Fun, Fireworks and FitPoints

Celebrate Canada Day with exercise by paying tribute to popular Canadian sports.
Published June 27, 2016

Every Canada Day, Canadians celebrate by eating classic Canadian dishes, enjoying fireworks and parades, visiting iconic destinations and partaking in longstanding traditions. This year, why not add to the festivities by partaking in another aspect of the Canadian identity: exercise.  Exercise? That's right! Whether it’s the Olympics, the Stanley Cup playoffs, the Raptors or the Blue Jays, Canadians have a long history of athletic success and a love of sport. So why not bring out your inner athlete this July 1st with some Canadian sport-inspired workouts. By incorporating movements taken from basketball, ice hockey, and lacrosse you can commemorate this incredible country all while piling up the FitPoints.

Believe it or not, basketball was invented by Canadian James Naismith in 1891 and in recent years has become a big part of Canada's sport identity. With the success of the Toronto Raptors and NBA stars like Steve Nash, Andrew Wiggins and Tristan Thompson all hailing from the Great White North, the sport only stands to grow in the future. 

Basketball is a sport that requires dexterous hands, quick reflexes and a lot of endurance. Shooting, passing and rebounding as well as the heavy amount of jumping and leaping demands that players to have a strong upper and lower body while the quick lateral movements and sudden starts and stops of dribbling and defending require sturdy knees, a strong core and limitless cardio. In other words, playing basketball can be an intense overall body workout.  

Canada Day shootout
Ready to have some fun this Canada day weekend?  Here’s a simple basketball drill you can do with a friend. All you need is a laundry basket and four or five pairs of rolled up socks. 

  1. Take turns tossing the socks into the basket one at a time;
  2. Every time you make a shot, your partner has to perform 20 repetitions of a body-weight exercise of your choosing.
  3. Set a timer for 20 to 30 minutes and once you start tossing, don’t stop till the buzzer goes off.

 Try jump squats and jumping lunges for strong legs, push-ups for a solid upper body, and burpees for cardio.  A few rounds of this game and you'll be ready for the basketball court in no time!  

Canada's favourite game
It’s certainly no surprise that ice hockey is Canada’s most popular sport.  Similar to basketball, hockey predominantly focuses on one limb at a time, or unilateral movements with swift defensive slides and cutting. Hockey require powerful legs that can endure hours of activity without giving out. Players also require a solid core and upper body strength for stick-handling, passing and shooting the puck. 

Hockey skills challenge
For this ice hockey-inspired workout, grab a timer and find a nice long running path or park. 

  1. Repeat the following five exercises for 30 seconds each for six to eight rounds to increase strength and stamina:  zigzag pattern run, side to side jumps, hand plank, skaters, and push-up shoulder taps. 
  2. Feel free to take a 30-second break between rounds as the intensity can build up quick.

Our national summer sport
Lacrosse is one of the oldest sports in Canada and comparable in intensity to hockey and basketball with sudden changes in direction and swift movements. In order to excel at lacrosse you need to be agile and strong with a lot of stamina.  It’s considered the fastest sport on two feet with a primary focus on back and shoulder movements.

Lacrosse inspired workout

  1. Grab a broomstick or weighted body bar and complete 20 repetitions for three rounds of the following four exercises.
  2. Jumping jacks holding bar overhead
  3. Walking lunge with bar oblique twist - twist in the direction of the front bent knee
  4. Plie squats with bar bicep curl -curl bar up when you squat down
  5. Seated core rotation – with bar behind the upper back, twist from side to side while maintaining a stable lower body