What you don't see are cigarettes. These are pictures of activity that are healthy for the body, mind and spirit.
Brad has embarked on a journey of quitting smoking after 35 years of addiction. In his quest to put the old habit behind him, he has taken up canoeing — a trade off that is beneficial on two fronts since smoking and inactivity are two of the biggest risk factors for chronic disease.
He has increased his physical activity and eliminated his smoking.
Smoking is a tough habit to break. I remember my own struggles with giving up my own two pack per day habit over a decade ago.
It took me numerous attempts to quit successfully. In the end, walking played a major role in helping me to break the habit. Research shows that exercise plays a crucial role in quitting smoking and that those who exercise regularly have a much better chance of ridding themselves of the habit.
The effects that exercise have on the body and mind can take the place of the effects of the drug and lead to reduced stress, increased confidence and strength.
Canoeing said Brad, "is so therapeutic for me, so many coves and islands to explore. I like the way my shoulders and arms feel after a ride."
He derives from the activity physical and mental benefits and a connection to the natural world that make quitting easier.
"When you feel your body healing, it helps to encourage you further and lessen the cravings."
Quitting smoking isn't easy. Those of us who have gone through this are keenly aware of that. It is important to have support and know that you aren't alone.
Addiction Services' health promotion and prevention department has a stop-smoking program.
The program is designed to bring people together to help them through the process of quitting. These programs provide a support network and valuable information, including how to use healthy eating and physical activity to aid in your transition.
According to their website (http://www.addictionservicescb.com/NicotineServices/stopsmokingprogram/),
"people who participate in group counseling for their nicotine addiction greatly increase their chances of success."
For more information about the program call 1-877-567-0632.
There are many resources to help in quitting smoking and many assets to help with increasing physical activity to help with the journey from smoker to non-smoker.
For Brad, having access to our wonderful natural assets in Cape Breton was key.
"I just remember one simple thing, the more you quit, the less you smoke. This is one of many things it's really OK to give up. I moved from Sydney to the country which happens to be on the Bras d'Or Lake and the canoe just seemed so fitting and I'm so glad I have it. I feel like I'm in my element."
So, if you are a smoker and feel like joining the ranks of us quitters, follow Brad's example and find a physical activity that takes you in that positive direction.
The route is difficult but it's much smoother if you can find your own canoe and paddle it across the still clear waters of that lake.
Cape Breton is a playground. Go out and play.Wayne McKay is an educator and artist who lives in Sydney. Currently, he works as the Mi'kmaw physical activity project coordinator. This column appears monthly and he welcomes feedback at firstname.lastname@example.org.