Wave - ONLINE EDITION

Got a minute?

That's all it takes to improve your health and well-being

  • Print
Winnipeg Health Region
Wave, September / October 2013

Are you physically active enough?

If you're like most Canadian adults, chances are the answer is no.

Regular physical activity is part of a healthy lifestyle. In fact, the World Health Organization reports that active men and women have lower rates of all sorts of health conditions, including heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, Type 2 diabetes, and colon and breast cancer. They are also less likely to suffer a hip fracture.

Yet, despite the overwhelming evidence that exercise can reduce your risk for developing these and other conditions, Statistics Canada estimates that only 15 per cent of adults are getting the 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity they need each week to maintain good health.

When asked, most people say they simply can't find the time to be active. But the fact is being active does not require massive time commitments. In fact, emerging research suggests short sessions of activity - 10 minutes or less - can provide significant health benefits. Even taking a series of one-minute exercise breaks during your workday - provided they occur frequently - can make a difference.

The fact is most people could ramp up their activity quotient simply by altering their workday routines. With that in mind, we have developed a six-point action plan to help get you started:

Work physical activity into your day

Schedule frequent computerized reminders throughout the day to encourage you to get out of your chair and take a short walk around the office. Take your meetings on the road. Mobile meetings (walking and talking) with colleagues are becoming increasingly popular.

Snack on physical activity and feast on the benefits

Going for coffee? Take a walk with a co-worker to your favourite coffee spot and walk back. This also gets you out of the office for some fresh air. Use your lunchtime wisely. Take a 10 minute walk each day before you sit down to eat, and you are well on your way to 150 minutes of physical activity per week.

Take the stairs

Quite often we have the choice between taking the elevator or the stairs. When you do, take the stairs. Too many floors to climb? Take the stairs for part of the journey and then the elevator for the remainder. Over time, you may find yourself taking the stairs for the entire trip.

Try active transportation

Why not try active transportation? Can you walk, cycle, take public transportation, or a combination to and from work? If this is not a practical approach for you, park farther from the office and walk to work. Parking farther away from your destination and walking is a healthy way to add physical activity into your day. Try to incorporate this strategy wherever you go. This will also allow people who require closer parking spots, because of mobility issues, to find parking without waiting.

Keep it going

Set daily physical activity goals. This strategy can keep you motivated to remain physically active throughout the day. Create some fun competition in your office. Get a group of coworkers together and try the Walk for Wellness Challenge! Remember to be more active today than you were yesterday!

Track your activity

Walking is a great way to become active. In fact, research suggests that taking 10,000 steps a day can significantly improve your health. You can track your activity by wearing a pedometer. Not only will it help you count steps, it will also let you know how far you have travelled down the road to better health.

David Kent is an MSc student in the Health, Leisure & Human Performance Research Institute in the Faculty of Kinesiology and Recreation Management at the University of Manitoba. D. Scott Kehler, a PhD student at the Health, Leisure & Human Performance Research Institute; Dr. Todd A. Duhamel, an assistant professor at the Institute of Cardiovascular Sciences at St. Boniface Hospital; and Sarah Prowse, a physical activity promotion co-ordinator with the Winnipeg Health Region, contributed to this column.

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

Family of Matias De Antonio speaks outside Law Courts

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • June 24, 2012 - 120624  -  Amusement riders on the last day of The Ex Sunday June 24, 2012.    John Woods / Winnipeg Free Press
  • May 22, 2012 - 120522  - Westminster United Church photographed Tuesday May 22, 2012 .  John Woods / Winnipeg Free Press

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

Now that the snow is mostly gone, what are your plans?

View Results

Ads by Google