As part of the 2020 National Kinesiology Week, kinesiologists want to help Canadians develop strategies to move better and live better for their mental and physical health.
As part of the 2020 National Kinesiology Week, presented by Hexfit, that takes place from November 23 to 29, the Canadian Kinesiology Alliance wishes to remind Canadians that staying physically active is more important than ever during the COVID-19 pandemic. As many Canadians will agree, the first wave took everyone by surprise and for many led to increased stress, anxiety, depression, a sedentary lifestyle and weight gain. Knowing that happiness can improve the immune system and that obesity is one of the main factors leading to complications related to the coronavirus, maintaining a healthy lifestyle is key and kinesiologists can help support both physical and mental health.
IMPROVING MENTAL HEALTH THROUGH PHYSICAL ACTIVITY
According to the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, the number of Canadians who have reported feeling depressed or anxious about the impact of COVID-19 has increased again this Fall, getting closer to the same level of last Spring1. In these stressful times, many might be tempted to resort to old patterns like overeating, binge-watching television series or increasing the use of tobacco, alcohol or drugs in order to relieve anxiety. All of these represent attempts to take your mind off your worries, or in some instinctual way, alter the brain’s chemistry. However, there is one sure-fire strategy for reducing stress and improving mood that also yields positive long-term effect that are even more conducive to happiness: physical activity. Unfortunately, data shows that half of Canadians affected by a mood or anxiety disorder do not exercise on a regular basis.2
People who walk, run, bike or engage in some other form of physical activity, generally feel happier and less anxious. In addition to having more energy, physically active people get a sense of accomplishment from meeting personal fitness goals and pride in the improved physical appearance that comes from hours of training. Moreover, getting outdoors to train on a nice day is also known to stimulate the mind.
“Knowing the intense emotions we are experiencing in time of the COVID-19, we urge Canadians to find ways to include physical activities in their daily routines,” notes the president of the Canadian Kinesiology Alliance, Kathie Sharkey R.Kin. “Exercise is accessible to everyone and has health benefits that go beyond mental health.”
CONTROLLING WEIGHT GAIN
A recent study from the United Kingdom found that about a third of the people surveyed gained weight during the first confinement3 and many indicators show that Canadians probably followed suit. This should be of major concern since, in addition to increasing the risk for type 2 diabetes, stroke, heart disease, hypertension and a number of other health issues, obesity is among the underlying conditions that can put people at a higher risk of developing more severe cases of COVID-19.4
KEEPING FIT DURING THE PANDEMIC
Testing and vaccines are not in our control. How we eat, how we move, and how easily we slip back into old personal habits are. However, with the current coronavirus pandemic come increased challenges to maintaining a physically active lifestyle. Gyms across the country are now less accessible and, with winter nearly upon us, many people are concerned that their level of physical activity will drop significantly.
“Since moderate-intensity physical activity is associated with a healthier immune system, lower levels of anxiety and weight control, kinesiologists can play a key role in supporting their clients in these stressful times,” adds Sharkey. “They can also help develop a personalized plan that will take into consideration the public health restrictions linked to COVID-19.”
CHALLENGING YOUR BODY AND YOUR BRAIN
The 2020 National Kinesiology Week is the perfect time to be active and to discover how a kinesiologist can help you:
- Participate in the eMentalFitChallenge to find mental health strategies through physical activity;
- Take part in the MoveBetterChallenge! Log your exercise minutes and/or kilometres to be part of a national cumulative challenge;
- Enter the contests to have a chance to win amazing prizes;
- Share the “A day in the life of a kin” posts series on Facebook (@CdnKinesiology) to find out what kinesiologists do for their clients and how one can help you;
- Follow the daily webinars broadcast on Facebook (@CdnKinesiology) where you will find answers to “all you wanted to know about kinesiology” and how to increase your level of physical activity;
- Find events happening near you by visiting www.nationalkinesiologyweek.ca. Kinesiologists in each province are organizing webinars and other activities.
ADOPTING WAYS TO STAY ACTIVE
- Fit 2, 5, 10 or 20 minutes of activity into your schedule. Every active minute counts!
- Use telecommuting to your advantage by converting travel time into a brisk walk in your neighborhood.
- Use interval training to get an effective workout when you are short on time.
- Follow an exercise or strength training video or download an app.
- When watching TV, get up during every commercial to climb stairs or do an active chore.
- Dance to your favourite music while doing the dishes or play a game of Just Dance with your family.
- Take a walk, instead of using your car, when running errands close to home.
- Ask a kinesiologist to develop a program specifically designed to fit your personal lifestyle and interests. You can start with a simple conversation to see how they can help. If you decide to sign up for a program, know that most insurance companies will cover the costs.
THE CANADIAN KINESIOLOGY ALLIANCE
Kinesiologists are human-movement specialists. As trained health professionals, they use the science of exercise and movement to promote health and well-being; prevent, manage and rehabilitate chronic conditions; restore function and optimize human performance in the workplace, clinical settings, sports and fitness. They work with people of all ages and with physical abilities, in many settings, in order to improve the quality of life, often by using interventions that include physical activity.