How do we empower and educate individuals, communities and institutions to embrace responsibility for an active and healthy lifestyle?
This is a question being asked as part of the Queensland Plan – a 30 year vision for the state. We got professional triathlete and Carindale local Ellie Salthouse to answer this question.
In order to do so, we need competent and exemplary role models who can demonstrate the importance of an active and healthy lifestyle in everyday life. They need to be high profile but still have a vast presence in the local community, willing to volunteer their time to actively spread the message.
With any major project, it is important to get individuals on board first and encourage their participation before pitching to a community or large-scale organization. I believe that through multiple free activities run throughout local communities, this message can begin to be conveyed, firstly to individuals, then whole communities. These activities could range from exercise classes, such as pilates, football, orienteering, golf or anything that reflects the interests of the community members.
Cooking classes and demonstrations are another activity that should be largely promoted in a project like this, promoting healthy eating. In particular, community members should be taught how to prepare budget-friendly meals, as well as lunchbox ideas and time-efficient meals. These three fundamentals are often the excuses that are used nowadays for the purchasing of fast food and processed snack foods.
I honestly believe that by getting individuals involved in such activities, the message will be quickly and positively spread to the wider community. This is also vital in promoting friendships amongst groups with similar interests, having the potential to form exercise groups and even friends to share a healthy meal together. Having more than one person involved in an activity produces the element of competition, thus providing motivation, determination and encouragement for the individuals involved.
Before pitching the idea of an active and healthy lifestyle to industries, it is important to first have the individuals and communities on board. After all, it is these individuals who form the industries and shape their mentalities. I think that the aforementioned role models play an important role in the decision making of our current generations and should be highly encouraged to work alongside institutions to encourage and foster such an important message. If the larger institutions can openly see that their audiences want to change, then they are likely to adapt to the changing society also.
They say that seeing is believing so; I believe that if individuals, communities and institutions can see that a healthy and active lifestyle can in fact be achieved no matter the personal situations, the message will be grasped and fostered for generations to come.
By Ellie Salthouse