National Health and Fitness Day – June 2, 2018Posted on May 30, 2018
The National Health and Fitness Day Act was passed in 2014, designating the first Saturday in June as National Health and Fitness Day (NHFD). NHFD is intended to draw attention to declining rates of physical activity and increasing rates of preventable illness, and ultimately encourage Canadians to reap the benefits of active living. This year, more than 350 communities across the country have proclaimed the day and will host events on June 2nd to celebrate and promote the use of local health, recreational, sports and fitness facilities.
A quick look at national participation rates reinforces the need for action:
- Only 18% of adults meet the current physical activity guidelines (150 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity per week) (Statistics Canada, 2017a).
- Only 30% of children and youth meet the current physical activity guidelines (average of 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity per day) (Statistics Canada Infographic, 2017b).
Tips for Families
Families can use NHFD as inspiration to be physically active this weekend:
1. Get active together – Research confirms the importance of parent role modeling and support on the physical activity of their children (Garriguet, Colley & Bushnick, 2017). This weekend, when the kids go outside to play, go with them!
2. Try something new – Take advantage of NHFD community events to try something new. Challenge yourselves in a new sport or physical activity, or visit a new facility (e.g., a pool, park/conservation area, recreation complex, or climbing wall). Think outside the box, and perhaps you’ll find your family’s new go-to activity!
3. Make it last – One day of physical activity is a good place to start…but to experience the health benefits of physical activity you have to keep it going! Consider creating a Family Physical Activity Policy to set goals and hold each other accountable for achieving the recommendations for physical activity each week.
The goal of NHFD is to make Canada the fittest nation on earth. Every step counts!
24-Hour Movement Guidelines, Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology
Family Physical Activity Policy, Saskatchewan in motion
Garriguet, D., Colley, R. & Bushnik, T. (2017), Parent-child association in physical activity and sedentary behavior. Health Report. June 21:28(6), 3-11.
Statistics Canada (2017a). Canadian Health Measures Survey: Activity Monitor Data. Ottawa, ON: Statistics Canada.
Statistics Canada (2017b). Physical Activity of Children and Youth Infographic. Ottawa, ON: Statistics Canada.
About the Author: As SIRC’s Content Manager, Sydney Millar solicits, supports and curates content from researchers, experts and thought leaders from the broad sport and physical activity sector. To this position, Sydney lends her experience collaborating with communities and organizations across Canada to create quality programs and inclusive environments that support participation in sport and physical activity.