Healthy Living in the North

Make time to move: For stress control, every move helps

[Editor’s Note: This article first appeared in the April 2012 issue of A Healthier You]

Make time to move!

Make time to move!

Did you know that if you include physical activity in your personal schedule every day, you can bank your capacity to respond to stress under pressure? It’s a familiar scenario: someone in your work life or personal life needs something from you, and they need it… yesterday! What’s the best response? Plan ahead to include exercise in your life, and your system will be able to deal more easily with pressure like this.

If we leave health and wellness on a back burner until after we’ve dealt with everything else, we won’t get to it and we’ll pay the price for not making time to move. As the saying goes, “If you think you don’t have time for activity, you’d better make time for illness!”

To reduce your physical response to stress, work on building and maintaining your good health and don’t forget to move throughout your day. Every move counts, and more movement is better than less. More movement leads to better balance through improved health and well-being. We can develop balance not only as individuals, but as families, schools, workplaces and communities.

Movement throughout your day should be as important as brushing your teeth. Choosing to move all day, builds health every day. Health improvement comes from all types of physical activity, and is not limited to gyms, sports and structured fitness. While these are all important opportunities to become more active, real health improvements will come from reducing sedentary activities and increasing physical activity. Try to reduce your overall sedentary activities, such as television viewing, computer/screen time and driving. Walk to work, climb the stairs, or ride a bike. If you have a work meeting, take your meeting for a walk.

Ours is a society of quick messaging, quick responses and quick fixes. But you deserve more and need more. The best evidence is found in the Canadian Physical Activity Guidelines:

The Canadian Physical Activity Guidelines

The Canadian Physical Activity Guidelines (click for a larger image)

 

Dr. Ronald Chapman

About Dr. Ronald Chapman

Ronald Chapman is a physician with a fellowship in community medicine, and extensive experience in the leadership and management of health services with a focus on community health. Dr. Chapman joined the Northern Health team in 2007 as regional director of the Northern Cancer Control Strategy. Dr. Chapman assumed the role of the chief medical health officer of Northern Health in June 2011, and in February 2013, he transitioned to Vice President, Medicine in Northern Health.

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Announcing the Picture YOU Healthy Challenge

Chapman vs Bowering

Dr. Chapman (on the right) as he faced off with Dr. Bowering (left) in the March MANness competition 2012.

March is here and with it brings new opportunities to become active in your community. Last year, Dr. Bowering and I took part in a healthy competition during the March MANness 2012 campaign, competing in ping pong, Wii Golf, and a final race around the track at the Northern Sports Centre. While the ending was controversial, the message was not: getting active is fun and easy!

We have been on a journey to raise awareness about our position papers on modifiable risk factors on topics including healthy eating, active living, and healthy communities. During September we issued the September Healthy Living Challenge to find out how northerners apply these principles to their everyday lives by submitting pictures, sharing stories, and getting active in their communities. It was a great success with people from across our region participating and getting involved.

This month, we are looking for northerners to get involved again for the Picture YOU Healthy campaign. We want you to tell us what certain key messages mean to you – in a picture! Visit the Picture YOU Healthy contest page for rules and new key messages released each week. This is a fun way to show us how YOU live an active and healthy life in our beautiful region.

We look forward to hearing from you!

[Editor’s note: The first week’s key messages have been revealed on the Picture YOU Healthy contest page. For the rest of the week, we’ll be sharing staff member’s blog posts and pictures about their ideas!]

Dr. Ronald Chapman

About Dr. Ronald Chapman

Ronald Chapman is a physician with a fellowship in community medicine, and extensive experience in the leadership and management of health services with a focus on community health. Dr. Chapman joined the Northern Health team in 2007 as regional director of the Northern Cancer Control Strategy. Dr. Chapman assumed the role of the chief medical health officer of Northern Health in June 2011, and in February 2013, he transitioned to Vice President, Medicine in Northern Health.

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Announcing the September Healthy Living Challenge

Chapman vs Bowering

Dr. Chapman (on the right) as he faced off with Dr. Bowering (left) in the March MANness competition.

Northern health matters to us, and it should matter to you too. This is why, over the month of September, we want to challenge YOU to live a healthier life.

Over the past year, members of the Northern Health team have started work on developing a series of guidelines (called position papers) on key issues that affect people’s health, including physical activity, healthy eating, injury prevention, tobacco, and obesity. It’s our goal to help share our knowledge of these health issues and work toward improving the overall health of northerners.

To help bring the ideas and evidence from our position guidelines to life, we would like to issue the September Healthy Living Challenge to our staff and communities. Over the next month, we will be posting a series of stories, reflections, and challenges on the Northern Health Matters blog to encourage everyone to consider how we can make healthier choices during the day, every day. I encourage everyone to follow along with the challenges and contests, and to submit their stories and pictures about how they live a healthy and active life.

Who doesn’t like a good challenge? You may remember that I know what it means to be challenged. This past spring, Dr. Bowering and I went head-to-head in a series of physical activities in the March MANness Competition. Healthy living doesn’t need to be difficult. For example, find ways to make every move count and do activities that work for your lifestyle. Go for a walk, take your kids to the park, dust off your bicycle, or use some of the great facilities that our northern communities have to offer, such as community pools. I encourage everyone to go to visit the Northern Health Matters blog regularly to participate in our September Healthy Living Challenge.

Find out how you can become a part of this exciting opportunity to live a healthier lifestyle in the north – visit our September Healthy Living Challenge page now! And be sure to come back tomorrow, when the first challenge and contest will be announced!

Dr. Ronald Chapman

About Dr. Ronald Chapman

Ronald Chapman is a physician with a fellowship in community medicine, and extensive experience in the leadership and management of health services with a focus on community health. Dr. Chapman joined the Northern Health team in 2007 as regional director of the Northern Cancer Control Strategy. Dr. Chapman assumed the role of the chief medical health officer of Northern Health in June 2011, and in February 2013, he transitioned to Vice President, Medicine in Northern Health.

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Why northern health matters to us

Quesnel Farmer's Market

Farmer’s Markets and local eating are important pieces of community health.

I would like to welcome everyone to Northern Health Matters, an interactive blog aimed at sharing grassroots stories about people, programs and activities going on in the Northern Health region. In Northern BC, we are blessed with a wealth of natural beauty and geography as diverse as the people who live here. Within our region, there are many stories of people working towards positive health outcomes to improve their health and the health of their community; we hope to find as many as we can to share them with you here.

For the past six months, Northern Health has begun developing strategic position papers on key issues affecting people’s health, which we believe can be actively addressed to help improve overall health. These issues include: healthy eating, tobacco cessation, injury prevention, and healthy community development. Northern Health is hoping to begin the conversation about how we can work together with community partners to make health more accessible for everyone who calls the north home. This means aligning with programs and services to promote health during all stages of life.

My hope is that this blog will provide people in the Northern BC area a window into the exciting activities being undertaken by Northern Health staff and our community partners across the region to improve our overall health. We all have a role to play in ensuring that our communities are vibrant and healthy places to live for our families. Join us in this work – share your story, tell us about your successes, and let us know how you showcase the idea that northern health matters.

Dr. Ronald Chapman

About Dr. Ronald Chapman

Ronald Chapman is a physician with a fellowship in community medicine, and extensive experience in the leadership and management of health services with a focus on community health. Dr. Chapman joined the Northern Health team in 2007 as regional director of the Northern Cancer Control Strategy. Dr. Chapman assumed the role of the chief medical health officer of Northern Health in June 2011, and in February 2013, he transitioned to Vice President, Medicine in Northern Health.

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