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 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 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 Miranda Massie on January 11, 2018
Bring those fitness-based New Year’s resolutions back to life with these great tips and tricks for staying on track and building strong and lasting habits.
Week 1 and 2:
We often look to the end results when determining the progress and achievements of our fitness goals. By focusing on goal setting and measurement at the start, we can set ourselves up for long-term success.
Sometimes it can be difficult to stay motivated if we are not enjoying our activities. The best way to resuscitate your fitness plan is to make it fun! If you don’t enjoy running, don’t make this a resolution. Try UBC Recreation’s Free Week to discover what gets you excited and raring to work out.
Week 3: Go high tech
With the number of apps, YouTube videos and open-sourced fitness classes available, there are countless low and no-cost ways to stay active. Try one of Fitness Blender’s new workouts, like this “Pain in the Abs” core workout:
Or download a fresh new app like Aaptiv that offers personalized and narrated training programs that you can do indoor or outdoor, including walking, running, elliptical, biking, yoga and more. Please note that Aaptiv requires in-app purchases. For free workout options, try the Nike Training App or Sworkit.
Week 4: Stay motivated
The Greatist.com offers tips on the best ways to stick to your fitness resolutions. They are more fun and interesting than you think!
By Miranda Massie on September 13, 2017
Week 1: Don’t miss Free Week!
UBC Recreation (September 11-17) and BodyWorks Fitness Centre (September 11-16) invite you explore as many classes as you like at various Vancouver campus locations. It’s a great opportunity to try different types of activities before registering for a full program. If you’re in the Okanagan, check out the Campus Rec Open House (September 14).
As UBC staff and faculty, you have access to a wide range of corporate health, fitness and family discounts that will help you fit in fitness without breaking the bank. Check back as the list is updated and expanded regularly.
Week 3: Drop-in for a twoonie!
Looking for a cost effective workout plan? Staff and faculty can drop-in to the BodyWorks Fitness Centre Monday to Friday from 1-4pm for only $2!
Week 4: Stay in shape while on the move.
Looking for ways to incorporate more walking into your day? Park on the top level of the parkade, get off the bus 1-2 stops early, or cycle to meetings across campus. Another free alternative is to take the stairs to your classroom or office.
People who use active transportation to commute to work and school (by bus, bike, or foot) tend to be more active in their day, and have more positive lifestyle attributes [Source].
By Miranda Massie on August 3, 2017
Spending time outdoors during the summer months is a great way to enjoy the weather. It is also the perfect time to sneak in some physical activity. Check out this month’s tips for making the most of your time outside.
Week 1: Take a hike!
Walking on an incline means you have to work harder to move the same horizontal distance, but you also put less stress on your joints than the up-and-down motion of running. Bonus: the scenery is typically beautiful and often shaded.
Week 2: Make the most of a trip to the beach.
Discover six sneaky, calorie-burning activities to stay active while having fun at the beach.
Week 3: Stay seated.
If you are looking for something more gentle and low-impact, try these leg exercises that you can do while sitting in a chair – perfect for both sunny and rainy summer days.
Week 4: Get strong outside the gym.
Check out these nine great ways to strength-train outside of the gym. No weights? No problem.
Photo credit: UBC Communications and Marketing
By Miranda Massie on June 7, 2017
Where in the grown-up handbook does it say that we have to take ourselves seriously all of the time? Aside from the very obvious benefit of play (it’s fun!), there is a growing body of research linking play in adults to increased creativity, stress relief, positive relationships and increased co-operation.
Week 1: Go play outside
Grab a Frisbee, bocce set or soccer ball and venture outside. Take a 30-minute break to kick a ball around or enjoy a quick game with colleagues outside the office. These are great and inclusive low- or no-cost activities.
Week 2: Make it a family affair
Try exploring new ways to incorporate fitness into family time. You can play outdoor games, go on beachfront or neighbourhood explorations or play fitness games like the one shown in the video below. You can also take full advantage of walks and play time with pets. It can be exercise for you too!
Week 3: Explore the outdoors with lunchtime bootcamps
Enjoy UBC’s campus, beaches and trails while increasing your cardio, strength, core and flexibility. Start dates: June 21 and July 24.
Week 4: Find your friends
Want to explore the BC wilderness, but don’t know who to go with, where to go or what to do? Consider joining Wanderung, an email-based mailing list that helps connect you with others across the city to organize or join hikes and cycle trips.
By Melissa Lafrance on January 10, 2017
This month’s newsletter is all about helping you forge your path towards better physical health. UBC employees have access to a wide range of services, information, and perks to support your physical health.
