Healthy Living in the North

Recess isn’t just for kids (and September Healthy Living Challenge #2!)

Jessica and Anne using Dyna bands to stretch in their office.

Jessica and Anne using Dyna bands, part of the kit, to stretch in their office.

At one time or another, you may have walked past the office that I share with my colleague, Anne Scott, and noticed strange things occurring: push ups, yoga stretches, even chin ups in the doorframe. Yes, that’s happened. We’ve received a few strange looks, but definitely more cheers and, happily, several joiners.

My job involves a lot of desk time and sometimes I can get so wrapped up in editing or writing or some other consuming task that before I know it, three hours have gone by and I’ve barely moved. My body deeply resents these moments.

To help correct this negative behaviour, Anne and I have started incorporating activity breaks into our day-to-day routines – times when we both stop whatever task is at hand, stand up, take a few deep breaths and get our blood flowing and our muscles responding again. Besides being good for our bodies (you can read all about it in Northern Health’s guidelines on sedentary behaviour and physical activity), we find it really helps keep us alert and focused on our work throughout the whole day.

Woman using Dyna bands.

We’ve gotten visitors wanting to join us for stretch breaks too! Here, Barbara Hennessy, Regional Coordinator, Cardiac and Cerebrovascular Services, shows off with the Dyna bands.

Realizing that office workers sit for much of their day, another co-worker recently introduced me to a kit she’s developing (to be called a “Fit Kit”) to help people build extra activity into their day. Anne and I gave this kit a trial run for a couple of weeks and can happily report that it made our activity breaks a whole lot more fun and gave us quite the variety of stretches to work into our routines. People should be practicing resistance training (or weight training) three times per week, so having the option of using the kit for this while at work definitely saves a lot of time!

Now here’s where your Week 2 Challenge comes in! We want to know how you add activity into your work day: how do you find ways to get out of your chair and move? Send us your tips (and your photo proof) for your chance to win your very own Fit Kit!

Stay tuned for tomorrow’s post when we show you a video demonstrating how to use some of the Fit Kit items – you never know, it could just change your whole work day!

Tips for taking activity breaks in your office:

  • Do you ever get so wrapped up in what you’re working on that you forget to stretch? Try setting a timer (maybe an app on your smartphone or even an egg timer) or scheduling it into your calendar.
  • Partnering up with a colleague to help remind you (and vice versa) when it’s time to stretch can really help to motivate!
  • Creating a daily activity routine will help make your new activity goals stick better. Pick a time (or times) when it works for you and be sure to get active every day.
  • Getting weird looks while you do those push ups under your desk? Why not give them weird looks back for not doing push ups next to you! It’s time to break the stigma against sudden attacks of lunges and squats next to your desk!
  • Visit the Physical Activity Line website for more information on workplace activity.
Jessica Quinn

About Jessica Quinn

Jessica Quinn is the regional manager of digital communications and public engagement for Northern Health, where she is actively involved in promoting the great work of NH staff to encourage healthy, well and active lifestyles. She manages NH's content channels, including social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc). When she's not working, Jessica stays active by exploring the beautiful outdoors around Prince George via kayak, hiking boots, or snowshoes, and she has recently completed her master's degree in professional communications from Royal Roads University, with a focus on the use of social media in health care. (NH Blog Admin)



  1. I run the stairs between floors when going to meetings or to see colleagues, rather than taking the elevator. One or two flights of stairs, several times per day, adds up and gets the heartrate up throughout the day.

  2. Flo Sheppard says

    Instead of emailing or calling someone in my area of the building, I prefer to walk to their office, as time permits, in an effort to get out of my chair. I’ve recently reorganized my office to provide floor space to do a Sun Saluatation or two when I am on teleconference meetings. My headset gives me the flexibility to move around while on the phone and I appreciate it and take advantage of the opportunity!

  3. I have established the wellness routine of going for a short / brisk walk in place of a coffee break.
    What a positive difference this can make in a generally sedentary work day. I also find keeping a stainless steel container of cold H2O close by my work station encourages hydration.

    • Great habits to get into Lee!! Please be sure you visit our contest page and enter the contest to win a Fit Kit! All you have to do is submit what you just said above and include a photo!

  4. David Bowering says

    Great blog and great concept Jessica. At last people are starting to think (and move) INSIDE the box!!

  5. Krista Eliuk says

    I take the stairs when going up to offices or PCU, and sometimes walk the “loop” around the hospial. When I am feeling particulrily energentic I will do lunges (ugh) through the walkway that connects the hospital to the Acropolis Manor.

  6. That’s great Krista! If you want to be entered in the contest, please visit the contest page and enter your info! Thanks!


  1. […] we introduced your Week 2 Challenge in the September Healthy Living Challenge. Tell us how you fit activity into your work day, enter […]

  2. […] note: Don't forget to join the September Healthy Living Challenge and enter the Week 2 Challenge for your chance to win a Fit […]