Encouraging to Reach for Fitness

by RayM on May 11, 2015 - 9:01pm

             During the past few weeks, I have been reading and summarizing news articles about physical activity and health. In fact, it was proven that obesity was due to the lack of exercise and the lack of a healthy diet. Obesity rates have increased rapidly in a short period of time. To put you in perspective, one in four Canadians are obese (Super-Sized 2). Also, obesity rates have increased from 25 to 35 percent for women and from 20 to 35 percent for men between 1988 and 2010 (You Are What You Eat 2). These are extremely alarming statistics, because with the increase in obesity rates, there comes an increase of people who have higher health risks. The effects of obesity can be heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol levels (Super-Sized 4). The most important solution to this problem is physical activity and a healthy diet.

            Unfortunately, there are some vulnerable groups in society that do not necessarily realize that physical activity and healthy eating is key to living a fit life. All they need is encouragement from people who surround them! In fact, one group of people who need more encouragement than others are children with special needs, which is why the volunteering I decided to do involved spending a few hours encouraging children with special needs to get more active.

            The volunteering opportunity that I took part in with other students was an activity coordinated by REACH, a school for children with special needs, and Champlain College Saint-Lambert. At Champlain, there was two groups participating: the F.A.C.T. club and the Grand Défi Pierre Lavoie group (GDPL). As I am part of the GDPL group, I personally got involved with this event that took place on April 15th, 2015, because I believe that it is important to encourage others, especially those who need it more than others. There is another student, Mahmoud Sabsabi, that is a member of the F.A.C.T. club who took part in this volunteer opportunity and is writing a post on it on News Activist as well.

            On April 15th, the students from REACH visited Champlain College Saint-Lambert for a few hours during the day to play games and activities to promote physical activity and healthy living. The volunteers from F.A.C.T and GDPL welcomed the students with food, and then, they all went to the gymnasium to perform sprints, long jumps and other activities!

            To take this event further, Mahmoud Sabsabi and I have taken the initiative to create a Facebook page and a Tumblr blog page dedicated to this collaborative event between REACH and Champlain, which we have named “Reach for Fitness”. With these two websites, we hope that this event continues on at least twice every year; these websites are also databases where pictures of the event can be found and documented for future reference. The administrative roles of the Facebook page will be passed on through Champlain College throughout the years by Student Services to make sure that the event does not get forgotten.

            Unfortunately, the Facebook and Tumblr pages are not completely done, because we have encountered a few difficulties. I believe it is important to mention to readers, because if ever someone decides to participate in volunteering opportunities, it would be an interesting tip to know ahead of time! We were planning on taking the pictures from the event to publish them on the two websites, but had forgotten to think about the photo publishing issues that came with it. Therefore, all we are waiting for to complete the Facebook and Tumblr page are the filled out consent forms from the REACH students’ parents. Although the websites are not completely finished, they are created and ready for future use.

            With this initiative, I hope that some will be inspired to take on a healthier lifestyle and will encourage others to do so as well!


News Summary Link 1: http://newsactivist.com/en/news-summary/flacks-newsactivist-winter-2015-complementary-course/you-are-what-you-eat-or-not

News Summary Link 2: http://newsactivist.com/en/news-summary/flacks-newsactivist-winter-2015-complementary-course/super-sized

Link to Mahmoud’s article: http://newsactivist.com/en/flacks-newsactivist-winter-2015-complementary-course/volunteer-opportunity/building-bridges

Link to Reach for Fitness Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/REACH-for-Fitness/478241392323080?fref=ts

Link to Reach for Fitness Tumblr page: http://www.thefittogetherchallenge.tumblr.com/ReachforFitness


I think that you’re initiative to encourage and motivate others to attain a healthy, fit lifestyle is great. These obesity rates are clearly reaching obscene levels and we need more people to promote physical activity and healthy living. As stated, obesity can lead to severe health consequences like coronary heart disease, type 2 diabetes, cancers, hypertension, dyslipidemia, etc. Additionally, staying physically active helps you sleep better, slows the aging process, builds and maintains healthy muscles, bones and joints, strengthens and boosts immune system, increases energy, reduces anxiety and depression and the risk of numerous diseases. It is proven to help academic performance and improve concentration. Obesity and health related problems have a financial toll also. The United States approximately $147 billion on medical in 2008.

The problem can be addressed in several ways, starting with schools. I believe schools should provide healthier food to students and demand more of students in gym classes. Furthermore, we should be educated of the benefits of health and physical activity. Vending machines should be ridded of their chocolate bars and chips and replaced with fruits and vegetables. Communities should encourage biking, jogging and public transportation as forms of transportation. Marathons and races can be organized as monthly occurrences and prices awarded to those who have shown excellent performance, improvement and sportsmanship.

