Town encouraging physical activity for heart month

The Town of Strathmore is encouraging residents to get active and improve cardiovascular health in the spirit of February’s Health Month.

“It is a challenge to encourage community members to get active either walking on the track to see how many laps they can do … how many laps they can swim… and we also are encouraging them to go to a drop-in public skate,” said Lisa Montgomery, Strathmore Motor Products Sport Centre manager.

Mileage in kilometers logged at any of Strathmore’s three recreation facilities will contribute to an overall total per person at the end of the month. Attending scheduled fitness classes will also add to this total.

Montgomery explained the challenge was created to give locals some motivation to get back into fitness following the winter season, as it is easy to not want to be active when the weather gets cold.

“We thought we would create a friendly challenge, which allows people to engage in regular social activity while having the additional benefit of exercise,” she said. “Since heart disease is so prominent in Canada, we thought that celebrating and creating a challenge during heart month would be great.”

Montgomery added she has helped to work on and facilitate similar challenges in Calgary at other facilities, which were part of the inspiration to bring the program to Strathmore.

As of Feb. 13, the program had already seen 42 people registered at the Sports Centre in a wide host of age demographics.

“People are coming every day, they are checking in, they tell us when they are going to miss a day, they look forward to seeing their peers and there is a little friendly competition between some people to see who can walk the furthest,” said Montgomery. “It is huge for people’s mental health because not only are they getting the positive effects of having exercise, but they are also connecting with peers and coming out and having that social aspect (which) is really important to everybody.”

There will be a prize at the end of the month which has yet to be announced by the town or by the Sports Centre.

The person who achieves the highest milage between their activities at the Sports Centre, pool, and free skates will be awarded a grand prize. A second and third place prize is also available.

Montgomery added this is a program she hopes to see return on an annual basis to encourage the community to resume healthy activities as winter draws to a close.

John Watson, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Strathmore Times