A recent study of over 450,000 smartphone users indicates that daily physical activity levels have fallen substantially during the worldwide pandemic. Public health strategies, essential for containing virus transmission, also appear to reduce daily steps by up to 49% among individuals surveyed from 187 countries.
The health professionals at the McGill Comprehensive Health Improvement Program (CHIP) in Montreal have developed a summer Family Fitness Mission to engage grandparents, parents, and their children to exercise together regularly. The web-based six-week program is free (sponsored by Veterans Affairs Canada) and during the pandemic all Canadians are invited to join Veterans and their families in this mission to get healthier by moving more.
Previous Missions have demonstrated average increases in daily physical activity of 30% or more, thereby significantly improving sleep quality and success at losing weight. The online platform has been tested with doctors and other health professionals, Canadian government employees, and the military. Many individuals continue to use the site for years after they first register.
Dr Ilka Lowensteyn, an Associate Professor of Medicine at McGill, and the lead kinesiologist on the Mission noted, “The Mission is fun, challenging, and competitive by having families track their daily physical activity on a leaderboard and virtual map.” Family support, regular tracking, and making the program fun are three essential components used to motivate individuals to increase their healthy lifestyle habits, including regular exercise.
Mission results have been published in several medical journals including*
The Mission launches on Monday, July 20th and families can join at
*Lowensteyn I, Berberian V, Berger C, DaCosta D, Joseph L, Grover SA. The Sustainability of a Workplace Wellness Program That Incorporates Gamification Principles: Participant Engagementand Health Benefits After 2 Years. Am J of Health Promotion. 2019; 1-9.
Lowensteyn I, Berberian V, Belisle P, DaCosta D, Joseph L, Grover SA. The Measurable Benefits of a Workplace Wellness Program in Canada: Results After One Year. JOEM. 2018; 6(3): 211-6.
Sounan C, Lavoie-Tremblay M, Martin K, Trudel J, Lavigne G, Lowensteyn I, Grover SA. Impact of a pedometer-based physical activity challenge on behavioral, biomedical, anthropometric and psychological outcomes in hospital employees: An interventional study. Clin Health Promotion. 2013; 3: 5-11.
SOURCE McGill Comprehensive Health Improvement Program (CHIP)
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