Fitting In Fitness
By Miranda Massie on July 16, 2019
Music can be a powerful way to heal, soothe, remember and connect. It can also be an effective motivator when it comes to exercise.
For over 40 years, scientists have been studying the impact of music on motivation and exercise. Results show that it can improve physical efficiency, enhance emotional experiences and lower perceived levels of effort.1
In a recent study conducted in partnership with UBC professor Kathleen Martin Ginis and post-doctoral fellow Matthew Stork, researchers discovered both physical and psychological benefits from working out while listening to a soundtrack of motivational music.
- Improved physical performance and power
- A boost in cardiovascular output
- Increased physical intensity and heart rate (our body will alter heart rate to match the rhythm of the music!)
- More positive emotional responses both during and after exercise.
- Increased enjoyment throughout a workout, even when physical exertion is higher
You don’t have to be a pro!
A unique part of this study was that the research subjects were inactive individuals. This means that everyone can benefit from adding music to a workout, not just those who are already physical active or in top-notch shape.2
Choosing the right music is key; if you don’t find the music motivating, it won’t have the beneficial impacts listed above. The researchers recommend choosing music with an upbeat tempo that you connect with personally or emotionally.
- Check out this list of Spotify’s top workout playlists (categorized by genre) or a list of Apple Music’s best workout mixes
- Try the songs used in the research study: Calvin Harris’s “Let’s Go,” Mackelmore’s “Can’t Hold Us” or Linkin Park’s “Bleed it Out”
- Reflect on the eras and genres of music that motivate you to move and put together your own playlist
The next time you want to get active, or even when you’re doing chores like cleaning, consider playing some of your favourite motivational music. It will up your game and your mood.
Photo credit: UBC Thrive
By Miranda Massie on June 4, 2019
Bored with your regular fitness routine? Looking for a quick and inexpensive activity? Look no further than your nearest staircase, where you’ll discover fun and interesting ways to take your fitness to new heights.
Week 1: Sign up for the annual Pick Your Peak Stair Challenge
Stair climbing is a great way to boost cardiovascular health, build muscle and strengthen your core. Join this fun and inclusive challenge as an individual or part of a team. It’s free, and you’ll have a chance to win great prizes! Learn more or register now.
Week 2: Take to the mountains
Hiking is a great way to get your heart rate up while gazing at gorgeous natural scenery. Take a peek at this list of snow-free trails for inspiration. Or if you’re wanting a weekend getaway, here are suggestions for the most awe-inspiring hikes in BC.
Week 3: Climbing on campus
The UBC Vancouver campus walking maps include directions to the Wreck Beach and Tower Beach stairs. If stair climbing is not your thing, consider popping into The Aviary, UBC’s very own climbing wall located in The Nest.
Week 4: When stairs are not an option
If the stairs are not an accessible option for you, try playing some music and moving whichever parts of your body you can for the length of your favourite song. The movement will activate your muscles and increase oxygen and energy flow to your brain and body.
Photo Credit: Melissa Lafrance
By Miranda Massie on May 2, 2019
We all know that exercise is good for our physical health, but did you know that it can benefit our sexual health too?
This month, we’re sharing cardio, endurance training, muscle isolation and flexibility exercises to boost reproductive wellbeing and sexual satisfaction.1
Week 1: Take a brisk walk (cardio)
Ten to 30 minutes of brisk walking 3-5 days a week supports healthy cardiovascular functioning. Improved blood flow and circulation support erectile function while the release of endorphins enhances relaxation and overall sexual satisfaction.1, 2, 3
Week 2: Dive in (endurance)
An overall increase in physical stamina can also improve sexual stamina, and swimming is a wonderful, low-impact way to build endurance. Looking for a place to start? Check out the new spring schedule at the UBC Aquatic Centre.2
Week 3: Exercise incognito (muscle isolation)
Kegels improve the body’s pelvic floor muscles, which help to support bladder, bowel and sexual function. Read this helpful Kegel How-To-Guide from the Harvard Medical School. This simple and quick exercise is free, doesn’t require any equipment, and can be done without anyone knowing.4, 5
Week 4: Strike a pose (flexibility)
Practicing certain yoga poses and exercises can also support the development and maintenance of the pelvic floor muscles.4, 5 Check out the workouts below to get started:
- Ultimate Pelvic Floor workout video (Canadian Living)
- Best Pelvic Floor Exercises (Core Exercise Solutions)
Photo credit: VPFRO Communications
By Miranda Massie on April 2, 2019
The nature of working and learning on university campuses often promotes sedentary behaviour, from sitting in classes, meetings and offices to working on computers with few breaks for physical activity. In addition to the effect on physical wellbeing, high levels of sedentary behaviour and low levels of movement also impact mental wellbeing and academic and professional success.
Emerging research suggests that prolonged sitting can lead to physical states of “exercise resistance” where the body stops producing the typical metabolic benefits that accompany physical activity.
This month, we’re sharing ways to fit more movement and activity into sedentary periods of your day.
