President’s Perspective – New Year, New You

With the start of a new year, many start to think about making New Year’s resolutions to improve one’s life in various ways. Becoming healthier is often at the top of people’s lists. A great way to improve your health is to add activity into your day to day life. It’s not always easy to incorporate physical activity into a busy schedule, but there are simple things you can start today to help get you off on the right track. Whether it’s at work, at home or out running errands, work towards a healthier you.

Physical activity plays an important role in your health, well-being and quality of life. According to the Canadian Physical Activity Guidelines, adults should be active at least 2.5 hours a week to achieve health benefits.

Here’s how to add activity into your day:

At Work

Walk or bike to work. If you ride the bus or the subway, get off a few blocks early or at an earlier stop than usual and walk the rest of the way. If you drive to work, park at the far end of the parking lot.

Take the stairs instead of the elevator or escalator, when possible.

Take regular “stretch” breaks.

Look for opportunities to stand. You'll burn more calories standing than sitting. Stand while talking on the phone, or pace if you’re on a wireless device. Instead of responding to a colleague’s email online, respond in person by walking to their work area.

If you must sit to do your job, identify times in your day where you can move. For example, go for a walk during your break, and find a co-worker to join you. If someone accompanies you, it's often easier to stay motivated and continue being active.

Many consider trading a desk chair for a firmly inflated fitness or stability ball, as long as they are able to safely balance on the ball. It can improve balance and tone core muscles while sitting at a desk. The fitness ball can be used for wall squats or other workplace exercises during the day.

Some employers provide free or reduced-cost memberships to health clubs. Take advantage of them.

At Home

View everyday chores (cleaning, laundry, taking out the garbage) as a chance to be more active. Vacuum vigorously. Wash windows and walls. Scrub floors. Clean closets. Conquer dirt and clutter—and work up a sweat.

Stretch or lift weights while watching television.

Get up and move during commercial breaks instead of channel surfing.

If you live in an apartment building, try taking the stairs more often.

Stand or walk while talking on the phone. You burn more calories standing than sitting and even more when you add movement.

If your home has more than one level, use the bathroom on the floor above or below you to incorporate stair-climbing into your day. You can apply this rule anywhere you go.

While doing Errands

If you have errands to run near your home, take the opportunity to walk instead of driving. You'll burn calories instead of gas money.

Park a little further from the door than you normally would at the mall.

Skip the drive-through at banks, restaurants, coffee shops, etc.

Take the stairs instead of the elevator. You'll likely get places even faster when you don't have to wait for the elevator to arrive.

In addition to daily activity, there are other steps you can take to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Eating a well-balanced diet, getting enough sleep and not smoking can all go a long way in maintaining your overall health. Consult your doctor before starting a new fitness routine, especially if you haven't exercised for some time and you have health concerns.


Safety, It’s an Attitude!

Jack Smith, President