Spread­ing word

Heart­land Tour pro­motes ben­e­fits of healthy lifestyle.

Cape Breton Post - - FRONT PAGE - BY GREG MCNEIL gm­c­neil@cb­post.com

The ob­vi­ous and not so ob­vi­ous com­mu­nity ben­e­fits of a healthy lifestyle are the fo­cus of the Ninth an­nual Heart­land Tour.

The an­nual bi­cy­cle ride across the province stopped in Cape Bre­ton on Mon­day with a mes­sage about the im­por­tance of an ac­tive lifestyle that stretches be­yond a strong heart.

“If you want busi­ness to come and in­vest, there’s lot of literature that sug­gests if you don’t have a healthy com­mu­nity, busi­ness don’t in­vest be­cause they spend too much on dis­abil­ity,” said Dr. Nick Gi­a­co­man­to­nio, leader of Heart­land Tour.

“They’ll look at a place and say: ‘ This place con­sumes a lot of dis­abil­ity costs so don’t in­vest there be­cause they are go­ing to cost us a lot of money.’”

A mag­i­cal for­mula is not re­quired to push work­force at­ti­tudes to­wards health­ier choices, he said. In fact, he said, so­ci­ety has al­ready rec­og­nized the im­por­tance of health­ier choices and many are work­ing to im­ple­ment them.

“It’s not that I now have to add an hour to my day to find phys­i­cal fit­ness — build it into your day,” he said.

“Walk to work. If you can’t walk to work, park your car on the op­po­sites side of the park­ing lot and far­thest away from the door.”

Tak­ing the stairs and any­thing that add steps to a day are op­tions, he said.

Gi­a­co­man­to­nio and a core crew of 20 cy­clists left Open Hearth Park Mon­day morn­ing with that mes­sage and other healthy lifestyle tips.

They made their way around an es­ti­mated 90-km loop of the Cape Bre­ton Re­gional Mu­nic­i­pal­ity, joined by another 20 or so cy­clists.

Syd­ney res­i­dent Benny Wrob­leski had wanted to join the group in the past and was pleased his work sched­ule al­lowed it this time out.

“It’s all for fit­ness and health,” the 60 year-old said.

“I bike all sum­mer … and in the win­ter I’m an avid down­hill skier. I try to stay healthy.”

Cy­cling, he said, makes the legs stronger for win­ter ac­tiv­i­ties and vice versa.

The tour made its way through Syd­ney on Mon­day to stops in Port Morien, Glace Bay and Lin­gan and many places in be­tween.

Though some joined the riders for the en­tire jour­ney, Gi­a­co­man­to­nio said it’s very en­cour­ag­ing to see peo­ple take part even if it is only for a por­tion of the ride.

“What we are do­ing in the com­mu­ni­ties is mo­ti­vat­ing or hope­fully mo­bi­liz­ing the com­mu­nity to say: ‘I’ll go with them for a short ride,’” he said.

“You don’t have to do the 100 km. Meet us in Donkin and pedal to Glace Bay. Meet us in Glace Bay and pedal to Do­min­ion.”

As the tour made its way back to Open Hearth Park in Syd­ney var­i­ous com­mu­nity groups had dis­play and demon­stra­tions that also em­pha­sized the value of fit­ness.

In­cluded was the Cape Bre­ton Re­gional Fire Ser­vices, EHS, the Cana­dian mil­i­tary and oth­ers.

GREG MCNEIL/CAPE BRE­TON POST

Mem­bers of the core rid­ing team for the Ninth an­nual Heart­land Tour gather prior to the start of the Cape Bre­ton por­tion of the ride at Open Hearth Park on Mon­day. The province wide tour pro­motes heart health.

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