Week 1: Register for Staff & Faculty Sports Day
Infuse some movement and fun into your work day by participating in this university-wide event. There are numerous activities to enhance your mental and physical wellbeing and to suit any ability. Gather your colleagues and make it an exciting, active, team-building afternoon. Register now.
Week 2: Fun and funky office exercises
To break up long periods of sitting, try doing one or more of these suggested exercises (Washington Post).
Week 3: Walk it out
Week 4: Perfect your Posture
Learn how to move and protect your body by incorporating posture exercises and stretching into your daily routine.
For more ideas and inspiration, check out Move UBC’s Make Your Move page.
Let us know your favourite tricks for breaking up sitting time throughout the day!
Photo credit: UBC Recreation
By Miranda Massie on March 4, 2019
Interesting new research out of UBC Okanagan and McMaster University supports the benefits of integrating short periods of activity throughout the day. Just three short bursts of physical movement, like taking the stairs, has been shown to improve cardiovascular fitness. It’s like food snacking, but you’re on the move!
This month, try exercise snacking with these bite-size suggestions:
Snack 1: Take the stairs
Try climbing three flights of stairs, three times per day.
Snack 2: Jumping jacks
Start and end your day with a set of 30 jumping jacks. Have a spare moment at lunch? Add another set.
Snack 3: Walk it out
Take a 10 to 12-minute walk after each meal. For example, walk outside, on a treadmill or on the spot.
Snack 4: Just dance
Pick three of your favourite songs and just dance. Space them throughout your day to provide both a brain and a body break!
The best part about this approach to exercise? All of the above are easy on your schedule, as well as your wallet. For those with differing abilities or limited mobility, feel free to replace any of the snacks with aerobic activity alternatives (e.g. rowing, water sports, dancing, seated sports, hand-pedalled biking, etc.)
Let us know if you try exercise snacking or already do some form of it. Have fun!
Photo Credit: UBC Communications and Marketing
Posted in Fitting In Fitness, Physical Health | Tagged dance, exercise snacks, exercise tips, fitness, fitting in fitness, jumping jacks, movement, physical activity, stairs, Walking | Leave a response
By Miranda Massie on February 5, 2019
February is a perfect time of year to focus on all matters of the heart – including heart health. Get that blood pumping by exploring ways to stay mindful, motivated and moving.
Week 1: Take Part in Move UBC Month
Use February to celebrate movement at UBC! Move UBC is a UBC-wide campaign to increase physical activity and celebrate the diverse ways we can move on campus. Get inspired to move by checking out the Move UBC events calendar.
Week 2: Jump In!
Bring back the nostalgia of childhood and get your heart pumping with just 15 minutes of jumping rope, a fun and easy cardio alternative. Or, follow along with this six-minute FitnessBlender video.
Week 3: Check Your Health
UBC’s annual Travelling Health Fair may be booked up, but you can still take advantage of a check-up in the following ways:
- March 6-20: Contact the UBC Pharmacists Clinic at 604-827-2584 to request a free kidney health assessment (the same screening offered through the Travelling Health Fair this year).
- Visit our online Virtual Health Fair: You’ll find over 20 screenings, tools and resources to help assess your current wellbeing status and make improvements towards a healthier self.
Week 4: Get Your Cardio on Demand
Looking for inspiration to move more or move differently? Look no further than the following list of YouTube channels that offer fitness videos on demand.
Photo credit: Melissa Lafrance
By Miranda Massie on January 8, 2019
Set yourself up for success this year by rethinking the way you approach your fitness goals. Discover great tips and tricks for staying on track, feeling confident and building lasting habits.
Week 1: Assess your goals
We often look to the end results when determining the progress and achievements of our fitness goals. Instead, try asking yourself why you want to achieve your goals. How will the end result impact your life or benefit your overall wellbeing? This article from Greatist.com describes how to assess and re-set your goals. Level up for success!
Week 2: Mix it up
It can be difficult to stay motivated if we’re not enjoying the activities we take part in. The best way to resuscitate a fitness plan is to make it fun! If you don’t enjoy running, then don’t make this a resolution. Try UBC Recreation’s Free Week to discover what gets you excited to work out.
Week 3: Go social
Consider gathering a group of colleagues to join the annual UBC Walkabout. This nine-week step challenge is a great way to stay active, motivated and accountable. Attend the Jan.16 Kick-off Event or register now.
Week 4: Try low or no cost
It can be easy to pass on a fitness activity, especially if it comes with a price tag. But with the number of free apps, YouTube videos and open-sourced fitness classes available, there are countless low and no cost ways to stay active. Try exploring this list of 18 YouTube Channels to Get in Shape (Goodful by Buzzfeed). Or, read up on the best free fitness apps out there:
- 7 workout and fitness apps for tracking and planning (TheSportsEdit)
- 8 fitness apps that can help you get in shape — and what they’re best for (Business Insider)
By Miranda Massie on December 5, 2018
During cold and dark winter months, it can be enticing to hibernate and stay indoors, leading to less activity. But there are still lots of ways to keep moving and to maintain a fitness routine. This month, we offer some winter-proof workouts for you to try.
