Julie Bertrand / Independent reporter
If you are thinking about quitting smoking and having a healthier lifestyle, Alberta Health Services has something for you.
Stettler has been chosen to be part of the pilot program Learn to Run, a successful program developed by the Nova Scotia Lung Association to promote health, wellness and fitness.
“It is designed for smokers, specifically,” said Siobhan Atkey, Addiction Services addiction counselor.
“We will be running it Aug. 30, which is our start date. It is an eight-week program.”
Each participant, after paying a $50 registration fee, will get a personalized running plan.
“We will be meeting in the hospital conference room for the Tuesday evening sessions. We will start from there and we will walk and stretch and as warm-up,” said Stacie Pederson, health promotion with Alberta Health Services central zone.
“We will have an optional second running time. On Thursdays at noon, Robin Schwartz will have the participants meet at Performance Physio Therapy to run there.”
Atkey and Pederson emphasize that the Learn to Run program is not a quit smoking program.
“We are hoping that, through the program, people will eventually think about quitting smoking down the road but that is not the main goal of the program,” said Atkey.
Participants will have to option to run or walk during the running times.
“There are two components to the program. There will be a running part and we will be running coaches. There will also be an information session for 20-30 minutes,” said Atkey.
The sessions will be about running techniques, nutrition, mental health, other local options for physical activities and tobacco cessation.
The program will have three levels from beginner to advanced.
“We will have a level for the person that can walk a little bit without being winded, but who wants to upgrade their fitness, to the person that is in fairly good shape and wants to have more of a challenge,” said Atkey.
At the end of the eight weeks, there will be a 5km run/walk to celebrate the end of the program.
“We are looking at doing it around Halloween,” said Pederson.
“Their families will be invited and everyone can dress up and run/walk the 5km.”
For more information, about the program, please contact Stacie Pederson at 403-740-8108. To register, go on the website ns.lung.ca/learntorunforsmokers