Red Deer takes a big step towards fitness

The University of Alberta is taking strides to show how everyday fitness doesn’t have to be gruelling to have an impact.

The University of Alberta is taking strides to show how everyday fitness doesn’t have to be gruelling to have an impact.

In fact, it can be as easy as putting one foot in front of the other.

UWALK is a new campaign striving to get more Albertans on their feet for increased fitness and well-being. It was developed by the Faculty of Physical Education and Recreation and funded by the provincial government for the next three years.

The program, featuring an interactive website that monitors all kinds of activity and converts it automatically into a number of steps, is free year-round and officially launched in Red Deer last month.

Users can log their steps, participate in a number of walking and stair climbing challenges, and connect with other friends on UWALK.

It’s a fun way to encourage people to live up to the recommended physical activity requirements of 150 minutes of moderate-intensity movement per week, said Tamara Greba, the City of Red Deer’s recreation facilities supervisor.

“Many think you need to go and spend money, work out hard in the gym to be active. But there’s great health benefits in doing 10,000 steps a day,” Greba said.

February was Red Deer’s fitness month and when the city partnered with UWALK as well as the Primary Care Network, it made the initiative that much bigger, Greba said.

“We’re going to do more UWALK events because it’s been successful. It’s easy. It’s free. You can do steps at home. You put a pedometer on and it’s pretty incredible how quickly you can get to 4,000 steps.”

The dean of the Faculty of Physical Education and Recreation, Kerry Mummery, an internationally recognized researcher in areas of physical activity and population health, made a special presentation in Red Deer during the city’s UWALK kickoff event on Feb. 4. Mummery, the principal lead behind UWALK, was the main architect behind Australia’s popular 10,000 Steps program, designed to promote physical activity.

About 40 Red Deerians of all ages turned out to hear Mummery and later joined him on a brisk walk around the track at the Collicutt Centre, said Greba.

Feb. 5 marked another walking event for Red Deer, Winter Walk Day hosted by Shape Alberta. Over 144,804 Albertans hit the pavement that day, braving frigid temperatures.

Red Deer has enthusiastically taken up the UWALK torch, said Kenton Delisle, a registered dietitian and UWALK’s project co-ordinator.

“Red Deer seems to be a very proactive community and is a big part of our UWALK contingent, as much as 25 per cent of all our registered users,” Delisle said, noting that’s second only to Edmonton, where UWALK is headquartered and first kicked off in September.

UWALK has a total of 2,200 users across the province and over 570 people from Red Deer have signed up.

“The research is supporting what we’ve really always known: that walking is the best bang for your buck to make a difference and with the most basic movement many of us can do easily. Walking is a step towards a better quality of life and better health outcomes so it’s something we want to champion,” Delisle said.

“Walking that extra length across the parking lots counts and we can measure that now and show how it all adds up.”

UWALK is also open to those in wheelchairs and offers a way wheelchair users can log their activity through the use of an odometer.

To help track steps, UWALK also runs its Pedometer Library Loan Program in six library systems across Alberta, serving about 160 communities. This program allows walkers to loan UWALK pedometer kits. Delisle said they soon hope to start the library program in Red Deer, Calgary and the Peace River region.

To become involved in UWALK or for more information, visit uwalk.ca.

rfrancoeur@bprda.wpengine.com

Just Posted

Pumpjacks draw oil out of the ground near Olds, Alta., Thursday, July 16, 2020. A new report suggests the economic impact of the pandemic led to a massive increase in federal aid to Canada's oil patch. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Alberta economy ‘still reeling,’ says ATB Financial

Alberta’s economy is still feeling the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and… Continue reading

Ella Stoner, five, is ready to cut off her hair and donate it to A Child’s Voice Foundation. (Photo by Lauren Stoner Photography)
Central Alberta girl to donate her ‘princess hair’ to A Child’s Voice Foundation

A five-year-old girl from Rimbey has never had a haircut before. Now,… Continue reading

Asymptomatic testing will now be available for "priority groups" who are most likely to spread the COVID-19 virus to vulnerable or at-risk populations. File photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS
Alberta adds 1,195 new COVID-19 cases Saturday

Red Deer has dropped to 760 active cases

Lacombe-Ponoka MLA Ron Orr
Central Alberta MLAs comment on UCP members kicked out of caucus

A pair of central Alberta MLAs have commented on the two United… Continue reading

Contributed photo
Johanna Hannaford: Central Alberta designer offers inclusive clothing

By Stephanie Rhodes Local designer Johanna Hannaford’s inclusive clothing creations are smashing… Continue reading

Vancouver Canucks' Zack MacEwen (71), Travis Boyd (72) and Jimmy Vesey (24) celebrate a goal against the Edmonton Oilers during third period NHL action in Edmonton on Saturday, May 15, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Big third period lifts Vancouver Canucks to 4-1 victory over Edmonton Oilers

Canucks 4 Oilers 1 EDMONTON — Matthew Highmore scored twice in the… Continue reading

A vial of the Medicago vaccine sits on a surface. CARe Clinic, located in Red Deer, has been selected to participate in the third phase of vaccine study. (Photo courtesy www.medicago.com)
Canada’s vaccine rollout operation won’t miss a beat with new military leader: expert

DARTMOUTH — The sudden departure of the senior military officer in charge… Continue reading

Quebec Premier Francois Legault speaks during a news conference on the COVID-19 pandemic, Tuesday, September 29, 2020 at the legislature in Quebec City. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jacques Boissinot
Quebec premier argues province has power to amend constitution in letter to Trudeau

MONTREAL — Quebec Premier François Legault has written a letter to Prime… Continue reading

A demonstrator stands in front of riot police officers during a banned protest in support of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, in Paris, Saturday, May, 15, 2021. Marches in support of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip were being held Saturday in a dozen French cities, but the focus was on Paris where riot police countered organizers who said they would defy a ban on the protest, ordered on the grounds that it risked turning violent. (AP Photo/Rafael Yaghobzadeh)
Police fire tear gas on banned Palestinian march in Paris

PARIS (AP) — French riot police fired tear gas and used water… Continue reading

Photo by The Associated Press
NYC Pride parade bans police; Gay officers ‘disheartened’

NEW YORK (AP) — Organizers of New York City’s Pride events said… Continue reading

Welcoming cowboy boots at the historic and colourful Last Chance Saloon in the ghost town of Wayne near Drumheller, Alta., on Thursday, Sept. 19, 2019. The bar and hotel are up for sale. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
‘It was a going concern’: Remaining bar and hotel in Alberta coal ghost town for sale

WAYNE, Alta. — Built during the First World War, it survived the… Continue reading

A letter from a bottle that washed up in New Brunswick in 2017 is shown in an undated handout photo. A team of researchers from Université du Québec à Rimouski are trying to solve the mystery of whether a letter in a bottle that washed up in New Brunswick in 2017 was indeed from a young victim of Titanic shipwreck or simply a hoax. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, N. Beaudry, UQAR *MANDATORY CREDIT*
Real or hoax? Quebec scholars probe mystery letter allegedly from Titanic passenger

MONTREAL — Researchers from Université du Québec à Rimouski are trying to… Continue reading

Minister of Transport Marc Garneau takes part in a press conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Tuesday, Nov. 26, 2019. Advocates, experts and opposition MPs say correspondence showing close communication between the federal Transport Department and the Canadian Transportation Agency regarding passenger refunds throws into question the independence of the CTA, an arm’s-length body. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Emails reveal close communication between government, transport regulator on refunds

OTTAWA — Advocates, experts and opposition MPs say correspondence showing close communication… Continue reading

Most Read