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Health unit urges families to get active

The Northwestern Health Unit has released a new program encouraging families to be more active this summer.

The program, called “The Summer Family Play Pass,” has over 100 activities for families to take part in.

The challenge is measured by a point system, where each activity on the play pass represents one point.

Families who complete at least 30 activities between the program’s start date of July 1 until Aug. 21, will receive medals, certificates and be eligible for various prizes.

Elaine Fischer, physical activity health promoter at the health unit, said the program was created to combat against decreasing physical activity statistics.

“Adult and kids physical activity levels are at an all-time low. Less than 15 percent of adults and less than 10 percent of kids are currently meeting the guidelines for physical activity,” she explained.

“The 'Family Play Pass' provides easy activities and ideas to get up and move . . . The goal is to get families to pick an activity and try to do one thing every day,” added Fischer.

“Small steps can lead to better health.”

The health unit first went about promoting their program on Mall Day (June 30), handing out play passes to over 50 families and since then have been using other methods such as their Facebook page and website to get the word out.

Emo resident Jenn Marr heard about it on Facebook and decided to participate in the program with her husband, Dave, and two boys, Benjamin and Andrew.

“This is the first time we’ve done a challenge like this,” she noted

“I think our boys are finally at the right age,” added Marr. “They were a little bit younger before and something like this would have came up and I don’t know if I would have participated in it, but they are both at the perfect age right now.”

Marr noted that her kids are generally pretty active, but she likes the challenge because the activities stray from things her family does every day.

“It gave us different options and it makes me think of things that we wouldn’t normally do,” she said.

“It kind of gets you out of your comfort zone.”

With not even a month into the challenge, the family has completed over 36 activities ranging from swimming to fishing, even baking together.

Marr explained the challenge is also a fun way to teach her kids valuable life lessons such as staying active, cooking, and eating healthy.

“Hopefully this is something for them that builds up to the kind of lifestyle that they want . . . It’s good for them to stay healthy,” she stressed.

“It’s a fun opportunity to teach them something that doesn’t make it feel like they are in the classroom, learning something,” added Marr. “We can constantly be outside, teaching them how to fish, going camping, life skills—you know, things like that.”

Those who are interested in participating in the health unit’s “Summer Family Play Pass” program can still pick up a play pass at the health unit or print one out from its website at www.nwhu.on.ca

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