According to a 2013 survey by Statistics Canada, only 53% of Albertans living in the South Zone participate in active leisure time physical activity on a regular basis. While that is a lot of people, I can't help but think about the 47% who are not reaching that level of activity. There could be many factors that contribute to their lack of activity, and the Lethbridge Sport Council's sesquicentennial project, 'Lethbridge 2017: Get Active Through Sport' is hoping to help!
Perhaps the 47% don't know what facilities and organizations exist in Lethbridge. Through 52 in 52, participants are encouraged to experience 52 sports in 52 weeks. Working together with local sport organizations, the Lethbridge Sport Council is providing opportunities for participants to attend introductory sport sessions, hosted by local sport organizations.
Maybe the 47% don't have access to the equipment needed to try some activities and sports. Through the #YQLChallenge, participants can learn about the loan-able items that are available at the Lethbridge Public Library, in their equipment collection. The library has a vast resource of equipment, including badminton, baseball, basketball, bocce, croquet, cricket, disc golf, flag football, lawn darts, pickle ball, snowshoes and so much more. As an added bonus, #YQLChallenge participants can access a coupon that will give them $5 off the cost of a new membership or a membership renewal.
It could be that the 47% do not have the funds needed to get active through sport. The Lethbridge Sport Council is working with sport organizations to make the 52 in 52 sport sessions free to attend. Of the 150 things to do in Lethbridge for #YQLChallenge, almost all of them can be done at no cost to the participant. Each activity has its own page on the lethbridge2017.ca website (sorry, website no longer available) with suggestions about how and where you can do the activity, and alternate options for any activities with a cost associated.
Possibly the 47% don't have time to be active. Many of the 150 things to do included in #YQLChallenge are uncomplicated and can be incorporated into other activities. For the sake of their own physical and mental well-being, everyone is encouraged to take the time to be active, whether through sport or other recreational activities.
Perhaps the 47% have physical limitations that prevent them from being active. Lethbridge has several options for adaptive versions of sport, and 52 in 52 will incorporate those whenever we are able. Many of the 150 activities can also be adapted to fit the needs and abilities of differently-abled individuals. Other options can include attending sport events and supporting athletes as a spectator. Through 'Cheer On', Lethbridge Sport Council is helping to connect spectators with events, with a comprehensive sport calendar that can be found on lethbridge2017.ca.
Maybe the 47% need someone to be active with. When you sign up for 52 in 52, you will be automatically added to our contact list and will receive the details about all sport sessions. Most people are signed up to participate by themselves, so you can come meet other people who are also interested in trying new sports and activities. If you join the #YQLChallenge, you can also join a network of other people on our FaceBook group, all working on the same challenge. Most activities are more fun with more people, so participants are encouraged to engage on social media, and encourage each other!
There's a chance the 47% want to be more active but aren't sure where to start or what activity they will enjoy. This is common and understandable. There are so many options to choose from, it's hard to know what you will like without trying it first, and it's natural to hesitate to commit to the time and expense of a class or membership, or the cost of equipment, if you aren't sure you will like to do that activity. That's the great part about 52 in 52 and #YQLChallenge, it gives you the opportunity to try an activity before committing to it. Having access to the loan-able equipment at the Lethbridge Public Library also give people the opportunity to 'try before you buy'.
Possibly the 47% is not aware of the benefits of physical activity or is simply inactive out of habit. Sometimes trying something new, particularly as an adult can be intimidating. Our 52 in 52 sport sessions will offer an introductory level, so it doesn't matter if you've never tried it before, you can try it for your first time with many other people who are also first-timers.
If you don't want to be part of the 47%, we encourage you to visit our website www.lethbridge2017.ca to learn more about 'Lethbridge2017: Get Active Through Sport'. There really is something for everyone, no matter your age, fitness level or goals. Lethbridge 2017: Get Active Through Sport is an initiate from the Lethbridge Sport Council. Families, groups, teams and individuals can sign up for #YQLChallenge, which encourages participants to do 150 activities from a list that has been developed especially for Lethbridge! Anyone can sign up to try 52 sports in 52 weeks at the sport sessions we organize. You can also find and attend sport events you’ve never seen before and CHEER ON by checking our sport event calendar, or be part of our Volunteer Hour Tracker to lend a hand to a sport event or organization! We invite you to register online - recruit friends, involve your family, teammates or co-workers - and engage on social media using #Lethbridge2017. Full details can be found at www.lethbridge2017.ca (sorry, website no longer available)
- Tanya Whipple
Originally published in the Lethbridge Herald on February 3rd, 2017