The Importance of Self-Investment in Recreation

By Devon Kippen

By Devon Kippen

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Although I am relatively new to my position with Campus & Community Recreation at the University of Alberta, I have been delighted over the past year to meet so many people who share a burning passion for recreation and the community it builds. We pursue recreation for many reasons, but at its core recreation represents a positive outlet for self-investment. During the COVID-19 pandemic, as our traditional community has been altered and we have navigated loss, stress, and isolation, self-care should be a priority - yet it's too easily forgotten. At some point in our lives we have all heard the cliché, "you don't know what you've got till it's gone," but I think few of us expect to actually lose it. On some level this realization is resonating with people across the world. For those working in the physical activity, health, and wellness industry, the abrupt need to pivot and adapt to how these services are delivered has been unprecedented.

Who would have ever thought we wouldn't be able to go to a restaurant, buy toilet paper, or see family members on a whim? Certainly not me. I feel I may have taken our recreation facilities for granted. But even though this pandemic led to a sudden closure and to the disruption of our regular services, I am increasingly noticing the positive outcomes of this experience.

Strangely, I feel somewhat grateful for the opportunity to be able to explore both my creative and technical sides, implementing the delivery of live, online fitness classes in hopes of reaching our community in new ways. In addition, my team and I have developed virtual personal training and nutrition services, and have created a multitude of digital wellness resources that help us to facilitate and deliver leading-edge programs, events, and services for our students & communities.

As virtually all recreation facilities, fitness studios and trainers adapt their business practices in response to the pandemic, I can't help but think of Newton's first law of physics: an object at rest tends to stay at rest, and an object in motion tends to stay in motion. In a time where sports and recreation have been placed on hold, gyms have closed, and typical leisure time activities have come to a grinding halt, this law presents a daunting hurdle for many.

As a health and wellness professional I often struggle with finding the best ways to understand and connect with the "CAN'T" crowd (those who do not believe they are able to or have time to tend to their physical activity and/or mental health needs) - especially in a world where there is a growing understanding that sedentary behaviour poses a major health risk. It is especially this crowd of people that inspires me to connect with our community online, not only to provide valuable exercise resources, but to educate and remind people that a workout does not undo the effects of poor nutrition, high stress or sitting on your butt for the other 1380 minutes of the day. The pursuit of health is holistic and encompasses many dimensions of wellness. And, representing a world class educational institution, I believe that it is important to deliver the most integrated experiences possible to reflect this.

Although adapting to a new normal is something we are all struggling with in one way or another, our goal at Campus & Community Recreation to create moments that inspire and empower exceptional life experiences through recreation, sport and wellness remains unchanged for those who choose to embrace it. As Newton's law suggests, life exists in a state of motion, and it's how our bodies are designed to exist - so stay active and stay well! Your body, mind and spirit will thank you.

- Devon Kippen, Assistant Fitness Supervisor
Campus & Community Recreation
Faculty of Kinesiology, Sport, and Recreation

Campus & Community Recreation continues to develop new resources each week:

Live fitness and recreation classes via Zoom

Visit the Stay Active, Stay Well YouTube Channel

Additional resources can also be found on CCR's website

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Devon is the Assistant Fitness Supervisor with Campus & Community Recreation, a certified personal trainer and fitness instructor. Her background began in athletics as a competitive figure skater which influenced her interest in physiology, biomechanics and injury prevention. After graduating from the University of Alberta with a Bachelor of Kinesiology in 2015 she applied her knowledge and expertise in the recreation industry and developed a passion for working with individuals of all abilities. In her downtime she is an avid recreation enthusiast up for any challenge. Her favourite activities include resistance training, running, mountain biking, hiking and snowboarding but she will try anything and everything that keeps her moving!