Letters to the Editor

10,000 steps to healthy life

Ladysmith’s mayor is being challenged in a battle of strides by Vancouver Island Health Authority’s CEO.

Running shoes are being dusted off as Howard Waldner takes on Mayor Rob Hutchins in the 10,000 Steps for Wellness campaign. After promoting an in-company campaign, VIHA employees extended the pedometer challenge to other communities. Ladysmith Parks, Recreation and Culture have picked up the baton.

“All you need to do is get out,” said the department’s community programmer Anita McLeod.

As of Jan.. 8, participants were encouraged to take 10,000 steps a day for four weeks. Ladysmith’s recreation centre has 100 pedometers, as well as, step logs and evaluation sheets available to help track progress.

The personal challenge event comes complete with a chart converting other activities, such as hockey or gardening, into steps.

“We are trying to encourage people to walk everyday,” McLeod said.

VIHA estimates 10,000 steps, five days a week reduces people’s chances of getting chronic disease.

Fewer than 5,000 steps a day indicate a sedentary lifestyle.

Since 2003, more than 412,500 adult Canadians have joined the ranks of the obese.

By 2011, that number is predicted to bulge to 1.1 million Canadians. Health Canada states obesity by age 40 cuts back women’s life expectancy by 7.1 years, while men lose 5.8 years.

McLeod said the recreation centre is working hard to get Ladysmith active.

“We want people to know they can come up and talk to our fitness staff and it doesn’t cost anything,” McLeod said. “We want to be seen as a resource, we are paid for by a public purse.”

Sixty people are currently counting their steps and there is still time to join in. 10,000 Steps to Wellness will wrap up on Feb. 9 and a variety of prizes will be awarded.

“It is very important that we incorporate physical activity into our daily routines, both at work and at home. Research shows that increased physical activity levels can reduce stress and decrease an individual’s risk of chronic diseases,” Waldner said in a press release.

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