Canadian sports icon Nancy Greene Raine - on the South Shore to promote National Health and Fitness Day - says it doesn't take much effort to make a big difference in one's activity regime to curb sedentary habits.
The decorated Olympic skier and recently retired Canadian Senator said it can be as easy as gardening, mowing the lawn or going for a walk. "It doesn't have to be competitive sport and it certainly doesn't have to be expensive," said the 75-year-old, speaking June 2 to LighthouseNOW in Lunenburg.
"It isn't difficult to change habits. You can do something like parking two blocks away from where you work and walking those few blocks. You can put it in your mind that you can walk in all kinds of weather ... one of the best things to do is get a Fitbit or a step counter - most cell phones have those apps - and then you start to realize if you give yourself a target of steps it changes things."
Greene Raine sponsored the 2014 initiative that promotes the day of health and fitness on every first Saturday in June. She was in Queens County later in the day and joined Mayor David Dagley for a community walk in Pine Grove Park in Milton to mark the occasion.
Greene Raine is also behind a bill to change the Food and Drugs Act that, if passed, would prohibit the marketing of junk food to children under age 13. The legislation has reached Third Reading in the House of Commons.
"Right now kids, for many years, they've been a bit brain-washed into wanting things that aren't healthy for them," she told LighthouseNOW. "I personally think it's up to the parents to make those decisions; they shouldn't be pestered by their kids."
She was a member of the Senate Committee on Social Affairs that commissioned a study on the rising rates of obesity in Canada and found that obesity rates in Canada had tripled since 1980. The report indicated one of three children between the ages of five and 17 are either overweight or obese.
The goal of National Health and Fitness Day, she said, is to make Canada the fittest nation on earth.