Canoe, kayak, stand-up paddle board and BMX bike demos left many people eager to hit the water and trails at the Ottawa Outdoor and Travel Adventure Show this past weekend. But there was one show feature that inspired people to make a lifestyle change — one where participating in activities like these could kick-start a domino affect, leading to healthier choices and spark a real joy for life. It’s a well-known message many Canadians have heard coming from their television for 25 years: ‘keep fit and have fun.’ Hal Johnson and Joanne McLeod are a team whose vitality for life is heard in every story they tell — from the early adventures of their famous program as well as their most recent experience as contestants in The Amazing Race Canada.
“In the last 25 years, the biggest change we’ve seen is that people are more knowledgable when it comes to being healthy, but now, it’s a matter of what can you do to make that change and take action?” said McLeod.
In addition to a more sedentary lifestyle, their seminar at the show touched on the fact that many people spend too much of their day in front of a screen.
“Everyone has a smart phone and computer addiction,” added Johnson. “But what if we were addicted to getting active instead? We need to create new habits — habits of being active and eating properly.”
At 58 and 56 respectively, the duo epitomize the benefits of being active for life. Johnson plays hockey a number of times throughout the week in addition to hitting the gym and doing weight training while McLeod is an active runner, competing in marathons regularly. They both enjoy golfing and kayaking together. The idea for the show came out of their own personal desires to travel while staying fit.
“After a few months, we said ‘if we can do this for just one year, that would be great’ and then it turned into two years and then five and then 10,” added Johnson.
“The message hasn’t changed but we want to look at how we communicate that message,” said Johnson. “We’ve been doing on-location filming recently, like talking about sodium in your diet while standing in the salt flats at the Mojave Desert.
McLeod still does the writing and scripting for the show while Johnson directs and comes up with the concepts. It’s a formula that’s produced an adventure-style show where they test out new fitness activities.
“We had a very small budget when we first started but we always shot on a sunny day, which made for great effect,” said McLeod.
After all this time working and travelling together, Johnson and McLeod have no only learned a great deal about healthy living but also their own lives.
“I’ve learned over the years that it’s not what you have, but what you do with it — just experience life!” said McLeod.
“And I’ve learned to be more patient, realizing that everything doesn’t always have to be done right this instant,” added Johnson.
And for inquiring minds, the famous slogan, ‘keep fit and have fun’, came from a requirement to wrap up the script in a fun and memorable way that really spoke to the essence of the show.
“In doing Body Break, I realized you’re no better than anyone else,” said Johnson. “We don’t think what we do is a big deal.
“We’re just passionate about it and want to help others make positive changes,” added McLeod.
Watch out for new segments of Body Break to hit television screens soon. For tips, tools and more information on healthy living, visit www.bodybreak.com and follow them on Facebook and Twitter: @bodybreak.