young girl in a purple dress with a hulahoop and the healthy kids community challenge logo to the left

Make a Difference with Physical Activity

Make a Difference with Physical Activity

Written by Nancy Hall-Jupp

It’s 5 am on a cold February morning.  I walk down the hallway to my daughter’s room to wake her.  We have a road trip planned for today.  There is a tournament in Mississauga.  The moon is still in the sky, no sign of the sun rising just yet.  My girl stirs as I walk in the room, and then excitedly asks, “Is it time?”photograph of child playing in the snow with cartoon image of a child layered on top

Is it time?  That’s a great question.  What does it mean?  Is it time to get out of bed?  Is it time to get our embroidered clothing on?  Is it time to eat a healthy breakfast to fuel our bodies for the busy day ahead? It is time to drive up the 401 to Mississauga?  Is it time for this mother and daughter team to share some laughs and get our game faces on?  Is it time to meet our teammates in the dressing room to prepare for the games this weekend?  Is it time to play our beloved game and make some memories with the team?  YES!  To all of those questions!  It is time, my dear.

As a recreation practitioner, a mom, and a coach, I am active.  These morning moments bring me so much joy.  Physical activity is much more than a game.  It’s that moment when you learn a new skill and are filled with a sense of accomplishment.  It’s that moment when you hear your coach say “great job out there” and you beam with pride because you know you worked hard that shift.  It’s that moment when you put one foot in front of another and set your mind on your goal.  Physical activity isn’t just physical.

Physical activity teaches life skills.  Confidence.  Problem solving.  Accepting feedback.  Friendship.  Trust.  Determination.  Self-awareness.  Team building.  Respect.  Time Management.  Goal setting.  Sequencing. The list goes on and on.  Whether you participate in physical activity independently or as part of a group you will learn some of these skills.  These are the skills you will carry with you all the days of your life.

As I age, I reminisce.  I think back to the days when I figured skated.  The days when I myself was learning these life skills.  When I first started competitive skating, I was excited.  I loved to skate.  I had a great coach, so I practiced… and practiced some more.  In my first competition I earned two bronze medals.  But the following year I was cocky.  I didn’t practice as much.  I had an attitude, and not in a good way.  I stepped on the ice and halfway through my routine, I forgot it!  I got a sixth-place ribbon that year.  What did this competitive girl do next? I put my head back in the game, and I practiced.  Our music director was sick of playing my song because I asked for it so often. But guess what, I got a gold.  Practice made perfect for me that year.  I was confident in my abilities, I accepted feedback from my coach, I was determined to do better than the year before, and was going to reach my goal.  I remember running to hug my dad when I saw my name at the top of the list. (Thank you to my dad for buying me those skates and encouraging me to be active!)

I have been blessed to coach my daughter’s team.  The life skills I developed through my own physical activity I now pass on to this group of young ladies.  We talk about goals, we practice the skills, we build trust and respect for one another on and off the ice.  I listen to their concerns, I provide feedback, and they question me. I ask them about how they feel a game or a practice went.  We discuss ways to improve.  We are active.

Being active is a lifestyle.  Time invested in our children is time well spent.  Add some activity in while you are with them and life just seems good somehow. I encourage you to visit for ways to increase your family’s physical activity.


Nancy Hall-Jupp works for the City of Waterloo and was a dedicated member of the Region of Waterloo’s Healthy Kids Community Challenge Committee during the campaign.

Visit for more information about how physical activity can do wonders for your family. While you are there, be sure to check out our feature educational film A Superhero’s Guide to Health as well as other fun and FREE educational resources!