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Wednesday, 30 October 2013 15:22

Medicine Hat College student wants stories shared about being physically active

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Lorissa Emary's poster. Lorissa Emary's poster.

Medicine Hat College student Lorissa Emary wants you to “Share Your Story.”

The applied visual communications student created the aptly-named Facebook page in late September in order to do a school project. The project was to effectively explore some areas  of activity. Then in a relatively short period of time, gather those responses and then display and design a resource response to becoming active.
Those questions included: “How old are you? How often do you exercise? What time of day? What kind of activity do you enjoy? Where do you go to exercise? Do you exercise alone or with friends/family? How does physical activity make you feel? Why do you exercise? What or who inspires you? What could the city do to encourage activity? What changes would you like to see? Share your story! What goals have you overcome during your fitness journey?”
Emary went to Facebook to solicit responses on how those in southeast Alberta and at Medicine Hat College try to get active. She created the Share Your Story page on Sept. 23 and has been receiving responses ever since.
Emary thought the social media route would be a good way to get some feedback and she wasn’t disappointed.
“This page is dedicated to everyone who loves being active. Staying fit and healthy is a challenge, so why not share your fitness story and inspire those around you to keep reaching their goals? Feel free to share photos and links along with your story,” reads the intro on the Share Your Story Facebook page.
The result was a lot of interesting stories and a rather colourful and creative poster created by Emary (see below). She was surprised by some of the things she learned through the exercise. For example, a lot of the responses she received were sent in private.
“I got a lot of responses through people private messaging me (on the Share Your Story Page); mostly students and people with families,” explains Emary. “I’m assuming  they sent it that way (instead of putting it right on the wall)is because people just aren’t comfortable enough yet with being public about their health (routines).
“I also found college students exercise at night so they’re physically tired and then sleep better. For me personally, I find when you exercise in the morning you get energized, but everybody’s different. I also found that more people are using gaming consoles to exercise and not going to the gym. The most popular (game) seemed to be Zoomba for Xbox.”
Emary also asked people what they would like to see done in Medicine Hat if they had the choice and some responses included more convenient operational hours for gyms or even 24-hour gymnasiums. However, most people liked Medicine Hat and southeast Alberta for its ability to enjoy physical activity. She says people try to make time for exercise because they enjoy it, not because they have to do it.
“It’s more of a stress reliever and not a stress creator,” says Emary. “There’s a lot to enjoy about the area. There are a lot of walking paths in Medicine Hat, a new skateboard park here which is awesome and Medicine Hat makes you feel safer. There’s not a lot of crime. During the winter, you can go to Hidden Valley and enjoy it there.”
While she and her instructor were pleased with the project’s end results, Emary’s real joy has been reading the responses and getting inspiration for herself to stay active and fit. She’s glad she did this project and truly appreciated all the responses.
“I used to be a gymnast for 11 years and was active,” explains Emary. “Exercise was a passion of mine. At the end of the summer though, I just didn’t feel (well) ... this project inspired me even more. It’s been great for me... And, I hope that I’ve inspired people along the way too.”
Despite the fact her college project is completed, she encourages people to visit the page and share their stories so as to inspire themselves and others to stay active.

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Ryan Dahlman

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