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 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 October 3, 2017
Just because it’s fall, doesn’t mean you have to put the bike in the garage. Bike to Work Week is back from October 23-29 and we have a month’s worth of tips for helping you keep up your cardio.
Week 1: Wet weather tips
Check out this handy video of the Top 10 Tips for Cycling in the Rain
Week 2: Ride inside
For the fair-weather riders out there, try taking an indoor spin class as an alternative to riding outside. Many community centres offer classes, or visit one of the many spin and cycle studios around town.
Week 3: Sign up for BTWW
Get more out of your commute while enjoying fresh air, improved health and a lower carbon footprint. Jump on a bike and invite a friend or colleague to join you for Bike to Work Week at UBC. Enter for a chance to win a cycling tour of Italy or a new bike!
Week 4: Track your progress
Staying motivated can be challenging, but these apps can help keep you focused on your goals as you track your distance, routes, calorie-burning success and more! You might just be your best competition.
Photo credit: UBC communications and Marketing
By Miranda Massie on October 25, 2016
As the weather growing colder and the days becoming shorter, it can be hard to find ways to stay motivated to be active. Check out some great workouts and stretches that you can do right at your desk!
Week 1: The Workout You Can Do At Your Desk
This Best Exercises You Can Do At Your Desk routine is a happy medium between sitting for long periods of time and hitting the gym when you can’t find the time.
Week 2: Get the Free Swork It App
Download the free Swork It app to customize body weight workouts between 5 and 30 minutes that come with video instructions. Bonus: you can do them anywhere!
Week 3: Try A Staircase Workout
Have a few minutes to spare and a set of stairs close by? Try this easy Staircase Workout with both beginner and advanced options.
Week 4: Cubicle Workout (video)
No time to leave the office? No problem! Follow this Cubicle Workout video to stay active through your day.
By Miranda Massie on July 6, 2016
Fitting in Fitness is a health series for staff and faculty that shares tips and suggestions on how to increase physical activity.
Summer is in full swing and it is time to get outside! Here are some tips and tricks to kick start your summer workouts with a splash.
There are 23 public outdoor pools in Metro Vancouver. Take some laps under sunny skies or get outside with the whole family.
Water Aerobics-A How-to Guide (Videos)
Take your workout underwater. This is a great low impact way to exercise outdoors or stay fit while rehabbing an injury.
Waterparks and waterslides provide ample opportunity for a workout that doesn’t feel like work. The combination of swimming, running and stair climbing provides a great cardio and strength based workout. Plus, it’s fun for everyone!
Try something new this summer! Check out this great stand-up paddle boarding guide to getting started.
By Miranda Massie on June 3, 2014
The following article has been provided by Dr. Joti Samra, a local clinical psychologist and this is adapted from an article Dr. Samra wrote in the Vancouver Sun on May 30, 2013.
Get eight hours of sleep.
Eat your fruits and vegetables.
Drink lots of water.
These key messages have been ingrained into most of our heads since childhood, through a combination of lectures from our parents, plastering of glossy food-group charts in our elementary schools, and public campaigns such Particip-action. The media and our family doctors alike drill these messages into our heads again and again – ‘this is what you need to do to live a happy, healthy, balanced, long life. Most of us know we should adopt these as basic rules in our lives’. However, for most of us even in the best of times, it’s hard to stick to all of these behaviours consistently, and for extended periods of time. In fact, data tell us that only about 5% of North American adults do so. In our technologically driven, not-enough-hours-in-the-day society, prioritization of time and effort is a must. So, if you have to choose, what do you move to the top of the list? The answer is a no-brainer: exercise.
A burgeoning body of literature underscores the beneficial impact that exercise has on our mood: releasing feel-good chemicals in the brain that operate as the body’s ‘natural antidepressants’; elevating body temperature (which can have calming effects on the mind and body); and reducing the release of harmful immune chemicals that can worsen depression.
In addition to these mood-enhancing benefits, exercise has a number of secondary impacts that also positively enhance mood: providing an outlet for socialization and interaction (we are social creatures and we not only survive but thrive when we have good, solid social supports around us); boosting our self-esteem and self-confidence; providing distraction from our day-to-day troubles and worries; and, enhancing our physical health. We know that our physical health is intimately tied to our emotional health, and that improvements in one area lead to improvements in the other.
For a detailed breakdown of all the above recommendations, and for many more interesting articles, visit www.drjotisamra.com or follow her on Twitter (@drjotisamra).
Dr. Joti Samra, R.Psych., is a clinical psychologist and organizational and media consultant. She is the host of OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network’s “Million Dollar Neighbourhood” and was the psychological consultant to CITY-TV’s “The Bachelor Canada”. She has also served as a psychological consultant and expert to a number of other TV shows and news outlets. Dr. Samra maintains a clinical practice in Vancouver. Her website is www.drjotisamra.com and she can be followed @drjotisamra
By Miranda Massie on May 6, 2014
This months Personal Training Perk comes from A&A Team Pro Personal Training.
