Give the sporting world a try - it's easier than you think. I had the great fortune this past August to attend the London 2012 Olympics, where I got to interview Canadian Olympians - and their moms, as part of Procter & Gamble's Thank You Mom campaign. I learned a lot about what it takes to be an athlete, and what it takes to raise a sport-loving child. The message from all of the Olympic moms I met was the same: "Encourage your children to be active, doing whatever he or she loves. Active kids are happy kids." And the same goes for teens and adults. Another thing I learned during the London Olympics: the benefits of sports go way beyond the physical! A sense of well-being, boosted self-esteem, less stress - and a social connection with others are just a few of the positive spinoffs. (You can't get all that out of magical pill.) Olympic kayaker Adam Van Koeverden, who's won multiple Olympic medals, reinforced the role of sport and activity:
• "As a society, we must put the fun back into fitness. [caption id="attachment_2890" align="aligncenter" width="300"] Canadian Olympic medalist Adam Van Koeverden: Put fun back into physical activity (Photo: Doug O'Neill)[/caption]I turn this week's health blog post over to a younger, fitter individual: our graduate student intern Emma Nicholson. From guest blogger Emma Nicholson: Saturday, Sept. 29, is your day to get sporty. That's when communities all across the country will celebrate Sports Day in Canada . Organizations and schools will host sporting events, open houses and competitions to encourage participation at all skill levels. But you can also follow the excitement and get active in your own community. Encouraging participation is important, as activity in sports has decreased drastically in Canada over the past 20 years. Youth involvement has fallen from 77 per cent to 59 per cent and adult involvement from 45 per cent to 28 per cent. While these statistics are shocking, I can’t judge – I am guilty too. I was active in sports growing up, participating in track and field, cross-country, soccer, and dance. But when I started university, I felt like my lack of varsity-level skills meant I couldn’t play anymore. Even though I’ve remained physically active at the gym, I’ve missed the excitement and camaraderie of organized sports. Sports Day is here to turn those stats around. Here are 5 easy ways you can make that happen: 1. Search for an event in your community. I’m excited to visit an open house and pick up the basics of a new sport such as lawn bowling. 2. Kick-start your own game: No organized event in your neighbourhood? No sweat. Gather some friends for a pick-up soccer or tennis game in a local park. Tweet photos of you and your friends being active with the hashtag #SportsDay 3. Show off your love of the game. Wear your favourite sports uniform on National Jersey Day on Friday, Sept. 28. You’ll find me in my Western Mustangs football jersey! 4. Tune in to the rest of Canada: Find out how your fellow Canadians are marking Sports Day by watching the live video streaming of events on CBC Sports 5.Keep the momentum going. Find creative ways to work sports into your life by signing up for an activity like boxing or volleyball. I’m inspired to bring back my love of sports by joining a women’s recreational soccer team . I'm taking the challenge to get sporty. What about you?
•••• Fitness minded teachers and role models: "PhysEd and fitness programs in schools across Canada are only good if you have good teachers, good role models. Fitness programs don't work if you've got a teacher who's really not into it."