Editor’s note: This post was updated June 1, 2020.
In Canada, the first Saturday in June is officially recognized as National Health and Fitness Day, marked by events from coast to coast aimed at helping families to get up, get out, and get active. This year, however, will be a little different. With pandemic-related restrictions limiting participation in group activities, Canadians will instead celebrate closer to home.
“In past years we’ve held events all over the country, and obviously we couldn’t do that this year,” says Pierre Lafontaine, chair of the NHFD. “So we’ve taken everything online. Whether it’s Zumba or a boot camp or a yoga class, now everybody will be participating remotely.”
On Saturday, June 6, 2020, you can get active at home, in nature, or enjoy sports that maintain physical distance from non-family members, such as tennis, golf, or kayaking. Or, if you’re looking for some new ideas, why not try one of the many virtual National Health and Fitness Day events.
In collaboration with many partners, there will be a day full of virtual workouts, workshops using the best elliptical bike combo, and ways to be active. Here are some of the virtual events planned this year:
All day: Virtual fitness classes on YouTube – The Fitness Industry Council of Canada will be streaming 20-minute fitness sessions from member clubs over Zoom, presented live through FIC’s YouTube channel. Between each session, FIC will also interview leaders dedicated to health and wellness.
11 a.m. ET: Free virtual HIIT fitness class – Presented by Exercise is Medicine Canada, certified instructor Lauren Voss will present a virtual high-intensity interval training (HIIT) class. The 30-minute class features body-weight exercises that are appropriate for all levels of fitness and experience. Tune in live on EIMC’s Instagram page.
11 a.m. ET: 20-minute YGym session – Join the YMCA’s Coach Gemma for a fun YGym class! Gemma will be walking you through an obstacle course for the whole family that you can do both indoors or outdoors. Download the obstacle course template [PDF] ahead of time so you can prepare your course and follow along with Gemma. Get creative with chalk, painters tape, rope, and hula hoops to create your obstacle course.
12 p.m. ET: National Health and Fitness Day Fit Break – ParticipACTION will celebrate National Health and Fitness Day with a very special Saturday edition of its Fit Break at noon (find it on the ParticipACTION Facebook page) to help keep Canada active & healthy.
12 p.m. ET: Champion Chats – The Canadian Olympic Committee presents a special edition of the weekly Champion Chats featuring Team Canada athletes.
12 p.m. ET: MoveCollective Fitness MashUp – MoveCamp presents Canada’s largest collaborative online live event workout, with top health and fitness professionals from across the country coming together to create a unique one-hour workout for all fitness levels. The fun continues all day on MoveCamp’s Instagram account, with interactive live online workouts, seminars, and movement sessions with Canada’s leading fitness professionals.
2 p.m. ET: YMCA 25-minute low-impact bodyweight workout – Join Amy for a fun low impact workout suitable for those new to fitness! There will be lots of variety with intervals to build cardiovascular fitness, strength, and balance. No equipment required!
Even more events can be found on the NHFD website.
Physical activity not only helps us stay fit, but it also helps reduce anxiety and builds our immune system, which helps us cope during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“With devices these days, kids sitting inside watching screens, all the sedentary behaviour associated with video games, we’ve been getting progressively less active and that has led to an epidemic of obesity,” says Olympic champion skier Nancy Greene Raine, one of the leading voices behind NHFD.
“There is no silver bullet to fixing obesity, but we do know that regular exercise has a multitude of benefits. That’s why campaigns like this are so important.”
Related read: Ask an expert: How to get kids more active at home?
Here are a few more resources for ideas for activities to do at home with your family on National Health and Fitness Day:
- Active for Life’s searchable activities
- Physical Health & Education Canada’s Home Learning Centre
- ParticipACTION app (download on Apple App Store or Google Play)
- YMCA Healthy Play series
- Virtual YMCA workouts
Canadians are encouraged to post a photo or video on social media showing how they’re getting out and getting active. To participate, share what your family is doing on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter with the hashtags #NHFD2020 and #GetActiveCanada.