I didn't realize how big of an issue obesity has become over the years. The fact that one in four Canadians are obese is ridiculous, especially because they know that the consequences are severe. "The effects of obesity can be heart disease, Type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure." When I read this I was very shocked. It kind of reminded me of smoking as people aren't doing anything about the issue and they know the severe consequences.
It's not always the fault of the person though because at times they just have a disease which makes them a victim. Unfortunately there is a large vulnerable group of people who don't realize that the key to living a fit life is to exercise and eat healthy. Someone needs to educate these people on what they should do to prevent coming obese. Or we should tackle the problem earlier and educate kids more in school how to live a healthy life and prevent of becoming obese.

I have also conducted research on obesity and I completed my final paper on the subject. I believe that this is an alarming issue that needs to be addressed seriously. Throughout my research I noticed that the rates have risen considerably and the trend is continuing especially in North America. However, psychologists, doctors and dieticians believe that to counter this epidemic we need to focus on behavioral changes instead of a dietary approach. If you want further information here is the link to my research paper. http://newsactivist.com/en/articles/flacks-newsactivist-winter-2015-comp.... I fully encourage your initiative with your Facebook page and your volunteering. Continue the good work!

I think your volunteer activity focuses on one of the main issue today concerning our lifestyle. We lack physical activity and good eating habits. This contributes to the problem of obesity and other important cardiovascular problems. By focusing on the problem of physical activity I think your volunteering can help solve or at least encourage people in participating in some physical activity. The fact that close to 1/3 of Canadians are now obese is quite shocking. In general the problem needs to be tackled. Your approach seems to include raising awareness along with promoting a healthy life style. Without being aware of the problem, nothing can be done. I wish you good luck in the continuation of this project.


I believe your post to be very interesting in a way that it is informing many people about this issue. I say issue because it is one; the obesity rates that you included are really alarming, and those statistics are only for adults. So, I believe that when it comes to children, they are even more clueless about the consequences than adults. With that, you volunteering to help children with special needs is even more amazing. Why I feel like you did such a great job with this is because you did not only write about it, but you actually did volunteer to help them be more healthy and active and plus, you even created a Facebook page and a Tumblr. With those pages, it will be possible for others to get more involved and it will also inform them about obesity and its consequences and effects. People need to wake up and realize that obesity is a major issue in this world, and they need to start living a healthy and more active lifestyle.

As you have mentioned in the description of your volunteer work, obesity has become a very serious issue in our society. Personally, I find it very striking that one in four Canadians is considered as obese, as well as how obesity can lead to many . However, these numbers are not immune to change. Achieving a healthy lifestyle can be a very challenging milestone for many people and the motivation to achieve such a goal is not always easy to develop. To volunteer at an event that aims to promotes healthy lifestyles is very remarkable. In addition to health issues and achieving a healthy lifestyle, the marketing of fast foods also plays a large role in the issue of obesity. The following article provides a greater understanding of how fast food companies greatly influence food choices of America consumers.

“Don’t Blame the Eater” by David Zinczenko: http://www.nytimes.com/2002/11/23/opinion/don-t-blame-the-eater.html

We all know the issue of obesity and its extent in Occidental societies, but we never really saw the problems it causes to the ones in need. I always thought that dealing with obesity is simple: physical activity is the key and being lazy or poor prevent us from doing some. However, I never ever thought about the ones who need help to avoid or overcome obesity. Not only you helped them, but you also took it to another level with the blog, Facebook page and Tumblr, when it was not even asked of you. Encouraging others to act is the best way to change things. I personally participate in volunteering activities when I see them on Facebook (events), because the number of people ''going'' can be seen. This way, I know the event is important to some extent, and my participation will not be useless. I encourage you to continue.
In the future, we can change as a society by making healthy product cheaper for example. It is simply ridiculous that a burger costs 2$ while a salad costs 5$, or that vending machines are filled with chocolate and chips. Schools can encourage this type of change in the cafeteria also.

I really appreciate the fact that you focused on fitness for your volunteering project, as it is something I wrote a lot about over the past month. There is a definite lack of "good" physical education in the school system in my opinion and working towards encouraging fitness is where we should focus. Being healthy is a lifestyle and we can only achieve the adoption of such a lifestyle by introducing more people earlier to sports. I feel as if the fight for a "fitter" Canada begins with programs such as this. School is such an amazing medium for communicating such information so why not use it to our advantage? If you wanted to continue in this prospect, you could also include some material to educate some people on diet, as it is also a big part of remaining healthy!