Organizers look to get students InMotion

You don’t have to change much or do a lot to take part – every small step counts, said Josh Archer, MA’13 (Kinesiology), a co-organizer of the Middlesex-London InMotion Community Challenge.

During the month of October, the InMotion Community Challenge asks participants who commit to do something active each day to track their activity. There is a mobile app available to track exercise and activity, and there are forms available online as well.

“The challenge is a community collaboration meant to promote healthy living in London and the county. It’s an opportunity for community as a whole to prioritize health for one month, and a way to try and get all of our partners to talk about health in a more strategic way,” said Archer, who is currently the Project Manager, Healthy Eating/Healthy Physical Activity for London’s Child & Youth Network.

And while the initiative aims to engage the London area community, this year, Archer and Health Sciences professor Shauna Burke are targeting Western students directly.

Through Burke’s first-year Health Promotion class, the challenge asks students to recruit as many other students as possible. The top two students are eligible to win a FitBit One. It’s just another way for the university to support a collaborative community project, Burke explained.

“This is an optional initiative for the first-year students in (my class). But, it is particularly fitting within the context of the course material. In addition to discussing how our choices and health behaviours impact our personal health, a large and important part of the course is dedicated to learning about and opening ourselves up to the possibility of viewing health and wellness from multiple perspectives,” Burke said of the challenge and its partnership with her class.

“We discuss the importance of nurturing and fostering wellness across many dimensions – including interpersonal, social and environmental health – many of which include participating in and contributing to the communities in which we live and learn.  The InMotion Challenge provides an opportunity for students to get involved in a community-based initiative themselves, and perhaps more importantly, to engage those around them – family members, friends, students in residence, and even strangers.”

For those that want to get involved – every little bit of activity counts, Archer added.

“It’s not just about tracking minutes; it’s just about doing more than you did before. That’s the main message. We don’t want people to reconstruct their lives or do something unsustainable, just to focus on small, healthy and sustainable changes.”