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.
By Melissa Lafrance on August 7, 2018
This month, we share the results of our popular Stair Challenge, an annual health and wellbeing initiative that encourages UBC staff and faculty to use stair climbing to boost their cardiovascular health and build strength.
The 2018 Pick Your Peak Stair Challenge achieved a high water mark this year with a record turnout of participants. For four weeks (May 28 to June 22), over 490 staff, faculty and postdoctoral fellows took steps to climb their way to better health. The annual initiative is organized by UBC Human Resources’ Health Promotions team and offers a fun, easy, inclusive and accessible way for UBC employees to take an active role in enhancing their overall health and wellbeing. As individuals or in teams, participants can take the stairs, gain elevation by hiking, or stay active on stair climbers. For non-stair climbers, there is the option of walking or tracking wheelchair distances. Weekly and top performing prizes are awarded during and at the end of the challenge.
This year’s Stair Challenge had UBC employees stepping up from across the university, from Point Grey, the Okanagan and Robson Square to the hospital sites at VGH/DHCC, St. Paul’s, BC Women’s and Children’s. Collectively, they climbed 547,748 metres – the equivalent of scaling Mt. Everest 65 times!
The effort, enthusiasm and level of engagement was high throughout the challenge. Participants not only achieved astounding altitudes, but they also reported being more active at work and outside of work through social connections. In a post-challenge survey, the majority of participants reported that their top motivations were to improve their physical fitness and increase the incentive to take active breaks during their work day. 96% of participants agreed that the challenge contributed to their overall wellbeing.
“It’s one of many fantastic motivators to be more active,” said one challenge participant in their survey response. “It inspired me to finally try going up Grouse Mountain…it was something to keep in mind when I stood waiting for an elevator…I really value this incentive to keep moving.”
Participants found creative ways to motivate themselves and others, including organizing active breaks, sending daily email encouragement and posting funny posters to liven up stairwells. For UBC Vancouver’s Brock Warriors, one of this year’s top performing teams (averaging 1,172 flights per person), they stayed motivated by participating as a group and accomplishing shorter bursts of activities. In particular, team members Ritu Dabla, Laurie Dawson and Janice McGill enjoyed the social aspect of the challenge and felt it enhanced their friendships:
“The most interesting part was how [we] felt engaged and connected to the larger UBC community…It led to better physical fitness, social connections and enhanced [our] mental health and wellbeing.”
UBC Okanagan’s Heather Bradshaw (Centre for Teaching & Learning) was the top performing individual this year, achieving a total of 2,966 flights. She challenged herself by setting her eyes on the highest virtual peak – Mt. Everest. Heather did not have teammates to stay accountable to, but that did not stop her:
“I was motivated by trying different methods of reaching daily and weekly goals. I climbed the stairs to the 9th floor of my condo building five times as a morning routine and took breaks during my work day by going up and down the building stairs.”
The Next Challenge
For the UBC HR Health Promotions team of Miranda Massie and Melissa Lafrance, they are already looking ahead to the future:
“We appreciate all the valuable comments, feedback and suggestions we’ve received,” said Lafrance. “They will help us make the annual Stair Challenge even better next year.”
Massie added, “Thanks to our generous corporate discount partners for donating prizes, but most of all, thank you to each and every participant. You embody the spirit of what the Stair Challenge is all about – inspiring and supporting your personal, physical and social health and wellbeing. Melissa and I hope to see you all back next year, and we hope you’ll encourage new colleagues to join the fun!”
For More Information
Visit the Pick Your Peak Stair Challenge page for photos submitted by 2018 participants. For upcoming health and wellbeing events and initiatives, visit our Events & Workshops page and stay tuned through Healthy UBC.
Photo Credit: UBC Communications & Marketing
Posted in Information Update, Physical Health, Thriving Campus | Tagged 2018, challenge, Peak performance, physical activity, Pick your Peak, Pick Your Peak Stair Challenge, stair challenge, stair climbing, UBC, winners | Leave a response
By Miranda Massie on August 7, 2018
Spending time outdoors is a great way to make the most of the sunny weather. It’s also a perfect opportunity to sneak in a little extra fitness. This month, give your fitness a boost and maximize your time outside.
