New public awareness campaign aims to boost movement

By Steve Gow

A Halifax-based organization is attempting to get people to add more movement to their daily lives.

Whether it’s introducing more outdoor walks or shovelling snow off the sidewalk or even consciously stretching throughout the day, The Healthy Tomorrow Foundation wants Nova Scotians to know that adding more movement to their day can help them feel better.

“The more you move, the more energy you have and so the more you move,” simply notes executive director Kerry Copeland about the positive aspects of The Healthy Tomorrow Foundation’s new Make Your Move campaign.

Launched last year, the campaign intends to encourage Nova Scotians to think differently about movement and recognize that even smaller efforts can contribute to one’s overall health.

In fact, the Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology's most recent Canadian 24-Hour Movement Guidelines has outlined that “for the first time, the guidelines call out that light physical activity, including standing, matter too.”

“It’s a pretty big jump to ask somebody who is sedentary all of their waking hours to start running or go to they gym but this type of movement is something that we can all do, regardless of those barriers,” says Copeland, adding that more movement can be as simple as cycling, working in the yard or getting off the bus one or two stops early and walking the extra distance.

“Let’s say you jog half an hour a day — if you are sedentary for the rest of the day, you are incurring negative health impacts which that half an hour jog doesn’t mitigate,” continues Copeland. “(So) all these little bits of movement we can add are what will allow us to experience those health benefits.”

With the Make Your Move campaign, The Healthy Tomorrow Foundation is particularly targeting women between the ages of 40 and 60 as one of the least active segments of Nova Scotia’s population.

That demographic is represented in the campaign's television commercial, which promotes the simple message, “the best piece of exercise equipment is you!”

“If we are trying to get people who are inactive active, there’s no point in saying to them, start running or go to the gym because they’re just not going to do it,” adds Copeland. “It’s too big a leap but this type of activity is much more obtainable and accessible to them so we’re hoping that everyone will hear this message but particularly those who are not being very active, this is really accessible to them.”

The Make Your Move campaign comes at a significant time as well. With the COVID-19 pandemic on the verge of starting a third year that could possibly bring with it even more lockdowns and people working from home, many Nova Scotians have become increasingly sedentary in their everyday lives.

“We have been trying to get people active for many, many years because there are health benefits incurred with getting active,” says Copeland. “(But) in terms of COVID, for sure we’ve seen that clearly people are starting to embrace some of that activity especially when it involves getting outdoors, making connections with people — it’s more important now than ever.”

For more information on the Make Your Move campaign, visit the website.

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