December 2, 2023

Healthy Choice

Healthy Choice The Only Solution

15 minutes of exercise can enhance mood-enhancing effect | Life

City Editor’s note: As part of our ongoing effort to bring you new voices from the community, we’re pleased to present the first column from Cheryl Wiebe, recreation business supervisor for the City of Penticton. While some of her columns will highlight city recreation programs, Wiebe also plans to right more generally about health and fitness.

Have you ever been told that you have a heart condition? When the news hits, you suddenly feel mortal. I was diagnosed with a heart condition in 2021 and just last month my mom had a cardiac event that left us all scared. Both of us are healthy, reasonably fit and of course never expected something like that could happen to us.

When I was diagnosed, I was not meeting recommended physical activity targets. According to the Canadian Health Measures Survey (2018-19), only “one in two Canadian adults aged 18 to 79 meet the most recent recommended target of accumulating 150 minutes per week of moderate to vigorous intensity physical activity.” So I was not alone!

The new year often starts so ambitious. However, entering into mid-February, it is so easy to start to lag in going to the gym and being accountable to those physical activity resolutions.

But February is Heart Month and an opportune time to again reset and reflect on what we can do to improve our health.

The benefits of physical activity are endless — and at the top of that list is lowering your risk of heart disease and stroke. So why is it that 50% of Canadian fail to meet the weekly targets?

Time, motivation, interest, distractions, the excuses are endless. Until our body gives us a strong reminder. It seems we humans are innately lazy since we do not have to hunt and gather anymore.

For me, it is always about finding something I love so that physical activity is not a chore.

Working at the Penticton Community Centre, I have the privilege of seeing people getting active daily – all shapes and sizes; all ages and fitness levels and the one thing I see in common is the smiles.

The Canadian Mental Health Association says that even, “15 minutes of moderate exercise like dancing, yoga, chores around the house or just doing some jumping jacks or push-ups can provide a mood-enhancing effect.” Maybe that’s why smiles abound at the community centre.

The staff at Recreation Penticton work hard to try to provide variety of program offerings.

From sports like basketball, volleyball, pickleball and badminton to traditional fitness classes, dance, yoga, swimming and skating we try to create opportunities that you just might be interested in.

There are also specialty fitness classes like SIRvivor BC: prostate cancer exercise program Osteofit and chronic pain management workshops that can help you in both recovery and rehabilitation.

Even some of our art programs like West African Drumming can get your body moving and help to release those happy endorphins that improve mood, which in turn improves a desire to make healthy choices.

If coming to the community centre is not in your comfort zone, there are other great opportunities in the community such as walking at the SOEC or skating at the Activate Penticton rink adjacent city hall.

We are also so lucky living in Penticton to be able to enjoy the ambient temperatures that surprise us in the middle of winter so we can get outside and into the sun for a walk.

Whatever your pleasure – or choice – I encourage you to get active this February and work toward 150 minutes per week of physical activity. Remember: That is only 21 1/2 minutes a day.

How hard can that really be?

Cheryl Wiebe is the recreation business supervisor for the City of Penticton