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 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 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 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 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
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