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Focus on Fitness 2012: Comment

If you’re of a certain age (as I am!), you will remember the Pierre Trudeau-backed get-off-your-duff-and-exercise campaign of the 1970s and 1980s called ParticipACTION, and the subsequent BodyBreak segments on TV hosted by fitness gurus Hal Johnson and Joanne McLeod.

September 7, 2012
By Laura King


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If you’re of a certain age (as I am!), you will remember the Pierre Trudeau-backed get-off-your-duff-and-exercise campaign of the 1970s and 1980s called ParticipACTION, and the subsequent BodyBreak segments on TV hosted by fitness gurus Hal Johnson and Joanne McLeod.

And, if you’re like me, you likely have some of those gold, silver or bronze ParticipACTION awards in a box somewhere in your basement or taking up space in your parents’ attic. My ParticipACTION awards were all bronze – I was tall, gangly and unco-ordinated in my junior high days – except for a silver in long jump. Go figure.

The point is that ParticipACTION stuck, a true Canadian promotion that’s part of the cultural fabric, sort of, but not exactly like the 1972 commercial hosted by Stompin’ Tom Connors that urged us all to go to Prince Edward Island and call 800 – that’s eight-double-zero, not eight hundred – 565-7421 to find out about Cavendish Beach, sand dunes and Anne of Green Gables; if you’re singing that song in your head while reading this then yes, you too are of a certain age. I digress.

Federal funding for ParticipACTION dried up in 2001 but he program was revived in 2007; Google ParticipACTION – there are some interesting tidbits on Wikipedia. BodyBreak, however, has had a continuous presence on CTV, with Hal and Joanne, and the couple – both accomplished athletes, and yes, they’re married – actively promote fitness and still look as good as they did in the 1970s, which should be reason enough for all of us to ParticipACT.

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All of which is a roundabout way of getting to the point that Fire Fighting in Canada and Firehall.com are thrilled to have joined with Hal and Joanne and TrueStarHealth to help you maintain or improve your health and fitness through our FirehallFit.com fitness portal.

And that’s why we’ve chosen fitness, health and wellness as the focus of our annual September supplement – the section of the magazine you’re reading right now. We know you are all well aware of the benefits of staying in shape, so we’ve tried to mix things up a bit with some stories and columns on setting up a fitness/wellness program for your department, running a fitness challenge in your hall (everyone likes a friendly wager, no?), knowing when to use heat and ice to treat injuries, and a look at spiritual wellness – something we know is important to many of you.

Once you’ve flipped through this special section, take a minute to log on to www.firehallfit.com and sign in. Hal Johnson and the TrueStar crew visited our becomingafirefighter.com Career Expo in May in Cambridge, Ont., and offered great advice for prospective firefighters about nutrition and knowing what’s in the vitamins and supplements you use. The TrueStar booth was packed after the presentation – even some of the fire chiefs who were on hand as guest speakers were seen buying protein powder and other products. Shhhh!

We’re not here to preach at you about your fitness level, but we do care about your health. And even if you’re old enough to remember Pierre Trudeau, ParticipACTION and Stompin’ Tom singing eight-double-zero-five-six-five-seven-four-two-one, you’re never too old or too busy to get fit. Hal and Joanne will tell you so.


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