Statistics show that Canadian children and youth are increasingly sedentary. By their early teens they are dropping out of sport and activity in large numbers. The trend is especially big — and worrisome — among girls.
A company in Winnipeg wants to reverse that trend. For summer 2016, FIT Communications has released the Fitness Journal for Girls to get more girls active in new ways, and to encourage them to stay active throughout the year.
The Fitness Journal takes an innovative approach. It’s a 30-page spiral-bound book containing weekly physical activity challenges throughout the summer, coupons, personal fun-fact surveys, and pages for reflective writing. In short, it’s the sort of activity book with proven appeal among the pre-teens, tweens, and early teen girls most at risk of becoming sedentary.
For summer 2016, the Fitness Journal encourages girls ages 5 to 15 to try a wide variety of new sports and activities around Winnipeg. It presents a two-page summer calendar with weekly activity challenges and chances to win associated prizes.
“Each week there’s a different business sponsoring that weekly challenge,” said FIT’s Andrea Katz. “For example, Tennis Manitoba is sponsoring the first week in July. They are going to have an open session where girls can come and try tennis for free. They can meet with some of the pros, learn how to hit, and find out more information about tennis.”
In an interview with AfL, Katz said that there will be prizes, too. “Everyone who comes down to try it gets entered into a prize draw to win an eight-week tennis camp for them and a friend,” she said. “They’re also going to win tennis racquets to go with it, so they’re totally outfitted and able to practice a sport that maybe wasn’t going to be an opportunity otherwise.”
Over twenty like-minded Winnipeg businesses and sport organizations have participated in creating the journal, providing summer challenges and program discounts for girls who purchase the book. All of them want to encourage girls to stay active in sport, fitness, and health.
“Aqua Essence Swim Academy is another supporter,” said Katz. “Their challenge is to go out and swim at a public pool, lake, backyard pool, or wherever you can find a body of water. Just go for a swim, check off the challenge in your book, and then let us know through social media or email, and we’ll pick a winner. They will receive a prize pack from Aqua Essence Swim Academy, together with a gift certificate for a sporting goods store, so they can buy a swimsuit, or sneakers, or whatever they need.”
Other summer challenges and sponsored activities include kickboxing, triathlon, wakeboarding, CrossFit, ringette, and more.
But the activity journal also has a life beyond summer 2016. It provides a year-round guide to everything fun and fitness in Winnipeg, and it provides further pages for journaling and self-discovery.
“There’s a page on goal setting, why it is important, how to do it … and it offers some goals that you might want to think about setting,” said Katz. “There’s another page that asks you to list your top ten favourite things about yourself, so there’s a self-esteem element as well.”
“There’s a really big variety of things for girls to do with the book,” she added, “so it encourages them to hold onto it throughout the year and to stay active and write about their experiences.”
The cost of the Fitness Journal for Girls is $20, taxes and shipping included. It can be purchased either online at FIT Communications or at Aevi Boutique at 1580 Taylor Avenue in Winnipeg.