If you’ve been looking for new ways to build activity into your life here in Saanich, June is the perfect time.
And it’s not only about the weather!
Throughout the month, the ParticipACTION Community Challenge encourages Canadians to embrace opportunities to get active – there’s even a ParticipACTION app for those who’d like to track their time on the go.
With so many opportunities to enjoy an active lifestyle in Saanich, many – including Saanich’s Mayor and Councillors – will be thinking “outside the box” as they get active.
Coun. Teale Phelps Bondaroff will be out and about with a bike trailer full of books, topping up the collections of Saanich’s growing network of little free libraries. “My goal is to visit at least 30 a week. Along the way I always bump into neighbours and have wonderful conversations!” Bondaroff says.
Mayor Dean Murdock’s many meetings can mean a lot of time sitting through the day, so he tries to build in opportunities for activity. “Most mornings I start my day by going to the weight room at the recreation centre. I ride my bike to the office or places where I have meetings. I often schedule a walk-and-talk meeting rather than a coffee meeting,” Mayor Murdock says.
Sometimes a favourite activity is what you need to stay motivated. Coun. Karen Harper plans to meet this year’s challenge by power walking or biking an hour each day, as she does year-round.
For Coun. Mena Westhaver, the challenge brings an opportunity to work on personal goals, including speed work as a runner, swimming at one of Saanich’s two pools, riding her bicycle everywhere she possibly can and continuing her strength training.
“My goal is to start each day off with something physical as it fuels my body physically and mentally,” Westhaver says.
For those using the ParticipACTION Community Challenge to return to activity, or boost what they’re doing now, “one step at a time is the best recommendation to living a healthy lifestyle,” Coun. Westhaver says. “Don’t be too overwhelmed with committing to long, exhausting workouts that your body isn’t used to. Five-minute periods of fitness add up!”
Research shows that a physically active lifestyle also increases mental, spiritual, emotional, cognitive and social wellbeing.
Mayor Murdock agrees. “It’s so important to find ways to stay active. The more activity I get during the day, the more energy I have and the better I feel.”
As a community, Saanich works to make recreation an accessible and rewarding part of residents’ lives year-round.
“Saanich is an ideal and easy community to stay active in because of our amazing natural areas and trails that make walking fun, relaxing and healthy,” reflects Coun. Susan Brice.
In fact, recreation opportunities abound in all areas of Saanich, including:
- Four recreation centres, which between them offer two pools, four weight rooms, two ice surfaces, indoor tennis and squash facilities, and a field house for various activities.
- The Cedar Hill Golf Course and the Cedar Hill Park chip trail
- More than 170 parks
- More than 100 km of trails, with options for walking, hiking and biking
“We continue to set the bar here on the West Coast as every trail explored can be a new adventure, surrounded by beauty and unique ecosystems,” Coun. Westhaver says.
“When I think of biodiversity, I include us, Saanich residents who live here, and have the beautiful privilege of living an active lifestyle steps out their front door.”
To take this year’s ParticipACTION Challenge, visit participaction.com/programs/community-challenge.