Movember's MOVE fitness challenge: getting active for men's health

'Tis the season of the ‘stache. With no-shave November here, clean-shaven faces will soon start sprouting the renowned moustaches all around campus. Since the Movember charity began in Australia in 2003, the movement has spread into a worldwide phenomenon for men to grow their facial hair to raise awareness about prostate cancer, testicular cancer, poor mental health and physical inactivity.

This year, in addition to its traditional embrace of the ‘stache, Movember is kicking into high gear with its anticipated MOVE campaign — a 30-day fitness challenge for both men and women to move as much as they can during the month of November. UBC has embraced the challenge by partnering with Movember for the Fall Classic Run Official Charity. From preparing for a 10-mile marathon to simply getting off the bus one stop earlier or playing ping-pong, MOVE is designed for any age and fitness level. 

Tyler Small is the head of Movember’s Big Moustache on Campus Challenge and representative of all things Movember on campus. 

“I think the biggest impact will be mostly for women because they can participate by signing up and motivating the men in their lives," said Small. "Whether that’s a boyfriend, husband, uncle, dad [or] students on campus ... really challenge them to match their movement. We are already having more girls sign up, lead teams, run events and really be catalysts for fundraising, encouraging men in their lives to get healthier and being more open to talking.”

While previous campaigns are mostly reactive, MOVE is the first real change offered by the charity to be proactive with health.

“The physical and mental benefits of exercise and moving around on a regular basis are huge — it is finally an option for someone to really take action during the month. Hopefully, it creates a behavioural change that will last throughout the year so they can be motivated to keep going even after the month ends,” said Small.

In the past few years, UBC has become one of the top fundraising universities for the Movember charity in Canada. In 2014, the 395 registered Mo Bros and Mo Sistas in the UBC network came from a variety of faculties and raised over $50,000 dollars.

With the introduction of MOVE, the 2015 total is predicted to dwarf this value. “UBC has really helped raise funds, but I think it could be even bigger. UBC students have already started to show excitement and support for MOVE ... a lot of people are running Movember campaigns and getting involved, which is really encouraging,” said Small.

So maybe leave the car once in a while on your way to campus or venture into any of the trails around UBC. This Movember, in addition to the glorious array of beards that pepper the campus, we might start to see accompanying spandex and sneakers in show of support for men’s health.