Bringing families together for healthier lifestyles was the underlying theme of a pair of events at Claude Garton Public School on Friday afternoon.
Parents in the school’s Parents Reaching Out program hosted a family health fair aimed at getting families active by working to together and playing together.
School principal Shannon Jessiman-MacArthur said the fair includes four stations; yoga, hiking, team building and games and painting inspired by the Youth Mental Health and Addictions Champions group that has been working with the Thunder Bay District Health Unit on positive mental health. Students and their families painted motivational words on the school yard planters.
“We want to remind them to keep active, safe and healthy throughout the summer,” said Jessiman-MacArthur.
Jessica Carfagnini with the Thunder Bay Naturopathic Clinic attended and shared some good advice.
“My important message for families is to get active, spend less time sitting and more time moving your body in a way that you enjoy . . . and preferably outdoors and with your family as much as possible,” she said. “That will set your family up for a lifetime of really good health.”
Carfagnini says exercise contributes to a reduction in depression and anxiety as well as long-term health issues like dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, cancer and heart disease.
“You name a health problem and exercise will probably reduce it. . . and what we are looking at is immediate payback in terms of quality of life,” she said.
Families that exercise together, by doing things like yoga, artwork, going for walks or hikes are generally more healthier, closer together and have better relationships with one-another.
“It doesn’t have to be intense or vigorous exercise,” added Carfagnini. “It just has to be moving your body and getting out there.”
She also advises spending time in the kitchen as a family and including children in grocery shopping and meal preparation.
The events wound down with 12 exchange students and their families, visiting from Vanguard School in Montreal, joining Claude Garton families to enjoy a pot-luck supper at the school.