By Melissa Lafrance on June 4, 2019
Looking to boost your endorphins, add more movement to your day or connect with your colleagues in a fun and active way? Participate in the 2019 Pick Your Peak Stair Challenge from June 17 – July 12.
Open to all UBC staff and faculty in the Okanagan and Vancouver, the Stair Challenge spans four weeks and is a free, easy, accessible way to get active or keep fit – no matter your motivation or ability. You can participate as an individual or make it social and register as a team. There will be weekly random prize draws, photo challenges, social meet-ups, and an overall prize for both the top team and top individual.
Register by June 12 at 4:00 p.m. For more information or accessible participation options, visit our Stair Challenge page.
How it works:
- Register as a team or as an individual and receive your registration package.
- Pick your peak based on your personal fitness goals. Choose from Diamond Head (232 metres) to Mount Everest (8,848 metres).
- Log your inclines, including the flights of stairs you climb indoor or outdoor and the elevation you gain during hikes, step classes and stair climbers. A Daily Step Tracker and Team Tracking Sheet are provided.
- Participate in the various activities for a chance to win prizes.
- Submit your grand totals at the end of the four weeks to see if you’ve captured the top individual or team prize!
If you’re unable to climb stairs, you can still participate and track points by converting your walking steps or wheelchair travel distance instead. Visit the website for full details.
Get Inspired by our 2018 Participants!
We had a terrific group of participants last year who decided to boost their wellbeing when they stepped up to the Stair Challenge. Here’s a summary of the benefits they gained:
- Top two reasons for participating: increased social connections and physical fitness
- Over 80% reported that the challenge contributed to their overall wellbeing as well as their physical fitness
- 83% of participants felt confident in their ability to embed active breaks into their day with some reporting a 42% increase in their stair climbing/physical activity after the challenge
Visit the Pick Your Peak Stair Challenge page for a photo gallery of last year’s participants and to learn more about this fun annual event for UBC faculty and staff.
Photo Credit: Martin Dee, UBC Brand & Marketing
By Melissa Lafrance on June 4, 2019
Do you ever feel like there aren’t enough hours in a day to fit in fitness? You aren’t alone. Finding a workout that suits your busy schedule can be challenging, but it’s a crucial step toward achieving your fitness goals. Here’s how one UBC employee managed it.
Andrew’s Challenge: Finding Time and Motivation to be Active
Andrew is a busy working professional and a parent with a long commute. He plays on a community soccer team twice a month, but struggles to find motivation and time to fit more movement into his days. He would like some support in establishing a fitness routine, but can’t afford a personal trainer. He prefers working out in the comfort of his home without having to spend a lot of money on equipment.
How EFAP can help with Andrew’s fitness journey:
Morneau Shepell, UBC’s Employee & Family Assistance Program (EFAP) provider offers LIFT virtual fitness sessions. These are available on on any mobile device, so Andrew can access support anytime, anywhere. After inputting basic information about his fitness levels and goals, Andrew will receive personalized workout routines for free. He can also chat online with fitness coaches who can answer his fitness, nutrition and recovery questions. For example, Andrew can ask for suggestions on how to be active with his family.
LIFT Sessions are equipment-free and last about 30 minutes. A typical program includes recommended workouts consisting of three sessions per week for six weeks, which can be done at Andrew’s leisure. Participants can work out on their own or under the supervision of an online coach in personal or group sessions. Through the support of live coaches and personalized fitness programs like LIFT Session, employees like Andrew can stay engaged, excited and on track to meet their health and wellbeing goals.
How to access LIFT virtual fitness sessions:
Getting started is easy:
- Visit workhealthlife.com and login using ‘UBC’ as your organization.
- Click on the My Services tab on the navigation bar at the top of the page.
- Scroll down to find the LIFT Session Virtual Fitness section.
- Using the LIFT Session Fitness link provided, sign up, download the app and complete an online fitness assessment to get started.
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 Melissa Lafrance on February 5, 2019
Sit-Stand Desks & Platforms | February 13 | 1:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.
This workshop will provide important information about different types of sit-stand desks and platforms available for the workplace. Understanding the pros and cons of each will assist departments, staff and faculty in deciding which option may be most suitable. Product samples will be available for participants to try in order to understand how the different models impact physical positioning and workflow. Find out more and register now.
Ergo Your Office Tutorial | February 13 | 2:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.
Optimize your computer work environment to improve comfort and reduce the risk of injury. This one-hour tutorial combines a presentation with a practical session, giving you hands-on experience adjusting typical office equipment. By the end of the tutorial, you will know how to set up your chair, keyboard/mouse, and monitor to promote neutral working postures. Find out more and register now.
Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST) | February 20 and 21 | 9:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
UBC Okanagan is hosting a free, two-day workshop on suicide first aid. ASIST teaches participants to recognize when someone may have thoughts of suicide and work with them to create a plan that will support their immediate safety. Although ASIST is widely used by healthcare providers, participants don’t need any formal training to attend the workshop. Note: You must attend both days in full to get the certificate of completion. To register, please email Sam Larsen at firstname.lastname@example.org by February 15.
Beginner Boot Camp | February 21 | 11:00 a.m. – 11:55 a.m.
This bootcamp is designed to guide you through a variety of core, stability, and functional strength training for a safe and effective workout. Suitable for both beginner and experienced bootcampers. Find out more and register now.
The Working Mind – Mental Health Training for Employees | February 25 | 9:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
The Working Mind is a Mental Health Commission of Canada, evidence-based, solution-focused workplace training program aimed at increasing mental health literacy for employees. Designed to address and promote mental health in a workplace setting, participants will enhance their awareness to reduce stigma and negative attitudes around mental health challenges. Employees will acquire a better understanding of mental health and wellbeing, be able to promote mental health in the workplace, and enhance personal mental health and resilience. Find out more and register now.
50/50 Yoga Pilates Class | February 26 | 1:00 p.m. – 1:55 p.m.
This class presents a cutting-edge Pilates workout designed to sculpt the body and strengthen the core. A 50/50 Yoga Pilates class is a unique combination of 50% standing Pilates work, which integrates Pilates principles into lower-body work, and 50% yoga mat work to strengthen the core with complementary exercises. Find out more and register now.
Office Ergo Rep Training | February 26 | 1:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.
If your department is looking for more efficient response and support with regards to ergonomic issues for staff, consider taking the three-hour Ergo Rep Training. Learn about basic ergonomic risk factors and assessments, proper computer workstation set-up, and resources to take back to your unit. Find out more and register now.
30-Day Online Mindfulness Challenge | Begins Every Monday
This free, innovative, evidence-based training is for all UBC staff and faculty looking to incorporate mindfulness into the workplace and in their everyday lives. Content is delivered online via any device, and focuses on simple yet powerful and achievable learning objectives. After just 10 minutes a day for 30 consecutive days, participants will be healthier, more productive and better able to problem-solve and work in a team. Learn more and register for the challenge now.
Community Health News
2019 UBC President’s Staff Awards for Wellbeing
Open to all staff on the Vancouver campus with three or more years of service, the President’s Staff Award for Wellbeing recognizes outstanding contributions to the university community, especially the important role staff play in promoting workplace health. Consider nominating a colleague or team. Deadline for nominations is March 15.
Photo Credit: UBC Thrive
Posted in Community Health News, Events, Healthy UBC Initiatives | Tagged activities, education, Ergonomics, events, fitness, free, Mindfulness, personal development, professional development, training, UBC | 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 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 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.