Whitehorse Daily Star

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Photo by John Tonin

GEARING UP – The WGH Re-had Rockets team begins their spin session during the first Habit Health and Wellness Spin-A-Thon on Sunday at 202 Strickland Street.

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Photo by John Tonin

TIME TO SPRINT – Well into their Habit Health and Wellness Spin-A-Thon session, members of the 2020 Arctic Winter Games Host Society feel the burn in their legs as they complete a sprint.

Habit holds a Spin-A-Thon fundraiser

The upstairs studio at 202 Strickland Street was a hopping place for a full eight hours on Sunday for the Habit Health and Wellness Spin-A-Thon fundraiser with all proceeds going to the Yukoners Cancer Care Fund.

By John Tonin on November 4, 2019

The upstairs studio at 202 Strickland Street was a hopping place for a full eight hours on Sunday for the Habit Health and Wellness Spin-A-Thon fundraiser with all proceeds going to the Yukoners Cancer Care Fund.

Music, all different genres, was blasting out of the speakers. Stationary bikes lined the studio and from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. back-to-back spin classes were held with different teams from organizations across the city taking part.

Habit Health and Wellness was started by Melanie Tate in March using the Black Street stairs.

“I run programs like indoor cycling and I really wanted to build community,” said Tait. “I started doing challenges monthly to raise money for a cause. We started at the Black Street stairs and have been doing that throughout the summer once a month.

“Everybody comes, they donate and together we try and do a set number of stairs. I think we did 240 sets of stairs as a group. There is some type of fitness challenge. I call them my fun fundraising fitness challenges.

Tait, an occupational therapist who was born and raised in the Yukon but spent eight years outside for school, said Habit Health and Wellness continues to grow.

“It is growing every time,” said Tait. For this, we have 60 riders and four instructors. At the stair challenge, every time we have more people coming out and hearing about it. We also catch random people who are just doing the stairs.

“People are looking for some outlet that is physical but can also connect.”

The growth, Tait continued, happened quickly and took her by surprise.

“I started with my friends and family and I think it helps that I was born and raised in the Yukon so I had that support system,” said Tait. “I didn’t think it would grow to this capacity outside of my friends and family but it started to spread.”

Tait had high praise for Yukoners when it comes to building community and getting involved.

“I think that the Yukon is great at building community and doing these sorts of things,” said Tait.

“I’m trying to fill a gap of that is something that I craved that is fitness but building a community. When you want to recharge you can go do something active, cognitive, emotional and this is somewhere you can get it all in one place.

“Everyone said at the stair challenge ‘this is the most amount of stairs I’ve ever done,’” said Tait. “We are all going up and down, no one is listening to music, we are all high-fiving, cheering each other on. We are really building each other up and people feel comfortable to do that.”

To go along with promoting fitness, a donation is also made to a local cause. The spin-a-thon will make a donation to the Yukoners Cancer Care Fund, the previous one, a donation was made to Special Olympics Yukon.

“The Yukon is very special in that we all rally together for causes,” said Tait. “It was pretty amazing to see how quickly the community here has grown for Habit. Also, I know there is so many organizations doing great things but you can be involved in multiple things.”

Yukoners Cancer Care Fund offers a one-time financial grant of $1,000 to a Yukoner (or someone living in Atlin, BC and Lower Post BC - as they would come to Whitehorse for treatment). Patients can use the grant as they need - many use this for extra travel costs, to bring someone with them during treatment down south, living and household expenses while they cannot work.

In doing these challenges, Tait said, her vision was to put good vibes out to the community.

“We are putting out positivity,” said Tait. “It is just really nice, it builds us all up. It helps others who might need that encouragement. We leave the class feeling empowered and then we can go help others in the community and that was my vision to spread positivity.

“That’s why it’s called Habit to promote this way of living here. Habit stands for: healthy active beings interacting together. The vision is that we can interact in a way that is positive and not only keep ourselves accountable for our daily habits but other people as well who might need that extra encouragement.”

The Spin-a-thon was the first time Habit Health and Wellness had moved inside from the stairs.

“This is the first time we have done this and it filled out, all the bikes are booked,” said Tait.

“It’s a fun event, I’m not sure if I’ll do it every month, I will do it again for different causes but I will be popping up in other places not just spinning and stairs. I want to keep building community and different fitness avenues.”

Everyone who wants to participate is welcome to give Habit a try.

“We have a range of fitness levels and we’ve seemed to have found a niche,” said Tait. “There are beginners and advanced and they are all working together and having a good time.”

As well, Tait said a lot of families come out to give fitness a try together.

“We have a lot of families coming out,” said Tait. “The last classes here we had two sisters, cousins and an aunt. At the stair challenge, we had kids, people backpacking their babies, seniors. A way to work out with your family I think is really fun. I love watching family dynamics in a class and it’s a good way for them to bond.”

Moving forward, Tait said she wants to keep that positive energy and momentum building and hopes it spreads to people who aren’t already involved in fitness.

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