Week 1: Maximize your energy by being prepared
Before heading outdoors, make sure to brush up on these Cold Weather Clues (from our Fitting in Fitness archive) to ensure that you stay warm, dry and hydrated. This will help conserve energy for your chosen form of activity.
Week 2: Work out on your break
No gym? No problem! Make the most of your break with this quick and easy routine from FitnessBlender.com that can be done at a desk, an office, or anywhere with a spare chair.
Week 3: Embrace the cold (and the activities that come with it)
Metro Vancouver offers a wealth of unique winter activities and adventures that can only be done at this time of year. Don’t miss out on the fitness opportunities that snowy conditions can bring.
Week 4: Think outside the box
Feeling busy and overwhelmed? Consider the Greatist.com’s list of stress-free ways to incorporate activity into your day, like delivering gifts on foot, decorating and even singing!
For more fitness tips and inspiration, visit our Fitting in Fitness page.
Photo credit: ICORD
By Miranda Massie on October 23, 2018
Our brain is an important muscle, one that requires training, activity and downtime just like the rest of our body. Fitting in time for mental health is as important as our physical fitness. This month, in honour of UBC Thrive, we offer tips and suggestions for keeping your brain fit.
Week 1: Train your brain to be mindful
In as little as 10 minutes per day, you can actually train your brain to be more focused and attentive. This creates much-needed mental space and can improve stress management, productivity and interpersonal relationships. Learn more about the benefits of mindfulness or sign up for UBC’s free 30-Day Online Mindfulness Challenge.
Week 2: Dial down the screen time
Whether it’s for five minutes at the dinner table or a whole day, taking time away from electronic devices is key to maintaining a happy and rested brain. Try Psychology Today’s 5 Ways to Do a Digital Detox or discover some free tools to save your eyes from digital eye strain (Greatist.com).
Week 3: Take time to smell the roses
Try pausing for five-minutes in one of the many serene spaces and places on campus. Ideas include Wreck Beach, Flagpole Plaza, the Vancouver Art Gallery steps and UBCO Campus Walking Trails. Check out these other hidden gems and thriving spaces on the Vancouver campus.
Week 4: Strengthen your neural pathways
Activities that engage both hemispheres of the brain help promote new and existing neural pathways. This phenomenon is called neuroplasticity. Want to practice? Try this Ear and Nose Brain Break or these brain exercises to boost memory.
Interested in learning more? Read Scientific American’s Why Your Brain Needs More Downtime
Photo Credit: Tirthankar Gupta (Flickr)
By Miranda Massie on October 3, 2018
Social connection is not just great for enhancing our overall wellbeing: it can also help boost our physical activity. Grab a friend or family member and find new ways to move this fall.
Week 1: Partner-up
Need a bit of extra motivation? Find a workout buddy and try these great exercises designed for two. FitnessBlender’s Total Body Partner Workout offers information on calories burned and a printable workout sheet.
Week 2: Make it a family affair
Check out these suggestions from Tourism Vancouver to get your family active and moving (includes both indoor and outdoor activities).
Week 3: Maximize your tech
Looking for some friendly competition? Many fitness apps and trackers have options that let you follow your progress or compete against friends or members of your online community using the same fitness technology. Read more about tapping into the power of friends (CNN.com).
Week 4: Stretching for two
Stretch, tone and boost your relaxation with this set of partner yoga stretches (FitnessBlender).
Photo credit: UBC Brand & Marketing
By Miranda Massie on September 11, 2018
September is busy enough without worrying about finances too. Read on to discover low-cost or no-cost fitness options and inclusive activities on campus.
Week 1: Make the most of Free Week!
From Sep. 10-16, UBC Recreation invites you explore as many classes as you like at various Vancouver campus locations. See the full class schedule on the UBC Rec’s Free Week webpage, including details about open houses happening at the ARC, Aquatic Centre and Tennis Centre, and special events like Recess on Main Mall or the Free Skate.
If you’re in the Okanagan, check out the Campus Rec Free Week (Sep. 10-15).
Week 2: Take advantage of UBC corporate discounts
UBC staff and faculty have access to a wide range of on- and off-campus corporate health, fitness and family discounts. Fit in your fitness without breaking the bank.
Week 3: New staff and faculty recreation rates
Want to move more while on campus? Check out UBC Recreation’s new fitness membership bundles which include fitness centre access and spin and fitness classes, as well as yoga and Pilates.
Week 4: Stay in shape while on the move
Walking is a wonderful no-cost option for keeping active. Try incorporating it into your commute: park on the top level of the parkade, get off the bus 1-2 stops early, or host a walking meeting. People who use active transportation (e.g. bus, bike, on foot) to commute to work and school tend to be more active, and have more positive lifestyle attributes [source].
Looking for accessible fitness options? Discover these inclusive recreation options offered at UBC Point Grey.