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2021 Bell Let’s Talk – Mental Health Kinesiologists encourage Canadians to be active!



OTTAWA, January 28, 2021 – Million of Canadians are affected by mental health illness and more are diagnosed each year. It is therefore important to make every effort to reduce stigma, talk about it and provide solutions to those struggling. To help and support them, research studies recommend getting professional support with aerobic and resistance exercise training.


In conjunction with Bell Let’s Talk Day, January 28, Kinesiologists across Canada will begin a conversation about Canada’s mental health. Millions of Canadians, including Kinesiologists, engaged in an open discussion about mental illness, offering new ideas through physical activities and exercises for those struggling.


The Canadian Kinesiology Alliance is reminding Canadians that staying physically active is more important than ever during this COVID-19 pandemic. As many Canadians have experienced, the past few months have many lead to increased stress, anxiety, depression, sedentary lifestyle and weight gain. Knowing that happiness can improve the immune system and that obesity is one of the main factors leading to complications related to the corona virus, maintaining  a healthy lifestyle is key to surviving this pandemic, and kinesiologists can help support both physical and mental health. Kinesiologist can help! Start now in January with Bell Let’s Talk and join us in November with National Kinesiology Week in support of Mental Health. Canadians are invited to take on the eMentalFitChallenge and the MoveBetterChallenge to find strategies and opportunities to lead a more active lifestyle.


Bell Let’s Talk Day is Thursday, January 28 and Kinesiologists are joining in to help drive progress in mental health.


COVID-19 has affected every aspect of our lives, including our mental health. According to the Canadian Mental Health Association, 38% of Canadians say their mental health has declined due to COVID-19, and people already struggling with their mental health were 2 times more likely to say their mental health has declined due to the pandemic.


Since 2010, Canadians and people around the globe have joined in the world’s largest conversation around mental health on Bell Let’s Talk Day. Together we have taken big steps to reduce the stigma around mental health issues and inspire one another to take action and help create a Canada where everyone can access the mental health support they need. In a recent survey conducted by Nielsen Consumer Insights, 83% of Canadians now say they are comfortable speaking with others about mental health, compared to only 42% in 2012. By joining in and taking action, we are all helping to make a real difference.


This year’s Bell Let’s Talk Day campaign shines a light on the actions that we can all take, because now more than ever, mental health matters. Whether you’re staying virtually connected with a family member, working directly with patients in recovery, investing in access to care or even just taking care of your own mental health, every Canadian can play a part in their communities, workplaces, schools and at home.

That’s why we’re joining in the 11th annual Bell Let’s Talk Day to help create positive change.



In these stressful times, many are tempted to fall into old patterns to relieve anxiety such as overeating, bingeing on television series, or increasing use of tobacco, alcohol or drugs. All of these represent attempts to take your mind off your worries, or in some instinctual way to alter the brain chemistry. However, there is one strategy for reducing stress and improving mood that also yields positive long-term effects more conducive to happiness: physical activity. However, data shows that half of Canadians affected by a mood or anxiety disorder do not exercise on a regular basis[1].


People who walk, run, bike or engage in some other form of physical activity, generally feel happier and less anxious. In addition to increased energy, physically active people get a sense of accomplishment in meeting personal fitness goals and pride in improved physical appearance produced by hours in training. Moreover, getting outdoors to train on a nice day is also known to stimulate the mind.


“Knowing the intense emotions we  are experiencing in time of the COVID-19, we urge Canadians to put in place strategies to make time for physical activities in their daily routine,, mentions the president of the Canadian Kinesiology Alliance, Mrs. Kathie Sharkey RKin. Exercise is accessible to everyone and has health benefits that go beyond mental health.”



A recent study from the United Kingdom demonstrated that about a third of people surveyed had gain weight during the first confinement[2], and many indicators show that Canadians are probably following in the same path. This should be a major concern as on top of putting people at heightened risk for type 2 diabetes, stroke, heart disease, hypertension, and a number of other health issues. But obesity is among the underlying conditions that can put people at a higher risk of developing a more severe case of COVID-19.[3] 


Testing and vaccines are not in our control. How we eat, how we move, and how we easily fall back to old personal habits, is. However, with the current coronavirus pandemic comes increased challenges to maintaining a physically active lifestyle. Now that winter is coming and that many gyms will be less accessible across the country, many are concerned that their level of physical activity will drop significantly.


“Since moderate-intensity physical activity is associated with better immune health, lower levels of anxiety and weight control, kinesiologists can play a key role in supporting their clients in these stressful times, adds Mrs. Sharkey. They can also help develop a personalised plan that will take into consideration public health restrictions linked to COVID-19.”



The Bell Let’s Talk Day is the perfect time to be active and to discover how a kinesiologist can help:

  • Participate in the eMentalFitChallenge to find mental health strategies through physical activity;
  • Fit in 2, 5, 10 or 20 minutes of activity in your schedule. Every active minute counts!
  • Use telecommuting to your advantage by converting travel time into a brisk walk in your neighborhood.
  • Use interval training to get an effective workout when you are short on time.
  • Follow an exercise or strength training video or download an app.
  • When watching TV, get up during every commercial to climb stairs or do an active chore.
  • Dance to your favourite music when cleaning dishes or play a game of Just Dance with your family.
  • Take a walk, instead of your car, when running errands close to home.
  • Ask a kinesiologist to develop a program specifically designed to fit your lifestyle and interests. You can start with a simple conversation to see how they can help. If you decide to engage with a program, know that most insurance companies will cover your health investment.


Where to turn for help

“Lack of time, obligations to others, lack of perception of obesity as a health issue, shame and physical restrictions are all factors that act as barriers to meeting the recommended level of physical activity,” continues Kathie Sharkey. “In our practice, we see that getting help from a kinesiologist can make a tremendous positive difference. With a personalized approach and ongoing motivational support, clients affected by mental illness can see how physical activities can drastically improve their quality of life.”


Kinesiologists are the only specialists in human movement who use science and research to offer movement as a medicine to anyone with a health goal, who wants a practical and personalized approach.



Kinesiologists are human movement specialists. As trained health professionals, kinesiologists apply the science of exercise and movement to promote health and well-being; prevent, manage and rehabilitate chronic conditions; restore function and optimize human performance in the workplace, clinical settings, sport and fitness. They work with people of all ages and with physical abilities, in many settings, to improve the quality of life by often using interventions that include physical activity.


The Canadian Kinesiology Alliance (CKA) is a non-profit corporation that advocates and promotes the advancement of the profession of kinesiology in Canada. The CKA strives to be recognized as the unifying voice for the profession of kinesiology in Canada, and to have a positive impact on Canadians. On a national level, the CKA represents nine provincial kinesiology associations (PKAs) that are member associations and over 4,300 affiliated kinesiologists. The CKA establishes and promotes the standards of the profession across Canada.

To find a kinesiologist, visit www.cka.ca.

Source: CKA – France A. Martin, Executive Director, info@cka.ca





[1] www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/reports-publications/health-promotion-chronic-disease-prevention-canada-research-policy-practice/vol-37-no-5-2017/self-management-mood-anxiety-disorders-physical-activity-exercise.html

[2] covid.joinzoe.com/post/lockdown-weight-gain

[3] www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/need-extra-precautions/people-with-medical-conditions.html

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