Taking the time to improve our physical wellbeing is time well spent. Evidence shows that increasing physical activity by moving more and sitting less leads to many health benefits, including improved physical and mental health, a greater sense of social wellbeing, and reduced risk of many preventable diseases such as cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes and mental illness.
Here are ways you can ramp up your physical wellbeing in 2017:
1. Book your appointment at the Travelling Health Fair
The much-anticipated Travelling Health Fair is coming up Feb. 21 – March 1 and available for all staff and faculty!
This year, we are focusing on diabetes. Join us to learn how to manage your blood sugar to lower your risk of developing diabetes. These sessions are open to everyone (those with or without diabetes or pre-diabetes).
Registration is now open. For more information or to reserve your appointment time, click here.
2. Join the Walkabout Feb. 16 – March 19
Registration is now open for the 11th annual Walkabout starting Jan. 16!
Walkabout is an annual nine-week health and wellbeing challenge promoting regular exercise in social settings. Everyone at UBC is welcome to create teams of five and or register as an individual and achieve personal and team goals for only $10/person.
Here’s how the Walkabout works:
- Form a team of 5 members. Individuals can also register and will be teamed up.
- Set overall team and individual goals for the 9-week Walkabout
- Register online at http://walkabout.educ.ubc.ca/
- Registration fee: $10/person (optional pedometer: $15)
- Record daily steps (or exercise equivalent steps) on the Walkabout tracking spreadsheet using pedometers/apps/Fitbits etc.
- At the end of each week, the total number of steps walked by the team are submitted through the website and the distance walked is calculated (1300 steps = 1KM)
3. Visit the Fitness Facilities on Campus
UBC Bodyworks Fitness Centre is offering a free trial of all classes Jan. 9 – 21. You can also use their facilities for $2 drop-in rate starting Jan. 4, Monday to Friday 1pm – 4pm. Check out their brochure for more information and class schedules.
UBC Recreation’s Free Week is coming up Jan. 9 – 15! Try out any instructor-led classes including yoga, Pilates, dances, boot camps and aquatics classes. View the schedule and plan your visit (first-come, first-served)!
4. Take Advantage of Health, Fitness, and Family Discounts
As a UBC employee, you and your family are eligible for many discounts at organizations on and off campus. Visit the Health, Fitness & Family Discounts page for a full list of offers or check out the ones highlighted below.
- Discounts at Student Recreation Centre and BirdCoop Fitness Centre
- UBC BodyWorks Fitness Centre offers personal training for as low as $37/session and memberships from as low as $35/month plus a 10% discount on annual Basic Memberships for UBC staff and faculty. Fitness Centre drop-ins are only $2/person from Mondays to Fridays between 1-4pm.
- Free month pass Jan. 15 – Feb. 15, 2017 and other discounts at Steve Nash Fitness Clubs
- Free trial pass and $17.99 bi-weekly for a 12-month membership at Gold’s Gym University Market Place
- 25% off adult Park Board Flexipasses at participating Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation facilities
- Take your first Hot Box Yoga class for free with your UBC employee ID card and get a monthly pass for $66/month
- 15% off YYoga 5-Class Pass, 10-Class Pass and Annual Pass
- 15% discount on monthly continuous memberships at the Richmond Olympic Oval
5. Walk around and Discover Campus
6. Fitting In Fitness Info Series
Find all the inspiration you need to improve your overall health with Fitting In Fitness! With tips and guides for heart-pumping workouts, improving your flexibility, strengthening your muscles and more, you’ll be able to fit fitness into your schedule.
7. Explore our Virtual Health Fair & Online Assessments
On the Virtual Health Fair webpage, you will find 20 different screenings, tools and resources to help you assess your current health status and make lifestyle impro
By Miranda Massie on January 10, 2017
The New Year has arrived and it is typically a time for reflection, resolutions and action. This month, discover ways to stay active and stick to those resolutions by weaving activity throughout your day.
Week 1: Join The Walkabout Challenge
Stay motivated to reach your fitness and step goals by joining the UBC Walkabout Challenge. Walk your way to better social and physical health in just nine weeks!
Week 2: Pedometer 101
Before you head out the door, make sure that you understand your step-tracking device. Learn more about how pedometers work.
Week 3: Indoor Home Walking Workout
Feeling deterred by the weather? Watch this video to get in your steps without going outside.
Week 4: Tips To Stay On Track
Check out this list of easy to-dos to help you keep your fitness on track well beyond January 31!
For more even fitness tips and inspiration, visit our Fitting in Fitness page.