Want to get fit, Manitobans? Here's how to get started

Following the start of 2016, a number of Winnipeggers are hoping to get fit in the new year — or at least a little more in shape than they are now.

It starts with walking, says Winnipeg in Motion's Deanna Betteridge

Fitness watches and pedometers are some gadgets Winnipeggers can use to track their progress as they work to get fit following the holiday season, according to Winnipeg in Motion's Deanna Betteridge. (CBC)

Following the start of 2016, a number of Winnipeggers are hoping to get fit in the new year — or at least a little more in shape than they are now.

Deanna Betteridge of Winnipeg in Motion shared some tips for Manitobans committed to making those fitness resolutions a reality in 2016.

CBC: So, what can Manitobans think about while they work to get fit?

Betteridge: I think the best thing to keep in mind when we're talking about getting fit is it's easier than you think, and we can all start small and get going.

That is good news. So, how do we do that?

Well, I guess it's trying to decide what do you enjoy doing? What are you currently doing? I mean, walking is the number one physical activity for Canadians. [Ask yourself], is that something you enjoy or want to start working into your day?

Well, let's talk about walking. How fit can you get just by walking?

With walking, it's important to note different intensities. I mean, you walk with little children who walk slowly, adults can walk really fast. Whether you're going out for a ten minute walk or an hour walk, it's important to add variety and you can start to see improved fitness. Walking is part of a healthy, active life and it helps you meet your physical activity requirements on a daily basis. 

Speaking of requirements, we've all heard a lot about the 10,000 steps. What do you think about that? Is 10,000 steps a good [daily] goal?

You have to take into account what you're starting at. If you have a sedentary job such as I do, in one day I might only be getting 3,000 to 5,000 steps in a day. So, to try and aim for 10,000 steps, that really needs a purposeful effort on my part. It means I have to try and find places or time throughout my day to try and add steps. Ten thousand steps is for your average adult. It is the minimum we're trying to strive for on a daily basis but it doesn't have to happen all at once. It can be broken up.

Ten thousand steps is eight kilometres or about an hour and a half of walking. That might seem like a lot for a lot of people but 1,200 steps is about one kilometre and that's only going to take 10 to 15 minutes. So, where can you add that into your day? 

Well that makes sense, and then it all adds up.

Yeah. It adds up throughout your day and … starting with 10 minutes is a great place to start but the more we can add to our day, the more health benefits we start to feel, we start to see and feel healthier and those are important things. So, the 10,000 steps is a goal. Also, the physical activity guidelines looks at 150 minutes of physical activity so it just depends on what helps you stay focused and motivated. Is it how many steps? Do you need a pedometer or some other gadget to help track your steps or are you okay just tracking the amount of time you're being physically active?

Well, you mentioned an hour and a half walk and that brings me to getting outside to exercise. 

There are lots of added benefits of getting outside. Particularly now, as we're headed into some long winter months, getting outside and enjoying the fresh air you're going to see increased mental health benefits and often evidence shows we typically are more likely to be sedentary in the winter or hibernate in the winter.

So, although January 1st, our new year's resolutions are a good time on paper to start being more physically active, it also poses different challenges that you need to be prepared for and to plan for. But, the benefits are definitely there and you'll start to see them right away when you get outdoors and you start to enjoy what we as hearty Winnipeggers and Manitobans have when we get outside.

I also wanted to ask you about the current trend of using your own body instead of weight. That seems to be very popular. How can we incorporate some of that into our fitness program?

It's definitely getting more popular, primarily because low cost or no cost, right? You can do that anywhere, take it … to work or on the go. I think it's important if you're just getting started to try and find a resource or somebody or something to help guide you. On our Winnipeg in Motion website we have resources or circuit training posters that might help you get started on using your body for resistance training. I think the main message there is you don't need to join a gym or use weights to see the added benefit of using your body for resistance. 

Well, my goal is a pushup. Just one, but a pushup.

It's a great goal to have. And there are ways to start on your knees and then make it more challenging and I bet you in one week you're doing one pushup very well.

Well, I hope so. Those sort of sissy-from-your-knees pushups just don't cut it. I want to be like a marine and do one marine push up and then die a happy person.

This interview has been edited for clarity and length.


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