BY JOHN DECOSTE
Kings County Advertiser/Register
How do you convince an entire province preventing heart disease is easier and cheaper than treating it? You lead by example.
Healthy, thriving and prosperous communities are built on healthy, happy and active people. That’s the premise of the Heartland Tour, celebrating its fifth year this week throughout Nova Scotia.
From its inception in 2007, the Heartland Tour has led by example. Tour founder Dr. Nick Giacomantonio and 20 other like-minded cyclists make up its core team with the a mission, to unite communities to create a healthier province.
Beginning July 9 in Halifax, the tour travels Pictou County, Cape Breton, Antigonish, Truro, Bridgewater and Yarmouth before wrapping up July 17 in Wolfville.
As it spends a full day eight communities, the core team hosts events, activities and information sessions aimed at driving home two messages. First, healthy communities benefit from lower health care costs and increased productivity, as well as revenue from industry and tourism. Second, being active is the best way to be healthier and everyone can do it.
“Although it’s not a secret,” Giacomantonio says, “it isn’t well known that Nova Scotia’s risk of cardiovascular disease is higher than the national average. This is also true for several types of cancer.”
If allowed to continue unchecked, “the result is a health care system that cannot be sustained if costs and chronic disease continue to rise. The future health of all Nova Scotians is at stake.”
The Wolfville stop of the Heartland Tour is being promoted as a fun day for the whole heart healthy family.
Among the activities centered around the tour headquarters at the Atlantic Theatre Festival are a children’s bicycle rodeo and ride from noon to 1 p.m. and a mountain bike skills clinic at the same time.
There will be Aqua Zumba on the Acadia pool deck from 1 to 2 p.m., yoga from 2:15 to 3:15 p.m. and a Nordic walking clinic in the morning from 10:30 to noon. There will be a sports gear swap 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., adapted bicycle demos and a BMO bike contest as well as displays, games and other activities for all ages.
As for the rides, there are four of varying types, paces and distances. First, there is a 12-kilometre mountain bike ride to Noggins Corner Farm and back via the dykes. Lasting from approximately 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., this one is appropriate for both youth and adults.
Second, is a 25-kilometre off-road/road ride to Evangeline Beach and back via the dykes. Scheduled for 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., the route runs over flat terrain with average speeds of 15 to 18 kilometres per hour.
Third, is a 60-kilometre road ride around Starr’s Point and Medford and returning to the Festival Theatre parking lot, between 10:15 a.m. to 2 p.m.
The fourth and most challenging option is a 100-kilometre road ride through South Alton and around to the Look-Off. This challenging route with mountain climbs is scheduled for 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Anyone and everyone is invited to participate in some aspect of the tour. For more information or to pre-register, visit the Heartland website, call Wolfville Recreation at 542-3019 or contact Michael Kennedy : firstname.lastname@example.org or 902-224-6444
To join the Nordic walking clinic, please pre-register at the Wolfville Recreation Centre.