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 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 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 Melissa Lafrance on February 5, 2019
Has your physical wellbeing taken a back seat? Whether you have some personal fitness goals or an ailment you should pay attention to, remember that UBC has lots of resources to offer – from extended health benefits to ergonomics. Read on to learn more about the services available to support your physical wellbeing.
Jason’s Challenge: When the path to good physical health becomes a pain
Jason recently decided to start a new training regime to enhance his ability to run a marathon in four months. Since increasing his running schedule to three times a week, Jason has found that the pain in his right calf has returned (the injury was initially brought on by a fall.) The pain is causing him to adjust his daily physical activities. Jason realizes he needs expert advice and treatment to help reduce the pain and prevent further injury.
How to access paramedical coverage through Extended Health benefits:
The UBC Extended Health benefits plan supports employees like Jason in their continuing health and wellbeing. Jason’s benefits include coverage for a wide range of services from paramedical practitioners such as physiotherapists, registered massage therapists, chiropractors, acupuncturists, podiatrists and more. Learn about your coverage for paramedical services.
How EFAP can be a coach for improving physical health:
Morneau Shepell, UBC’s Employee & Family Assistance Program (EFAP) provider, can also support Jason’s training. When he calls the Care Access Centre at 1-800-387-4765, Jason can book a health coaching consultation, which can motivate him to make changes to be well and stay well.
Morneau Shepell offers an online hub of resources with articles to improve and maintain physical health (e.g. putting the fun back into fitness, fitness at work, and climbing back on the fitness wagon.) (Note: Please enter “University of British Columbia” as your organization to access these articles.)
How mindfulness can provide focus:
Training the mind is also an important part of any fitness goal. If Jason is looking to strengthen his mental resolve, he can sign up for the 30-Day Online Mindfulness Challenge. Using evidence-based curricula, this mindfulness training, which begins every Monday, can be a simple yet powerful tool in honing mental wellbeing.
Jocelyn’s Dilemma: How to get back to active
Jocelyn has been experiencing increasing back tension and discomfort. It might be caused by a variety of factors, including feelings of anxiety which seems to add to her physical tension and using a new desk and chair in a new office environment. The discomfort has caused her to skip out on her favourite yoga classes, which she knows are beneficial for general physical health. Jocelyn wants to address this appropriately and return to her usual, active self.
How EFAP can help:
To address her feelings of anxiety (but to avoid aggravating her back), Jocelyn could use EFAP’s confidential video counselling service from the comfort of her own apartment. A professional counsellor can provide appropriate strategies and tools to help manage anxiety. If the situation requires specialized care or long-term counselling, Morneau Shepell will find resources that best meet individual needs and budget.
How to access paramedical coverage through Extended Health benefits:
Similar to Jason, Jocelyn can access UBC Extended Health benefits that cover paramedical services like physiotherapy, massage therapy, chiropractic treatments, acupuncture and more. Find out about your coverage for paramedical practitioners.
How ergonomics can help:
UBC Ergonomics can help ensure that the design and arrangement of Jocelyn’s workstation allows for optimal use and prevents the risk of musculoskeletal injuries. She can access an online Ergo Your Office Guide, a tool for setting up a workstation ergonomically, or sign up for an upcoming Ergo workshop or training.
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