Talk about homegrown solutions – somebody’s onto a good thing here. And Lismore can take a lot of the credit.
The small Pictou County community a couple of years ago began its Fitness Challenge – aimed at the winter months, when doldrums often set in – encouraging residents to get out and do any sort of activity they enjoy. In the spirit of fun, and sensing that it was good medicine, Lismore challenged other locales in the area to take up the challenge.
In fact, West River Valley has done just that, and will be kicking off its version Sunday. Toney River also has its own challenge under way.
Getting active is primarily an individual concern, but here is a good illustration of how you can move with the tide when you have a community behind you. Many will testify that keeping on track in any activity or fitness plan works much better using the buddy system: mutual encouragement.
The simple genius of these local challenges is they help show that getting active by no means has to be overly strenuous – because activity can encompass so many things. Don Butler, an organizer in Lismore, cites the example of an elderly woman who enjoys knitting. A lighter activity such as that done for an hour counts as two kilometres, while more physical activities such as walking, snowshoeing, skating, skiing or taking in the pool for an hour yield five kilometres toward the total.
People sign up and check in periodically to log their kilometres so the community can tally the result at the end and see how they’ve done.
They also stress that the idea is not a competition. Think of it more as a benchmark, a personal best – or better yet, a community best.
A wise old proverb tells us it takes a village to raise a child. Turns out villages can do a lot for people of all ages.
And as organizers and participants have pointed out, these challenges offer the added beauty of bringing the community together in the old-fashioned sense.