#LiveActiveYeg: How Edmonton is staying active while distant

Truly you can’t keep Edmontonians down. Or inside. 

Apple agrees. 

The computer tech giant routinely shares data on the popularity of walking in cities around the world. University of Calgary Professor Blake Shaffer crunched the numbers on April 26, comparing them to walking levels around the time the COVID-19 isolations started. 

Edmonton came out on top in the walking rebound.

Walking the talk

“On one hand, this is what happens when Edmonton’s hibernation season ends,” said Councillor Michael Walters, Co-Chair of the Live Active Strategy.

“People are anxious to enjoy the outdoors after another long winter. But it also confirms our collective spirit of activation. We’re a city of movers and builders. We’re happy when we’re living active lives.” 

Victoria Park Hill Road

When Apple made this mobility data public, they stated that the information would “provide helpful insights to local governments and health authorities… as a foundation for new public policies.”

Live Active

Indeed, for Walters, this kind of data offers the Live Active Champions group important insights into physical activity trends in Edmonton, which could play a role in advancing the right policies to ensure Edmonton continues to plan and build with activity and wellness in mind. 

Live Active is Edmonton’s physical activity and wellness plan. It brings together a cross section of organizations to encourage Edmontonians of all ages and abilities to enjoy the benefits of active living. 

“This is the kind of rich data the Live Active Champions group is interested in examining,” Walters said.

“Part of building an active city is encouraging residents to make active choices, but a big portion of this work is making sure we understand trends in order to bring the right policies forward and build the kind of infrastructure Edmontonians want to use.”

Here are just a few of the stories that show how Edmonton’s Live Active spirit hasn’t been dented by the pandemic. 

Free Footie Zoom Room

Morale of the story

While fresh skills are a crucial aspect of competitive play, Tim Adams of Free Footie Edmonton believes morale is just as important. That’s why pivoting to online programming in the time of physical distancing was an easy move. 

“Skills tutorials are one thing, but how do you replicate the camaraderie and community connections that occur when players meet and share their love of soccer with one another?” he said. “Keeping spirits high is just as important as keeping the players operating at a high level.”    

Now, “Zoom Rooms” draw hundreds of participants who engage with community experts and local champions to keep the love of the beautiful game alive.

Work it out

While City of Edmonton recreation centres are closed, some of the most popular classes and programs are still alive and kicking. And just clicks away. 

Over on Facebook, passionate and knowledgeable City instructors and fitness experts host virtual classes to keep people of all ages and abilities engaged and active. 

“We’re the kind of team that’s always looking for new ways to engage Edmontonians and generate excitement for health and physical activity. We don’t like to sit still,” said Kelly Boisvert, Manager of Group Fitness Experiences with the City of Edmonton. 

“Just because our rec centres are closed doesn’t mean we can’t reach people. Everyone was keen to keep working despite the shutdown.

We just kind of hit the ground running in order to keep our connections with members and the public alive.”  

From teaching Yin Yoga, to Cardio Dance and even Cycle Rev classes, City teams are still hard at work to keep you working hard from home. 

Hoop Hangouts

When The Alberta Basketball Association’s provincial team learned their summer competitions were cancelled, executive director Paul Sir knew they needed a plan.  

Hoops Hangouts bring together coaches for free professional development featuring great guest speakers and the opportunity for Alberta coaches to interact with them on Google Meet.  

These special Hangout sessions also have nights where players can be a part of sessions, visiting with coaches and their athletic cohorts. 

“Our goal during this time is simple,” said Sir. “Create fun, hope-filled, live interactions to help keep spirits high and basketball people connected. 

“This is more important than ever right now, because, while physical activity helps our bodies stay healthy, it also keeps us mentally well through strong interpersonal connections.”

There’s even a bit of Edmonton grads on the horizon.

“We will then offer a Grade 12 Celebration for players that were not able to finish their seasons and are working on other themes, too,” said Sir. “We will have special guests each time we meet so keep an eye on the schedule!” 

Share your story

Do you have your own live active story to share? Use #LiveActiveYeg and tell us how you’ve been keeping active in Edmonton.