Despite what you may have heard, the banning of Ephedra did not destroy the best fat burning supplement known. And it’s not even a supplement at all!
The answer to the question of the best fat burning supplement is a diet that increases your metabolism combined with cardio. Those two factors alone will burn more calories than any chemical combination. And you’ll be safer. Plus, the effects will be long-term. Before we go into that, you can incorporate things like caffeine, green tea, and other herbs to give you a boost. But nothing will be as permanent and long term and building a basic understanding of nutritional fundamentals.
Those two factors alone will burn more calories than any chemical combination. And you’ll be safer.
Armed with the basics of nutrition and what foods burn fat, your meals during the day and the muscle you will gain will do far more fat burning 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year than any pill you might find on the market today. And rest assured, food won’t be banned for a very long time.
It’s a shame that people spend countless dollars on supplement products when just eating 5-6 small meals in a day that will burn more calories than any pills. Eating food is something you should do anyway so it’s not likely to be cut from the budget if things get tight. And it’s not likely to cause any unwanted side effects if you have some reaction to some component in a metabolism product. Not only will a good diet burn fat, you’ll also be able to build muscle. What pill burns fat and builds muscle? None.
5 easy tips to incorporate cardio into your day
*Remember to warm up first!
Too busy? Go out for a walk on your lunch break (20min)
Extra time? Circuit Training – series of exercises with no rest between (30min)
Spare time? Group Class – grab a friend with you and have some fun (45-60min)
Need more? Interval Training – indoors on the treadmill or bike (30-45min)
Outside? Skipping a rope or jogging is fun, you can also try a nice bike ride
Andrea and Ondrej Leipert are a husband and wife personal training team focused on getting people into the best shape that they can be. Their programs are designed to help you believe in yourself and your ability to reach your goals. For more information email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 604-813-5812.
By Miranda Massie on January 7, 2014
Fitting in Fitness
Like many others, January is the time when I reflect on the habits –good and bad– that I have adopted over the past year. January is also when I set new goals for the year to come, particularly around nutrition and physical fitness. We tend to get a bit overzealous with our New Year’s resolutions and this can often leave us feeling inadequate and disappointed with our progress, or lack thereof.
According to the Canadian Psychical Activity Guidelines, adults between 18 and 64 should get 150 minutes of moderate (biking, brisk walking) to vigorous (jogging, skiing) physical activity per week. This equates to only 2.5 hours out of a total of 168 hours in a week. I must admit, I was taken aback by this number — it actually appears manageable!
2.5 hours is less than the length of one hockey game, about the same amount of time as a movie, or slightly longer than two undergraduate lectures. The best part of it all is that it breaks down to 20 minutes per day; a timeframe that I feel is realistic and manageable.
To give us a boost of confidence going into the New Year, I have included a list of ways to fit fitness into your day, relieving the pressure of having to set aside dedicated time to exercise.
Take a brisk 15-minute walk after two meals each day. It could be breakfast and dinner, or lunch and dinner, but adding a walk to the end of a meal makes it easy to remember and can help to dispel any lingering post-food grogginess.
Walk the stairs on your break. Most buildings on campus have a set of stairs that are most likely infrequently used. Plug in some headphones and walk up and down to get your blood flowing. A great alternative if the weather is lousy!
Capitalize on chores and housework. Perform regular tasks like mopping, scrubbing, raking or mowing at a vigorous pace to get your heart pumping. Offer to help out a neighbor for more of a workout.
Exit the bus early. For those who use transit to commute, exit the bus or train a few stops early. You can reach your 20-minute quota before you even get home. Or, come prepared to walk to meetings on the other side of campus instead of driving.
Hydrate with a little help. There is a great free App called Waterlogged that helps you track your daily water intake and will even remind you to hydrate throughout the day with an alarm that sounds like running water.
Ultimately, we are working towards reducing our risk of heart disease, diabetes, osteoporosis and obesity. Physical activity is one of the largest preventive factors against chronic physical illness, and these chronic conditions are also risk factors for poor mental health. Improved physical health can promote social connectedness and self-efficacy, as well as support a sense of belonging and empowerment. As a result, we can experience elevated mood, clearer thinking capabilities and improved self-esteem, all of which are crucial to our overall positive mental health.
Here’s to a healthy New Year!
All my best,
Craft, L., Freund, K., Culpepper, L., Perna, F. (2007). Intervention study of exercise for depressive symptoms in women. Journal of Women’s Health, 16, 1499-1509.
De La Cerda, P., Cervello, E., Cocca, A., Viciana, J. (2011). Effect of an aerobic training program as complementary therapy in patients with moderate depression. Perceptual and Motor Skills, 112, 761-769.
Eriksson, S. & Gard, G. (2011). Physical activity and depression. Physical Therapy Reviews, 16, 261-268.
Yonca Bicer, S., Asghari, A., Kharazi, P., Shaygan Asl, N. (2012). The effect of exercise on depression and anxiety of students. Annals of Biological Research, 3, 270-274.