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Stay Active With Nijmegen Marches Legion Representative Joan Cook

Jun 9, 2020
Legion member and Veteran Joan Cook talks training for the 2021 Marches Nijmegen and staying active & healthy during the pandemic.
Joan, in active-wear, sits on a ledge overlooking the ocean and surrounding green space. She stares off into the distance.


The 2020 Marches Nijmegen in the Netherlands, scheduled for July 21-24, may be cancelled, but that isn’t stopping Canadian Armed Forces Veteran and Legion representative Joan Cook from continuing to train for next year from home where physical distancing is the new norm.

We asked Joan how she is maintaining an active and healthy lifestyle during the pandemic. Although many will not practice the same exercise regime as Joan, her mind-set and hard work during these challenging times could inspire us to maintain or improve our own physical and mental health.

Training for the Nijmegen Marches

When it comes to training for next year’s Marches Nijmegen, Joan says, “I have increased my daily fitness regime of circuit training and walking several times a week to training hard six days a week. I follow the military’s training schedule and we march 3 times a week with a 20-pound backpack! I also follow online personal fitness training on other days.”

Since Joan kept up with her training, she was also able to participate in a Canadian Forces Virtual Commemorative March this May in honour of the 75th anniversary of VE Day and the Liberation of the Netherlands. Participants marched 40 kilometres over two days on a route of their choice. Read about it here.

Signing up to participate in a virtual fitness challenge or program could be a great motivator to keep up with an active lifestyle for you and your family. 

If participating in a virtual fitness program interests you, be sure to check out Navy Bike Ride Battle of Atlantic Challenge and the MissionVAV health promotion program for Veterans, their families, friends and Legion members.

Joan’s Advice on Staying Active & Healthy During the Pandemic

We asked Joan for advice on staying active and healthy during the pandemic based on her personal experience.

Use a calendar:

I find having a routine I can follow keeps me on track,” says Joan. “I use a calendar for online workouts with certain workouts marked for each day. I follow that as best as I can and add the marches in on the designated days. I find the calendar helpful because it keeps me focused.”

Use an online app or video:

“I use an app called Beachbody On Demand (BOD). It has a ton of workout options. I’m currently doing the 80 day Obsession program.

Online fitness training is great because you can do it around your own schedule at home. There’s so much available right now with many of the workouts involving little to no equipment. The workouts I use have a calendar and tracker so that helps me stick to it.” 

Start moving:

“If more intense fitness training is not for you, then going on a walk, a bike ride, or gardening are great alternatives. The main thing is to move your body!”

Take care:

“I love training for the Marches outside on the country roads in my neighbourhood. Physical activity is so good for your mental health. You’ll also find that you sleep better and can maintain a healthy weight.

We need more positivity and self-care in our lives, especially now with all the uncertainty in the world. The more self-care a person can do during these trying times will help them in coping with the challenges they face.”