Week 1: Get Strong Without a Gym
Discover nine sneaky ways to strength train outside of the gym (Greatist.com). No equipment required!
Week 2: Immerse in Nature
Have you heard of forest bathing? Soak in the benefits of this Japanese practice from simply being in nature and letting nature guide your walk. Learn the simple steps here. (Time Magazine)
Week 3: Give Your Legs a Low Impact Workout
Looking for something quick and easy? These seated leg exercises (Livestrong.com) can be done indoors or outdoors in less than five minutes.
Week 4: Take a Mindful Moment in a Beautiful location
Feeling good is about more than just our physical health; mental fitness is just as important. Make the most of a few quiet moments outside: pause, think and reflect. Need inspiration? Check out these hidden gems of UBC.
Photo Credit: UBC Communications & Marketing
By Miranda Massie on July 4, 2018
It’s often the best way to beat the heat in the summer, but pools can also be great places to fit in low impact exercise and activity. Swimming has been shown to have positive impacts on physical, psychological and social health. Take a look at this month’s tips for wading gently into water workouts.
Week 1: Find a Nearby Outdoor Pool or Water Park
Week 2: Take Your Workout to the Water
Water fitness is so much more than aquacise these days. UBC’s Aquatic Centre offers 10 different water fitness classes, including River Walking, Parent and Baby Aquafit and Aqua Yoga.
Alternatively, check out this instructional video which provides a how-to guide for water aerobics.
Week 3: Stay on Top of It (the water that is)
If being in the water is not your thing, there are plenty of ways to stay active on the water. Kayaking, canoeing, paddle boarding and sailing are all great ways to stay fit and learn new skills. Check out Tourism Vancouver’s full list of potential watersports.
Week 4: Go to the Beach for the View
Not interested in swimming laps? You can still reap cardio and strength benefits from going to the beach by taking the stairs and enjoying the beautiful view. Check out these two 30-minute walking maps of UBC’s renowned beach trails: Tower Beach Trail and Wreck Beach Trail.
Have fun exploring what the water has to offer your overall health this summer. Want more fitness tips and inspiration? Visit our Fitting in Fitness page.
Photo: UBC Communications & Marketing
By Miranda Massie on June 5, 2018
The sun is out, the air has warmed, and it’s the perfect time to incorporate a little play into our lives. Being a grown-up and a professional doesn’t mean that we can’t infuse our days with some fun. Here are a few ways to bring recess back into your life.
Week 1: Join Yoga on the Mall
Take a break from your work day and participate in Yoga on the Mall, a fun and free group yoga class. Can’t make the mall? Look for other classes near your workplace, home or neighbourhood that take place outside.
Week 2: Up Your Lawn Game IQ
Fitting in fitness doesn’t need to be overly strenuous. Lawn games are a great way to keep active while socializing with people of all ages. Check out this Family Education list of the top 10 backyard party games for all ages and consider adding one or two to your next BBQ or group event.
Week 3: Playgrounds Aren’t Just for Kids
Playgrounds are fun places to spend time no matter what age you are. They also offer an opportunity to spice up an otherwise boring workout. Discover how to use swings and jungle gyms to your advantage with this Full Body Playground Workout from Parents.com.
No playground around, or perhaps it’s full of kids? Try these 17 Picnic Bench Exercises from RedefiningStrength.com.
Week 4: Get Some Extra Credit
Did you know you’re already benefitting from many of the chores or activities you already participate in? Cleaning, gardening, walking the dog and even shopping are some of the ways you are already fitting in fitness, so keep up the great work!
Calories burned during leisure and routine activities (Harvard Health)
Photo Credit: UBC Communications and Marketing
By Miranda Massie on May 3, 2018
Staff and faculty at UBC’s Vancouver campus are invited to join the 4th annual Pick Your Peak Stair Challenge. This four-week challenge is a fun and inclusive way to encourage our community to keep fit by taking the stairs.
