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)