benefits that day,” says Hodson. “It was a celebration of exercise, nature and coming together. This is a cause near and dear to us. ” .

LIVE WELL Exercise Clinic provides supervised, safe and customized exercise programs for people who often have never exercised before, or have health conditions that require more attention. LIVE WELL’s Clinical Exercise Physiologists develop programs specific to each member, which allows for progressions and modifications to be made so that the LIVE WELL member is wholly supported with their exercise goals as they get stronger. Weekly health and nutrition coaching as well sleep and stress management and A WIN WALL to write down accomplishments take a holistic, supportive approach to health and habit change.


The social health benefits of exercising within a group setting underscore the LIVE WELL philosophy. “We all need someone in our corner championing our health,” says Hodson. “Exercise is hard enough, and forming an exercise habit takes time. We don’t give up on our members, they don’t give up on each other and ultimately they do not give up on themselves. Every single one of our members finds their home at LIVE WELL. Their reasons for starting their health journey, and why they stay, evolve over time - so often, they tell us that they come for each other. We have members who go on trips together and are growing old together!”

According to a report released in April 2022, one in four Canadians are giving less to charity than they were before the pandemic. LIVE WELL is proudly partnering with Heart and Stroke and plans other smaller events throughout the year.

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Tasha McRae, BHK, ACSM, CES/CET, is a certified exercise physiologist and Director of Culture & Talent at LIVE WELL Exercise Clinic

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