"Exercise has always presented a challenge for me. However, since being diagnosed as pre diabetic and having treatment for early breast cancer last year has changed my attitude. This spring my sacro iliac joints gave me a lot of pain. My chiropractor advised me to walk just 15 minutes a day. I tried it and it was doable for me. Gradually I got up to about half hour. But then I fell, twice. So I got my poles out.
Previously I had been too self conscious to use them. Five years they hid in the closet. Then I decided that picking myself up off the sidewalk is not the best, so use the poles! Now I love my poles. They keep me stable and eliminate my fear of falling. Pole walking is my priority now. In the morning I get up, get dressed and head out for a forty five minute walk. Then when I get back home, I start my day. Pole walking is amazing. I intend to keep faithful to my routine for as long as I can!"
- Marlene H., 72
Orillia, Ontario, Canada
"I’ve been running long distances for twenty years. Like many runners, I am drawn by the quiet, peaceful and rejuvenating aspects of the sport. I am a non-religious person; running is my spirituality. One of my regular routes in Kitchener-Waterloo, Ont., is a 13 kilometre out-and-back run with the turnaround point at the top of a local ski hill. It’s my go-to run when I need to clear my head, think through a difficult problem or just try and make peace with the world."
“We start at 5.30am, and I’m walking in the door at 6.35am ready to start the day. I prefer the morning, and I find that if I don’t train I get grumpy and irritable. Besides, my wife says I’m a better person when I exercise.”
"Each time I climbed, I learned how to move past my fear and problem-solve my way through difficult situations. I later became a Zumba instructor, started two fitness blogs, and became a personal trainer, all of which would not have happened if I had continued to walk in fear and hid in my comfort zone."
“I work on a variety of machines, that mostly work upper and lower body with weights. I feel strong and I definitely feel like I am able to walk and get around better and more confidently. I just feel better overall. I’m really enjoying the class.”
"Running lets me clear my head. In moments where my depression would get the best of me, I found myself starting to turn to running instead of withdrawing from my social life and habits. It was on a run one day where I decided to tell my boyfriend everything, talk to my parents, and gather a support group around me. At the time I wasn't suicidal but I wonder what would have happened. It's incredible now that friends and family describe me as a 'woman who is making her life an incredible adventure."
"At first it was driven by vanity. I was in my late 40's, in menopause, and the changes were coming fast and furious...my skin was melting off like a waterfall, and I grew an impressive udder seemingly overnight. I started Barre and I saw improvements, some in just weeks. I felt really good, proactive, and strong; I loved the community I was tapping into, and it was the first form of fitness I have bonded with successfully.
"The end of my junior year of high school, I fell into a deep eating disorder. Within six months, it was to an unsustainable and unhealthy point, at over 45 pounds under my current weight. I've always been an athlete, but while I was sick, I had virtually stopped exercising, with the exception of the occasional light 20 to 30 minutes on the elliptical. Once I decided to get back into running, I had to fuel my body properly if I wanted to be strong and run fast. I made the decision to build my body back from the ground up. Within a few months of hard work and determination, I graduated high school with an again-healthy body and a healthy mind."
“Despite being overweight, I didn’t start exercising to change how I look. I haven’t lost more than a scant handful of pounds in the several months I’ve been working out regularly, and while I don’t look any different, my body feels different. More than that, I inhabit my body differently. I don’t quite have the ease (and definitely don’t have the physique) of the dancers and wrestlers I admire, but I’ve come to relish the post-gym exhaustion that is my reward after throwing myself through all this; the soreness and fatigue have become familiar and comforting, even grounding. In a world where so much of my labor is owned or otherwise claimed by others, this physical work belongs only to me. It’s something I do purely for myself, to enrich my experience of the world.”
"When I ran, that was my time to talk to God. I could feel the spirit. It was so freeing. I could pray. I could just talk to God like I was talking to you. If I needed to cry, I could cry. If I needed to scream, I could scream. I could do anything."