Heartland Tour returning to Pictou County July 10

Community Featured

It all starts — and ends — at the Pictou County Wellness Centre.

On July 10, the 12th annual Heartland Tour returns to Pictou County.

Local organizers have been busy planning cycling and walking events to appeal to all ages and abilities. Kathy Saulnier is the community leader and has overall responsibility for the 50 km road ride shown on this new route map. Pat MacDonnell planned the shorter road and trail ride which will have a police-escort for all street sections. Sally O’Neil is in charge of the walks which will use the Old Foster Trail, part of Canada’s Great Trail.

The Heartland Tour endorses the national recommendations for 150 minutes of at least moderate physical activity each week. A practical way of thinking about that is a 30-minute walk five times a week.

In 2007, Halifax-based cardiologist, Dr. Nicholas Giacomantonio realized he was seeing too many patients who, with a different lifestyle, might never require his lifesaving skills. Not only is heart disease hard on individuals and families, it comes with a huge cost to society at every level.

So Dr. Giacomantonio set about creating a non-profit organization of volunteers from all regions and walks of life to promote health and wellness through better lifestyles choices.

“Our volunteers work at the community and provincial level, on their own time, to plan, organize and deliver the Tour in eight communities from Yarmouth to Sydney. We are a unique organization, nobody gets paid to do this, no-one pays to participate, we welcome everyone and we have a fantastic sponsor support to make this all happen.”

Each year the Tour is joined by medical students who carry out population health research. This year they are looking at risk for diabetes and are offering free A1c measures of blood sugar levels so come to the HLT site or Lawtons Drugs on East River Road on July 10 between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m.

“Being physically active is important in the prevention and treatment of diabetes, and even beyond the heart, it is measurably helpful in the management and protection from many cancers, in many areas of mental health, learning and it is probably the best choice you can make for aging well,” says Giacomantonio.

Check it out on July 10 at the Pictou County Wellness Centre when the Tour comes to the county.

For more information, visit www.heratlandtour.ca.