Benefits of physical fitness extend into life
Lisa Bailey

Healthy body, healthy mind, healthy relationships.

These are paths travelled by Mark Walser and people he has supported through posAbilities for the past 19 years.

The one-to-one life skills worker has seen people he’s supported evolve and grow. Strong relationships have developed, including one that continues with the very first individual that Mark worked with.

Mark, who has been a long time chief mate with B.C. Ferries, joined posAbilities in hopes of utilizing his degree in physical education and biological sciences with a minor in special education.

His interest and knowledge in physical fitness, which extends to body building, has frequently formed a foundation to build relationships with people he’s supported.

Such a common interest is a building block for relationships as it facilitates communication, which leads to trust and comfort.

Mark also knows that physical fitness can be conducive to positive steps towards goals of greater independence and community involvement.

He notes that people he’s supported have found support and friendships amongst community members when pursuing physical activity.

Seeing the success of others is inspirational, as is becoming fitter. Self-confidence and self-esteem grow.

“You can set goals for yourself in the gym and you see the accomplishments. And you feel good. Healthy body, healthy mind,” Mark says.

“When you see that physical change for yourself that also changes you mentally, makes you more confident and have greater self-esteem, and you can take that and project it in everything else that you do in life.”

Seeing these positive developments happen in the lives of people he’s worked with has enriched Mark’s life. He’s enjoyed helping people become more involved in the community, make friends and connections and meet goals.

“I really love what I do,” he says, noting people he no longer works with have stayed in touch to let him know how they’re doing.

“Every new person that I work with wants to go to the gym . . . I start them out there and the whole process starts again,” he says.

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