Groups following up on the notion of Motion

Illustration by Frank Neufeld

Josh Archer is keeping London on the clock. And Western is counting right along with him.

Archer’s In Motion Community Challenge is a campaign to promote and celebrate healthy and active living. Being In Motion means including healthy eating and physical activity as a part of a healthy lifestyle.

Every October, In Motion hosts its Community Challenge, a 31-day event encouraging the community to get active and show the results by tracking the minutes they exercise. Last year, the Community Challenge saw more than 11,000 people track more than 4.7 million minutes of physical activity. If scoring at home, In Motion saw a four-fold increase in participants 2013 over 2014; those participants doubled last year’s minute totals.

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In Motion is a community collaboration of more than 50 partners in London and Middlesex County – including Western. “They all try to work together to create a healthier environment by promoting physical activity and healthy eating,” Archer continued.

Several Western teams took part in the October challenge, including the Faculty of Health Sciences, Hospitality Services, University Students’ Council and Department of Geography.

In order to keep Western’s participation to continue growing, Archer tasked Heather Lochhead, a fourth-year Kinesiology student, with promoting the challenge throughout campus.

“We want students to be more active,” Lochhead said. “But if the amount of physical activity goes up at Western, regardless of whether people are writing down their minutes or not, then we’ve done our job.”

Western also maintains databases containing all the data related to the Challenge. That data is accessible to researcher who want to dig deeper into the program.

In Motion originated in Saskatchewan in 1999 when the Saskatoon Health Region was looking for ways to improve the health of its population. In Motion is in many other areas across Canada, including Winnipeg, Saskatoon, and Huron and Perth. The program has been promoting active and healthy living for the past seven years in London.

“Many different cities across Canada picked it up, including us,” Archer said.