Healthy Living in the North

Finding your motivation

Dogs are great motivation

Having a dog friend can be great motivation to get moving!

Motivation is key when it comes time to make healthier life choices. My motivation is a 5-year-old pug-beagle cross named Puggles. If not for our walks around the neighborhood, my desire to get active would easily be trumped by homework or chores.  When I look at those big brown eyes I am compelled to take him for his much loved walks. The benefits are equal for both me and Puggles – increased stamina, that happy feeling after exercise and a longer, healthier life. It’s funny how being responsible for someone else’s health (and yes I do consider my dog a person) can motivate you to consider your own. I am aware that my dog lacks the brain function to exercise himself when required and to make his own healthy choices. I, however, am fully capable of making healthy choices for the both of us. This sense of responsibility is a constant motivation to get active and make healthy choices. Your motivation may differ from my own, maybe instead of a dog you have children, siblings or a spouse who serve as your motivation. Motivation is important in living a healthy lifestyle and as stated in Northern Health’s Position Paper on Healthy Communities: When people make healthy choices, we know they will live longer, healthier lives.

Being realistic when setting your goals is important; you wouldn’t run a two-minute mile the first time you put on your runners. Instead, keep track of the progress you have made – finding out you beat your previous record can be exhilarating. Finding a healthy recipe that also looks and tastes great will impress your family and friends, not to mention improve your overall health. Puggles and I began with our 30 minutes walks around the neighborhood, always stopping at a nearby park to sniff around (him, not me).  In recent weeks we have increased our walking time to 45 minutes and I have challenged myself to increase that time on a weekly basis. I can admit to missing the occasional day or two, but walking Puggles three times a week puts me pretty close to the World Health Organizations recommended 150 minutes of exercise a week. Also, having support when engaging in a healthy lifestyle can make a lot of difference and will encourage you to stick with your choices. Support systems can be friends, pets or members of your community – like walking groups or farmers’ markets. No one wants to be the one who ditches friends for a weekly exercise class or tell their significant other to take a late night stroll solo. I know my dog may not live to be 90, but making healthier choices for us both will ensure we can make the most of our time together. And who knows, with the right healthy choices I may be blowing out the candles on my own 90th birthday!

[Editor’s note:  This is a great example of what the key message “when people make healthy choices we know they will live longer, healthier lives” means to Jasmine and Meghan. Tell us what it means to you! Visit our Picture YOU Healthy contest page for more details on your chance to win!]

Men's Health Nursing Students

About Men's Health Nursing Students

Jasmine Ford is a fourth year nursing student currently doing a practicum with the men’s health program. Jasmine grew up on Vancouver Island and has been living in the north for five years while completing her Bachelor of Science in Nursing. Her passions include working in physical rehabilitation and long term care. Meghan McQuhae is a fourth year nursing student currently doing a practicum with the men’s health program. Meghan grew up in the Fraser Valley, and has been living in Prince George for five years while completing her Bachelor of Science in Nursing. Her passion is working in the acute care field of nursing.

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Remember: Every move counts!

Every move counts

Every move counts!

The majority of us feel guilty while sitting at home watching individuals on TV being active. But you don’t have to beat yourself up if you can’t keep up with David Beckham or Serena Williams. The truth is, every move counts! Whether it’s parking in the farthest parking spot or taking the stairs instead of the elevator, these little changes over time can make a difference. Eventually it won’t seem like a task anymore, but a part of your everyday life.

Increased physical activity can improve your health status, even if it’s just a small amount; getting active doesn’t have to be a marathon event. Having a scheduled exercise time every day doesn’t have to be the only way to be active. Basically, if you’re off your couch and moving around, you’re engaging in physical activity, even if it may not seem like it. Physical activity is anything that increases your heart rate and breathing. This can include:

  • Walking
  • Playing with your kids
  • Gardening
  • Dancing
  • Even doing household chores.

By increasing the duration and amount of time that you are engaging in these activities, you can improve your stamina, and eventually work your way up to more time or joining others in physical activity, like a local running group, for instance.

There are a lot of components to a healthy lifestyle; diet, exercise and your environment can all play a role in your health. It doesn’t have to be all or nothing – you don’t have to go to the gym every day of the week. The World Health Organization recommends that you get 150 minutes of physical activity per week, which is around 22 minutes a day. Every time you do something physical, count that towards your time because every move does count. You can add to that time by making strategic choices. At the end of the day you may only have 10 minutes left to exercise, and this can be completed easily by going for a walk, or sweeping/vacuuming your floors.

Next time you think about getting active, forget about the traditional treadmill and consider the daily activities you engage in that can contribute to improved health. Just remember, every move counts!

[Editor’s note:  This is a great example of what the key message “Every move counts” means to Jasmine and Meghan. Tell us what it means to you! Visit our Picture YOU Healthy contest page for more details on your chance to win!]

Men's Health Nursing Students

About Men's Health Nursing Students

Jasmine Ford is a fourth year nursing student currently doing a practicum with the men’s health program. Jasmine grew up on Vancouver Island and has been living in the north for five years while completing her Bachelor of Science in Nursing. Her passions include working in physical rehabilitation and long term care. Meghan McQuhae is a fourth year nursing student currently doing a practicum with the men’s health program. Meghan grew up in the Fraser Valley, and has been living in Prince George for five years while completing her Bachelor of Science in Nursing. Her passion is working in the acute care field of nursing.

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