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By Cindy Yu
4th year Social Work student & Work Learn staff with the Office of Wellbeing Strategy

As university students, our schedules can quickly become busy and overwhelming with not much time for exercise and extra-curriculars. But adding movement to your day doesn’t have to involve setting blocks of time aside for rigorous physical activities. In fact, a typical day of going to class and spending time on campus already offers plenty of ways to sneak in more movement. Now that the Move UBC campaign has begun this February, we would like to share a few simple tweaks to your everyday life that can help you get moving more. 

1. Placing your alarm clock at the opposite end of your room 

While those few steps in the early morning may not be far, placing your alarm clock across the room is something that you can easily do starting today! In addition to waking up on time since you can’t keep pressing the snooze button anymore, you also get to start your day fully energized and ready to go.  

2. Getting off the bus or SkyTrain one stop earlier

Many students have to commute to campus, so with that in mind, one strategy of moving more is to get off the bus or SkyTrain a stop earlier than your destination (weather and time permitting, of course). While this may slightly increase your commute time, think of it as built-in additional exercise time without actually going to the gym or the park. Since it can be hard to get moving once you have settled into the comfort of your own room (we’ve all been there), why not take advantage of the last bit of your commute and transform that into some additional movement? 

Photo credit: UBC Brand and Marketing

3. Stretch break over phone break when studying 

Nowadays, studying often involves prolonged periods spent being inactive, often in front of a screen. By choosing a stretch break over a phone break, you can consistently reduce the amount of sedentary activity in your day. Curious about how to add movements to your study routines? Visit @ubcrec on Youtube for a 5-minute guided stretch break that gets your body moving and your mind refreshed. 

4. Casual walks or rolls on campus 

Spending hours of your day on campus means that there are many opportunities to explore the different trails and gardens in between classes. Did you know that UBC students get free admission to the Nitobe Memorial Garden and the Botanical Garden on campus in Vancouver? If you are on the Okanagan campus, be sure to look into the Campus Trails System which consists of three different walking/rolling paths that immerse you in the green space. These locations on campus make for great spots to enjoy solo walks or rolls, or to connect and meet up with a friend or colleague and move together. 

Photo credit: UBC Brand and Marketing

5. Cooking a homemade meal 

While those microwave dinners or Uber orders may be tempting at times, cooking a homemade meal not only saves you money but also keeps yourself busy in the kitchen. Using fresh ingredients and sharing a homemade meal with friends or family also has numerous health and social benefits. Whether you are busy rinsing dishes in the sink or stirring the pot, cooking a homemade dinner often guarantees at least half an hour of staying on your feet and keeping your body constantly moving. If you are a UBCV student looking for convenient and affordable grocery essentials, be sure to check out the Food Hub Market in the Centre for Interactive Research on Sustainability (CIRS building) where you can find fresh ingredients and inspirations for your next home-made meal! If you’re on the Okanagan campus, stop by the newly launched Picnic wellness space that is located on the first floor of the UNC to learn about free food skills workshops.

As you can see, fitting more movement into your day is not as challenging as it may seem. With some small and incremental changes to your everyday life, these five ways of movement can soon become healthy habits for you to reduce sedentary time and become more physically active! And for more ways to get moving this February, check out the Move UBC Calendar for free events and programs happening all month long.

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We all have a hand in shaping campus environments that support health, wellbeing, and sustainability. By championing wellbeing, we can build stronger and more inclusive communities at UBC and beyond.