Step into wellness: Annual Move UBC month kicks off again

Move UBC is back with recreation events throughout the month of February.

This annual initiative, led by UBC Wellbeing, aims to encourage students, staff and faculty to reduce their sedentary time and incorporate small yet effective physical activities into their busy schedules.

Part of the academic hustle is spending countless hours hunched over screens or sitting in lectures, and it’s easy for students to prioritize intellectual pursuits over physical well-being. According to the 2022/23 UBC Wellbeing Annual Report, only 61 per cent of undergraduate and 65 per cent of graduate students met the Canadian guidelines for physical activity.

Regular physical movement can reduce stress, increase energy levels, regulate mood and enhance social connections among other benefits.

The UBC Wellness Strategic Framework was developed to respond to the university’s adoption of the Okanagan Charter in 2015, an international agreement to promote health at universities and colleges worldwide. UBC committed to increasing physical activity and community member satisfaction with recreation facilities and programs by 10 per cent by 2025.

By organizing events on and off campus and fostering a sense of community around well-being, Move UBC is designed to help the university reach this goal.

“This is one of [the] pieces that are really at the forefront of of driving people being more aware and more educated that you don't have to necessarily do yoga class or go to the gym. There's simple things you can do within your day and get to be more active, more balanced,” said Kavie Toor, managing director of athletics and recreation.

Being physically active can mean different things to everyone, and it’s important to explore ways of moving that make you feel comfortable and motivated. Toor noted that a key pillar to the program is inclusivity, "with the idea that [they] can remove barriers for everyone to participate in physical activity."

“We're really conscious and intentional about having activities that target members of populations that are perhaps less active or have less access to recreation and well-being programs.”

While there are several workout classes offered, the initiative this year also features educational group workshops to address the importance of healthy habits regarding body image and eating. Other events support connections within the school community by collaborating with campus clubs, such as the active baking workshop led by the AMS Baking Club.

At the heart of the initiative is increasing “access to resources,” said Toor.

In addition to online resources, he noted one of the initiatives was Move U representatives coming into classrooms or meetings to role model and lead physical activity exercises.

“If the Board of Governors is finding time to [move], certainly we can find time to do it in our classroom meeting.”