We’ve had an unusual winter here in the Lower Mainland of British Columbia. Since the beginning of December we’ve had what most of the rest of Canada usually has – snow and colder temperatures. In fact, this is the most snow I’ve seen since I’ve lived here. There are a number of problems with this – the municipalities aren’t set up to deal with the snow with enough equipment (like sidewalk plows and odd/even parking), nor in their budgets. Driving around, it is clear that a number of people don’t realize that there are bylaws on the books that require owners to remove the snow from the sidewalks in front of their homes and businesses (another post for another day).
When you live in a snowy climate and are mobility-challenged with a condition such as rheumatoid arthritis, it can be a challenge to be a good citizen by shovelling your walkway and driveway.
While browsing through the Delta Parks, Recreation and Culture Leisure Guide I came across a page that melted my heart, even if it didn’t melt the snow. There is a call for Snow Angels who are volunteers who shovel the sidewalks and driveways of the residents who are unable to do so, thus ensuring safe passage.
I’m proposing a goodwill challenge for gym owners whose patrons religiously come to lift, push, step, climb, cycle, row or run their way into better health. Why not create some healthy competition between gyms, such as Trevor Linden’s Club 16, or Steve Nash’s Fitness World, to see how many mobility-challenged homes can be shovelled after a snowstorm? Prizes could be rewarded, even though the opportunity to do some functional fitness (aka real-life workout), enjoy fresh air, and to do something kind and valuable for someone else, should be reward enough.
Imagine if a flurry of Snow Angels descended upon your home or that of a loved one, spreading kindness and goodwill, while helping to encourage mobility and independence in those who might otherwise be housebound. This would be an act of community service that not only warms the heart, but also clears the path to enable the mobility-challenged to get out of the house and take part in the exercise they need to maintain the mobility they do have.
I could see The Arthritis Society, The Arthritis Foundation, The Canadian Cancer Society and other groups who support people with mobility challenges working together to promote this within the community. Exercise and volunteerism are great antidotes to stress and depression. Mental Health advocates can also encourage their clients to get shovelling!
Let it snow! Let it snow? Let it snow. Or, maybe not!