Some lessons sink in later

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Why wait till spring? That would be a good motto for the growing number of fitness challenges in Nova Scotia communities, encouraging people to stay active during the winter months.

Activity does love company, after all, so calling on your neighbours to join the fun and issuing a friendly challenge to communities nearby to log their hours are ways to avoid the temptation of putting off those healthier habits until the weather improves.

People do have a tendency to put things off – something the Heart and Stroke Foundation would like us to know when it comes to fitness and good health. And it’s not just a seasonal thing.

Baby boomers – the country’s largest demographic – as they line up for retirement years apparently have quite a rosy view of what those years should be like, according to a report from the foundation. The bulk of respondents to an online survey see themselves enjoying their newly won comfort in a state of good health.

But the survey suggests they aren’t necessarily being realistic about their genuine health status in terms of what they eat, whether they indulge in certain unhealthy habits and their overall activity level.

One message the foundation would like to get across in view of this is that long life and good health don’t always go hand-in-hand. Latter years can be beset with a deterioration in health.

What Canadians should know, says cardiologist and foundation spokeswoman Dr. Beth Abramson, is that they will benefit by such simple things as household chores and incorporating more walking into their daily routine. They should also increase their consumption of fruits and vegetables and cut down on alcohol and tobacco consumption.

These small communities with their fitness challenges and rec groups have got it right to use fun local events and scheduled activities to get people up off the sofa. Getting healthier is as simple as getting moving – one step at a time, but it has to start today.

Organizations: Heart and Stroke Foundation

Geographic location: Nova Scotia

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