By Sara Hodson
WE ARE FAMILY
Family isn’t simply the people you share a home with or your bloodline. More often than not, the family that we choose are the people who are there for us when we need them the most. They are the people who lift our spirits, build our confidence and remind us that we aren’t alone. They are the ones we call where we need extra support.
We need family as we walk through life, and this is particularly important when we embark on our health journey. LIVE WELL was founded on the concept of family, knowing that it takes more than sheer willpower to make healthy habit changes.
In the last two years, we have spent more time apart than together - and as new horizons open to us, we will need to come back together to regain what we lost and to discover new joys. We have seen our inactivity levels rise, and with it chronic health concerns are increasing at alarming rates. Physical activity improves our lives in every capacity, and not only allows us to live longer lives, but healthier lives.
Research shows that having social support is correlated with adherence to an exercise program - particularly when we look at our senior population. A large systematic review published in the International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity looked at physical activity and an older population, and found overwhelming evidence that showed social support improved adherence to physical activity programs particularly with seniors. This is so important in these unprecedented times.
There is strong evidence that physical activity contributes to our ability to live independently, and to our quality of life. Physical activity also slows down the progression of disease and disability. We need to work towards 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity every week. The benefits of exercise - improved strength, cardiovascular endurance and mobility - offset the challenges that we face as we get older. But if you have chronic pain or illness, 150 minutes might feel overwhelming to start.
Last year, the Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology released guidelines focused on 24-hours of movement for all Canadians; the expression “move more, sit less” was the call to action when COVID-19 hit us face on in March 2020. We have been sitting for 8-12 hours and according to Participactions’s 2021 report, we are more sedentary than ever before, with only 16% of the Canadian senior population getting the recommended weekly amount of exercise. The CSEP 2021 guidelines encourage movement in any form over a 24-hour period, with an emphasis on not only daily activity, but muscle-strengthening activities and exercises that improve balance.
This is where being part of the LIVE WELL family truly has an impact: not only through the support and the health benefits that come from being part of a health community, but by having a program designed to fit your own unique needs. Many of our members come to us because they want to be able to get down on the floor and play with their grandkids. We don’t look at our members’ health challenges as a hindrance - we see opportunities to help each and every LIVE WELL family member live a long and healthy life. We listen, we start slow, and we champion the potential of every LIVE WELL member. We don’t want you to simply live longer - we want you to LIVE WELL for the rest of your life.
As we have just celebrated Family Day across the country, we are reminded how important our social connections are, particularly when we exercise. We invite you to share this article with your parents, your grandparents and your friends, and have them BE OUR GUEST at a LIVE WELL Clinic near you - we will welcome them like family!
Sara Hodson, CEO of LIVE WELL Exercise Clinic, is a certified ACSM Clinical Exercise Physiologist and a leading expert in the Exercise is Medicine Movement. She is President of the Fitness Industry Council of Canada and a board member of Canada’s Prescription to Get Active Program. Livewellclinic.ca