Stair climbing is a great way to boost cardiovascular health, build muscle and strengthen the core. The best part? It’s free!
The challenge will include weekly participant prizes, photo challenges, and an overall prize for both the top team and top individual.
Everyone, of all ability levels, is invited to participate. Visit the website for accessible participation options.
How it works
- Register as a team or as an individual (team rankings are scored based on an average of all team members’ achievements, so a larger team won’t have an advantage over an individual)
- Select the peak you’re aiming for – from Diamond Head (232 metres) to Mount Everest (8,848 metres)
- Log your flights of stairs climbed on the Daily Step Tracker for a chance to win participation prizes
- Submit your grand totals at the end of four weeks
Your steps to success
Last year’s participants stepped up to better health!
Over 60% of last year’s participants reported that the challenge had a positive impact on their overall wellbeing as well as their physical health, while 66% reported that their relationships with colleagues improved. 69% of participants took the stairs once a day or less before the challenge, with some reporting a 30% increase in their stair climbing/physical activity after the challenge.
By Miranda Massie on May 3, 2018
Week 1: Premium partner workouts
Try FitnessBlender’s Total Body Partner Workout, which comes with information on calories burned and a printable workout sheet.
Week 2: Tandem relaxation
Stretch, tone and relax with this set of partnered yoga stretches.
Week 3: Have a party in the park
Grab a partner and go play outside with this full-body playground workout from the Greatist.com.
Week 4: Working out with a baby bump?
Follow along with this 30-minute low-impact, pre-natal cardio workout video:
By Miranda Massie on April 3, 2018
Spring has sprung, and with it comes a renewed desire to spend more time outside. Take advantage of the fresh air and budding trees by using them as motivation to move more during your breaks on campus. These handy, printable walking maps offer a variety of 30-minute walks around campus. They even include information about distances, steps, terrain and level of difficulty. Bonus: They’re free!
Week 1: Main Mall Trail (Central)
Week 2: Thunderbird Trail (South)
Week 3: Tower Beach Trail (North)
Week 4: Wreck Beach Trail (East)
Bonus: Sword Fern Trail (West)
Photo Credit: UBC Communications and Marketing
By Miranda Massie on March 7, 2018
Posture is an important part of our overall fitness and comfort. Learn how to protect your body by incorporating posture exercises and stretching into your daily routine.
Week 1: Try a Midday Desk Workout
Check out the 10 Easy Stretches You Can Do at Your Desk in this Chatelaine.com video.
Week 2: Stretch It Out!
Print these handy ready-to-use stretch guides and post near your work station or around the office.
Week 3: Ergo your Lab or Office
Proper ergonomic design can minimize the risk of a wide range of injuries – from eye strain and carpal tunnel syndrome to persistent neck or back pain. Follow these easy step-by-step guides (office or lab) to set yourself up for comfort and success.
Week 4: Cultivate Your Core
Don’t forget your core. This six-minute workout from Fitnessblender.com requires no equipment and will help you build strength and achieve perfect posture.
Photo credit: UBC Communications & Marketing
By Miranda Massie on February 5, 2018
Back by popular demand, the UBC Travelling Health Fair offers heart health assessments for staff and faculty this year.
The bad news: The fair is fully booked with waitlist in effect.
The good news: There are two ways you can still sign up to receive a screening!
1. From February 26-March 9, the UBC Pharmacists Clinic will offer the same heart health assessment for those who didn’t have a chance to sign up for the fair. To book your free, personalized and confidential heart health screening, call the UBC Pharmacists Clinic at 604-827-2584 and request the Travelling Health Fair assessment.
2. If you prefer to try an online health screening, visit our Virtual Health Fair. With over 20 different screenings, tools and resources, you can assess your current health status from the comfort of your home or office. Learn how to make improvements towards a healthier self or print your results to share with your healthcare professional.