by Lara Gladych –
Seaside Magazine wants to live up to our slogan of being “the voice of the Saanich Peninsula,” so, in every issue, we’ll be asking people to answer a simple question. We’re looking for responses from all ages and across the diverse neighbourhoods that form our community.
In this issue, health and wellness is the focus, so I asked people: “Do you have any health or wellness resolutions for the coming year?”
I started off at Panorama Recreation Centre.
Adam, 38, is the first passerby. “To get in better shape. My wife bought me a Fitbit for Christmas,” he responds. “It tracks my steps and my calories, and I can see which days I’ve been really active and which days I haven’t. I’ve always been active, but I’m more cognizant of it now. I’m in the office 95 percent of the time, so this thing goes red when I’ve been sitting for too long.” Adam gives me a brief tutorial on the Fitbit, along with the app he’s using with it.
Mason, 18, says: “I had a goal in mind to lose 25 pounds by April, and I can see myself doing that if I work hard and have the perseverance.”
Mike’s candor makes me laugh. He’s 56. I ask about health and wellness resolutions. “To be the best I can be. No false ones.” When I ask how he’s going to achieve this, he says: “by trying to keep short-term goals.” Fitness goals, I ask? “Partly. Health and lifestyle goals. Liposuction if this doesn’t work!”
On my second day of interviews I decided to change the wording of my question. I got rid of “resolutions” and started using “goals” instead. I stopped people as they were exiting the fitness class I attend.
Sheila, 46, answers pensively. “To watch what I eat, exercise more, and take better care of myself instead of always worrying about everybody else.” Brent is challenging himself to do three “active” activities per week. This might include hockey, or bike riding. He, too, is 46.
I ask Cathy about health and wellness goals. “I want to stress less about my weight, and focus more on my physical strength and fitness.” At 53, she has recently lost a close friend to cancer, and she shares that her friend’s great regret at the end was that she had wasted so much time worrying about the extra 20 pounds she carried, wising she had spent that time enjoying her life instead.
I then speak with Heather. She’s 43, and she tells me that she has a New Year’s resolution “to live in the moment and appreciate every day. It seeps into everything. Being grateful that my body is working, and grateful that I don’t have very much pain.” Oh, and she wants to eat more fruits and vegetables.
Lastly, at 44, Lesley wants “to stay fit, healthy and active, and to be a good role model for my family and friends.” I ask her what health and wellness mean to her. “If you’re healthy on the inside, you’ll be healthy on the outside and have a good outlook on life. It’s about how you feel.”
I stop by one of our Peninsula middle schools so I can hear from some of the younger people in our community. I’m awestruck by the maturity and thoughtfulness of their answers.
Taiya, 13, says that health and wellness mean a lot to her. Her goals for the year are to get faster for soccer, and to start doing yoga. In fact, she got a yoga mat for Christmas. Her friend Isabel, 12, also plays soccer, as well as softball, and she participates in a strength and conditioning class at PISE once a week. “If you’re healthy and active it helps with your academics and being able to concentrate. I want to improve my running and my upper body strength.”
Sadie, 13, is mindful of getting enough sleep, and is trying to make a new healthy recipe almost every day. Tahlia, also 13, says that it’s mostly about balance for her, not just playing sports and getting enough exercise. Her goals are “more about mindset. Calming my brain down with such a busy schedule. I do that through yoga, and different activities like colouring and drawing.”
Liv, 11, thinks about “being healthy so that nothing bad happens later on.” Her goals are “to eat healthier, and have a salad at dinner every night at home.” She likes fruit and nuts in her salads. Beyond physical well-being, Liv and her friend Maddie, 11, think about emotional health. “Not putting yourself down is important,” says Maddie, and Liv chimes in with “don’t give up. Keep trying and pushing yourself.” Maddie looks up to a sign on the wall and utters the words that make my heart melt: “just keep swimming.”
Just keep swimming, people. Perhaps it’s just that simple.