Physical activity plays a vital role in our overall health, well-being, and quality of life. Evidence shows that physical activity benefits us physically, socially, cognitively, environmentally, educationally, and economically – it even reduces risk of chronic disease. However, today it’s harder than ever to be active. We sit more, we drive more, our leisure time is more focused on screens, and our busy lifestyles all contribute to making us less active than previous generations. So much so that 78% of Canadians (aged 18 to 79) do not meet national physical activity guidelines.
The Town of Bridgewater’s Physical Activity Strategy was completed and approved by Bridgewater Town Council on February 14, 2022. The purpose of the Strategy is simple – to increase physical activity in Bridgewater. The Strategy is based upon a core mission, “…to facilitate opportunities for physical activity in Bridgewater and to support and encourage residents in accessing those opportunities”; and its goals are to:
- Increase access and reduce barriers to physical activity for all ages
- Increase the number of people who regularly use active transportation
- Connect people with nature through outdoor recreation and unstructured play
- Create physical activity opportunities that are inclusive and diverse
- Foster physical activity and recreation leadership in Bridgewater
In setting these goals, the strategy looks at the community context. It evaluates things like demographics and the existing programming, facilities, and complementary town policies, plans, and strategies. The Strategy also considers the results of the provincially led Physical Activity Community Survey as well as the town led Recreation 2.0 survey, Open Space Plan Engagement Outcomes Report, and Active Transportation Plan Engagement process. Taken together, the community context and community needs assessment help pinpoint resident’s unique needs and help inform the development of a personalized action plan.
In total, the action plan consists of 19 objectives and 50 accompanying actions. These objectives and actions relate to each of the overarching goals and form the foundation for increasing physical activity rates in Bridgewater. The Municipal Physical Activity Leader will be responsible for evaluating and supporting the successful implementation of these actions. They will also seek participant feedback throughout the process to inform this iterative improvement process.