Why Be Active?

Research is developing to help us understand the importance of physical activity and how regular movement contributes to our overall wellbeing. 

Regular physical activity boosts your physical health, your mental and emotional health, and your social health. Interesting in knowing the benefits? Read the table.
Physical Health Benefits
Mental and Emotional Health Benefits
Social Health Benefits
  • Stronger muscles and bones
  • Improve your heart health
  • Reduces risk of chronic diseases
  • Improves chronic disease symptoms
  • Help to maintain a healthy body weight
  • Improves your mood
  • Helps you cope with stress and anxiety
  • Feels better about yourself
  • Sleep better
  • Great way to have fun
  • Great way to spend time with family
  • Good way to see friends more often
  • Excellent way to meet new people
  • Positive way to be involved in your community

Source: Alberta Centre for Active Living

Learn more about mental health at UBC Thrive
Mental Health Resources
Health benefits timeline
Benefits ranges from short and medium term to long term.
Short-term (a single session of physical activity)
Medium -term (4-8 weeks of regular physical activity)
Long-term (months to years of regular physical activity)
  • mood & energy
  • self-esteem
  • sleep
  • concentration
  • good cholesterol
  • calories used
  • muscle strength
  • bone & joint strength
  • balance & posture
  • heart health
  • insulin sensitivity
  • quality of life & overall well-being
  • your independence
  • how long you live
  • stress
  • depression
  • high blood sugar
  • bad cholesterol
  • blood pressure
  • body weight & body fat
  • joint pain & swelling
  • falls bad cholesterol
  • heart disease
  • osteoporosis (bone disease)
  • dementia (such as Alzheimer’s)
  • certain cancers (such as colon & breast cancer)

Source: Alberta Centre for Active Learning

Say NO to sedentary lifestyle!

Why sitting is bad for your health?
  • Increased sitting time is associated with higher risk of cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, anxiety, and some type of cancers.
  • For office workers, 65-75% of working hours are spent sitting.
  • Risk of high sitting time is independent of physical activity level. In other words, sitting is bad for you, even if you are an otherwise active person.
Being physically active, even at WORK!

So, what you can do to sit less, and move more at work?
  • During your workday, try to stand and or participate in light activities for at least 2 hours per day. As you get used to this, work your way up to 4 hours per day of standing and light activity.
  • Have group meetings while on a walk. (check UBC Walking program)
  • Try to regularly break up your sitting time with standing activities. The same goes for standing – make sure to break up your standing time with short breaks to get you moving. The 2019 ParticipACTION Report Card on Physical Activity for Adults report,  encourage individuals to stand and take a break from sitting (e.g., at their computer, standing during meetings) every 30 minutes.
  • While working to increase your standing time, expect to experience some fatigue as part of the process. Remember, you are doing a new activity and your body will need to adapt. If you experience fatigue, try moving around to taking a sitting break.
  • Employers should promote increased standing time (at work and in free time) to employees, along with promoting improved physical activity and nutrition, reduced stress, alcohol, and tobacco). Also, workplaces should have strategies and/or programs to increase employee physical activity and reduce sedentary behavior through support of active transportation, and active workplace challenges (2019 ParticipACTION Report Card).
Does being physically active helps fight anxiety and depression?

Did you know that?

When stress affects the brain, with its many nerve connections, the rest of the body feels the impact as well. Or, if your body feels better, so does your mind. Exercise and other physical activity produce endorphins — chemicals in the brain that act as natural painkillers — and also improve the ability to sleep, which in turn reduces stress.

How exercise is related to anxiety disorders?
•Psychologists studying how exercise relieves anxiety and depression suggest that a 10-minute walk may be just as good as a 45-minute workout.
•In one study, researchers found that those who got regular vigorous exercise were 25 percent less likely to develop depression or an anxiety disorder over the next five years.
Read more about exercise, anxiety, and depression
Finally, get started!

If you’re just getting started, you might face certain obstacles that seem difficult to overcome. A few examples of common obstacles and strategies for overcoming them are shown in the following table.

Try This
I just don’t have time to be physically active. Identify available time slots. Monitor your daily activities for one week. Identify at least three 30-minute time slots you could use for physical activity. Check UBC drop-in programs.
I don’t have anyone to go with me. Develop new friendships with physically active people. Join a club.
I’m so tired when I get home from work. Schedule physical activity for times in the day or week when you feel energetic.
I have so much on my “to do” list already, how can I do physical activity too? Plan ahead. Make physical activity a regular part of your daily or weekly schedule by writing it on your calendar. Keep the appointment with yourself.
I’ll probably hurt myself if I try to be more physically active. Consult with a health professional or educational material to learn how to exercise appropriately considering your age, fitness level, skill level, and health status.
I’m not coordinated enough to be physically active. I can’t learn something new at my age! Select activities requiring no new skills, such as walking, climbing stairs, or jogging.
My job requires me to be on the road, it’s impossible for me to exercise. Stay in places with swimming pools or exercise facilities. Or find a DVD exercise tape that you enjoy and request a DVD player with your room.
I have small children and it’s impossible to have time to myself for exercise. Trade babysitting time with a friend, neighbor, or family member who also has small children. As children get older, family bike rides or walks might be another option.












Source: Centre for Disease Control and Prevention

Opportunities to be active on-campus
UBC Fitness Programs