By Miranda Massie on July 16, 2019
Check out the links below to see what we’ve been reading and listening to lately.
Walk-in Wellbeing Clinic Permanently Open for Business – UBC Okanagan News (May 29, 2019). Pair this great news with our Thriving Faculty profile of Lesley Lutes (February 2019).
Changing My Mind: Margaret Trudeau Speaks on Mental Health – alumni UBC Podcasts (June 5, 2019)
Alumni Spotlight: Michael Dumont, Indigenous Primary Care – Faculty of Medicine (Spring 2019)
A Place You Can Go: Small Steps for Big Changes – UBC Okanagan In The Field (from Diabetes Research Day, 2019)
UBC Goes All in for Sustainable Seafood – UBC News (June 7, 2019)
Looking for additional summer reads? Check out UC Berkeley’s list of titles from the Greater Good Science Center that explore themes like happiness, burnout, emotional intelligence and communication.
Photo credits: Lesley Lutes, UBC Faculty of Education, UBC Faculty of Medicine, UBC Health, Wellbeing and Benefits, UBC Brand and Marketing.
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
The spring edition of Healthy UBC is always my favourite because I get to talk about a subject I’m passionate about: sex. As a community sexual health educator and health promoter, I see the critical importance of unbiased education, inclusive health care, and safe spaces for discussing a topic that’s often kept behind closed doors.
This month, I’m sharing some helpful hints, tips and information to support your sexual and reproductive health journeys.
Check under the hood regularly
Whether you’re sexually active or planning to conceive, regular checkups are important. Annual physicals or sexual health screenings help ensure that you’re free from health risks associated with your reproductive system, like infections or cancer.
To find a comfortable, supportive environment for all your needs, check out this list of sex-positive sexual health service providers across the province1. Click here to explore transgender and gender-affirming health care services in BC. (learn more about sex positivity and how to tell if your health care provider is sex-positive here).
Know your rights
Historically, many aspects of sexuality have been controlled, limited or prescribed by law. Supporting sexual health can sometimes involve knowing your rights and understanding how to advocate for them. Check out the following resources:
- Rights critical to the realization of sexual health (Action Canada for Sexual Health & Rights)
- Understanding abortion law in Canada (Options for Sexual Health)
- Sex Discrimination and Sexual Harassment (Human Rights in BC)
Avoid Dr. Google
The internet can be a scary place, especially when you type “sex” into the search bar. For accurate and unbiased information, try going directly to one of the following sources:
- Sex&U (The Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada)
- Options for Sexual Health (BC member of International Planned Parenthood)
- Action Canada for Sexual Health and Rights
- Sexual and Reproductive Health Week
- Sexual Violence Prevention and Response (UBC resource)
The body-brain connection
Mental health can impact our ability to lead the sexual lives we want (both positively and negatively). Conversely, difficulties like illness, injury and challenges with conception or sexual function can take an emotional toll on our wellbeing. The following resources explore the connection between the brain and sexual health:
- UBC researcher Dr. Lori Brotto’s work on mindfulness and sexual pleasure
- Sexual Health and Disability (Action Canada for Sexual Health & Rights)
- Pregnancy Loss Resources (BC Women’s Hospital & Health Centre)
Learning is a lifelong process
It’s never too early or too late to learn more about sexual health. Body science is a great way to teach young children about consent and prevent abuse. Older adults might try dating again, or learn about the physical changes that come with age. Regardless of age, there is always more to learn!
- Sex-Ed: What is it and why does it matter? (Action Canada for Sexual Health & Rights)
- Understanding your child’s sexual development and information and resources for children with differing abilities (Alberta Health Services’ teachingsexualhealth.ca)
- Sexuality and Aging (Centre for Sexuality)
- Sex and Seniors (Canadian Public Health Association)
- Why we need to talk about menopause — candidly (Globe and Mail)
I encourage you to consider one thing you might do to support your sexual or reproductive health. Have fun exploring what sexuality means to you and how it connects to your overall sense of wellbeing.
Don’t forget to “heart your parts”!
All my best,
Posted in Editorial, Mental Health, Miranda Massie, Physical Health | Tagged age, ageing, brain, care, editorial, mental health, physical health, reproductive health, rights, Safety, sex, sex positivity, sexual health, sexuality, Support, transgender | Leave a response
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 the month 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.
We already know that physical activity is important for our health, so why not join the movement? Move UBC connects staff, faculty and students with a variety of free and low-cost opportunities to be active on campus. There are options for everyone — no matter your fitness level or ability. So gather a few friends or colleagues and try something new this February!
Below is a selection of fun and inclusive Move UBC events to check out. See the Move UBC Events Calendar to find many more activities.
- Feb.11 to Mar. 8: Explore the campus and nourish your body by joining the UBC Wellbeing Challenge
- Feb. 28: Celebrate your month of movement with Wear Your Active Wear Day (participating locations)
- Free Brain BodyFit classes at Bodyworks all month long
- Feb. 18-22: Free access to all group fitness classes at The Hangar
Photo credit: UBC Recreation
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
Mark your calendars for an action-packed start to the new year! There are lots of opportunities and ways to move and be active, so ask a friend or gather your colleagues and take advantage of the diverse programming coming your way.
UBC Walkabout (January 21 to March 24, 2019)
Walkabout is an annual nine-week health and wellbeing challenge that promotes regular exercise in social settings. Everyone is welcome to participate, either individually or by creating teams of five and walking the distance of the virtual route.
Register your team before January 27, 2019 at http://walkabout.educ.ubc.ca/.
Walkabout was designed and launched in 2005 by Dr. Joy Butler and is a partnership initiative between the Faculty of Education, UBC Recreation and UBC Human Resources.
Move UBC Month (February 1 to 28, 2019)
UBC Vancouver and UBC Okanagan
Get ready to move more this February! Move UBC is an annual university-wide initiative to encourage physical activity and reduce the time students, staff, faculty and the UBC community spend being sedentary. By inspiring people to move more through inclusive and accessible events and activities, Move UBC aims to improve everyone’s overall wellbeing. Check out the following Move UBC events:
- February 1: Cha Cha Slide
- February 11: Wellbeing Challenge Kick-off
- February 28: Wear Your Active Wear Day
- Click here for full calendar listings
Photo credit: UBC Communications and Marketing
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)