The Active Champions Series is a monthly showcase of inspiring stories from influential Canadians who make physical activity and sport a key part of their everyday lives.
“This dance, it gives me a great break – it’s just like hitting the reset button.”
Champions of varying platforms come in an array of different figures – you don’t need a mantle garnished with medals and trophies to make a positive impact on the world around you.
Take, for example, Gurdeep Pandher. A man who moved to Canada from Punjab, India, less than two decades ago, and now uses his passion for movement and nature to spread positivity across the globe.
“Dancing outdoors and doing activities outside is what I am known for on social media,” Gurdeep told ParticipACTION. “The outdoors really inspired me to dance more, dance freely and openly, and show the world that being with nature is very important in our daily life.”
“Sometimes people do exercise just to get fit, to have amazing bodies, and be good looking. But that shouldn’t be the only goal, being active means taking care of your physical and mental health and it’s so important to make it a part of your everyday life. That’s what I try to get across in my videos.”
“It’s very important to take a break, turn your computers and cell phones off and just be in nature, be active, be happy …”
If you have yet to see any of the popular videos of Gurdeep performing traditional Bhangra dances (a style originating with the farmers of Punjab, India in the late 1800s) in front of the beautiful natural landscapes of the Yukon, you’re missing out. A few seconds into his clips and you quickly learn how Gurdeep’s message for movement, love, and positivity has helped him grow a large, loyal following across the globe.
Gurdeep’s adoration for dance is clear each time you watch his contagious smile dance across your screen, leading him to be featured on such news outlets as CBC and CTV National, as well as globally on BBC World News and many more.
“This dance, or just the activity which I do on a daily basis, it gives me a great break – it’s just like hitting the reset button,” said Gurdeep. “I understand that mental health is a big issue now during the pandemic. I noticed a lot more messages online saying, ‘Hey, Gurdeep, we had a really tough time’, or they were going through hard days. “
“I felt very passionately that a lot more people are dealing with difficult situations in their life. Those people didn’t know me personally, but somehow trusted me by watching my videos and getting some positive energy from it.”
Gurdeep might not be competing at the next international games but that doesn’t change the fact that he is a true champion of physical activity nonetheless, inspiring Canadians and the global international community … one mesmerizing Bhangra dance at a time.
“It’s very important to take a break, turn your computers and cell phones off and just be in nature, be active, be happy, and try to forget all of those worries even if just briefly!” Gurdeep said.
“Now I see people doing different activities and tagging me, and it makes me happy because this is the whole purpose of doing these videos – to inspire people to go outside and move!”