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Town of Milestone gets moving

There are no walking paths in the rural Saskatchewan community of Milestone, no outdoor courts or gyms. But the town’s 700 residents have shown you don’t need those amenities to get active.

Milestone took part in the ParticipACTION Community Better Challenge this summer and walked away with the title of Saskatchewan’s most active community after 250 people collectively logged more than 1.7 million active minutes in the month of June. The honour comes with a $15,000 prize from the federal and provincial governments that will be put toward a multi-sport court to further promote physical activity.

“I am so happy for our community to come together in a time when things have been tough and cheer each other on in a positive way,” says Milestone resident Michelle Henry who signed the community up for the challenge and engaged residents in using the ParticipACTION app to track their activities.

Henry owns a private fitness studio and loves helping others reach their fitness goals. She saw how difficult it was for people to be active in Milestone, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic when activities like school sports and seniors walking programs were suspended and believed the ParticipACTION challenge would be a great way to motivate people to move.

“I thought we could reach some people who hadn’t been active and get them active,” Henry said.

Milestone residents logged activity minutes throughout the month of June as part of the ParticipACTION Community Better Challenge.

Henry promoted the competition throughout June, including by working with the local school and seniors centre. She also organized a virtual fun run that attracted 73 participants and is on track to become an annual event.

Community support for the challenge was “just awesome” she said.

“Some people started walking for their mail and they hadn’t done that in forever. Some people hadn’t run or hadn’t run for a long time so it inspired them to run,” Henry said.

“It was great just to see people and families out. It wasn’t just kids. It was husband and wife, and their family out walking around, there were groups of people out moving around our town lots, which was nice to see.”

Though the challenge has ended, Henry said many Milestone residents are continuing their active habits and some are still using the ParticipACTION app as a means of motivation.

She’s keen to see that continue — and to see people trying out some new activities such as pickleball and tennis once the community’s multi-sport court opens.