‘Living in isolation is no excuse’: Keeping fit and eating right, on Labrador’s northern coast

Image : CBC


It takes a lot to keep motivated up to stay fit and healthy in the winter but when you’re in an isolated community, where the options for exercise and healthy food are limited, it can be even harder. Nain’s Shannon Dicker is tackling those challenges head-on.

“In Nain, you need a hobby, you need something,” Dicker said. “It kind of became my passion to begin working out — to live a healthier lifestyle.”

The Inuit health survey, which has not been updated since 2008, showed that Inuit populations have a higher rate of diabetes and higher blood pressure than other Canadians. Dicker wants to help change that.

“Living in isolation is not an excuse. We have to be creative with what we have.” – Shannon Dicker

“When you think about the Inuit really struggling with high rates of Type 2 diabetes and high cholesterol, heart disease, heart failure, you’re thinking about their lifestyle change,” Dicker said.

“Because before they were really nomadic people, living off of the land and I guess we’re [now] living more sedentary lives.”

Dicker runs a boot camp group twice a week for women in Nain to work on themselves but also to support one another as well.

“I do want people to find their passion and try to live a healthier lifestyle,” Dicker said. “Living in isolation is not an excuse. We have to be creative with what we have.”

Far and wide

Dicker began posting her workouts to social media because she said it made her push harder but others began paying attention too.

“I didn’t know if I was trying to get a message out or if I was just doing it for myself,” Dicker said.

“But when people started responding, it was really great to see that I was helping people.”

Her posts focus not just on exercise but also on nutrition. She keeps a supply of frozen meats and greens in case there is a snag with deliveries; nutrition can be challenging in the isolation of Nain.

“The fresh stuff every week … you’re really uncertain on when it’s going to come in, not knowing if it gets stuck in Goose Bay due to weather, what shape is it going to be in,” Dicker said.

“And also having to run down basically after work, like, ‘Did the produce come in?'”

Through her posts, she also became a “beach body coach” for a company that markets fitness programs. She does make money through it but says that isn’t the reason she got into it.

“I decided after a while I wanted to give it a try,” Dicker said.

“It’s not really about the money. It’s about how I feel helping other people.”

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