Active Living for U
Offering Innovative Ideas & Programs for a Healthier “U”
The Senate Task Force on Wellness proposed that many of the health and wellness barriers identified by members of our community could be addressed by implementing an active living program flexible enough to suit a variety of lifestyles. The goal of Active Living for “U” is to provide opportunities for individuals to adopt a healthier lifestyle while easily incorporating active living into their daily lives. While physical fitness is an integral component of a healthy lifestyle not all needs are met through workout facilities and programming.
Active Living for “U” provides an integrated comprehensive menu of ideas for active living, ranging from structured programs through to “Anytime - Anywhere” activities, plus a wealth of information to assist individuals in incorporating active living into their daily routine. Active Living for “U” is for people who are just getting started, for those who already make physical activity a part of their routine, for those who prefer to work with others to achieve their health goals, and for people who prefer to pursue healthy activities on their own. The goal of Active Living for “U” is to offer something for everyone - check out the menu to the left!
Staff members can gain a sense of their current state of fitness and identify potential risk areas by accessing the Health Risk Appraisal online through Homewood Health, the University's Employee and Family Assistance Program provider. They can also access up to two hours per year with a physical trainer by calling Homewood Health on 780-428-7587 to make an appointment.
Understanding Active Living
The concept of Active Living is often misunderstood. When we think of physical activity, we usually think of high energy aerobics, working at a very high intensity, running or anything that involves sweating. While this concept may appeal to some, activity does not have to be vigorous in order for the participant to reap benefits. Active living has been called a “unique Canadian approach to physical activity”. It is appealing because it encourages us to make individual choices about how we can include physical activity in our daily routine. It is essentially a “way of life in which physical activity is valued and integrated into daily living; this approach recognizes the benefits of many different activities” (Carlson 2000). Activities such as walking, gardening, housework, playing with your children, hiking, rollerblading, biking, and taking the stairs instead of using the elevator are just a few examples of how easily activity can be incorporated into your daily routine. The type, frequency and intensity of physical activity are decided by the individual, relative to their own personal ability, needs, aspirations and physical surroundings.
Active living concepts are a great way to start increasing physical activity for those people currently maintaining a more sedentary lifestyle. The active living message supports the concept that moving from a sedentary lifestyle to incorporating some regular activity into daily routines is not only a positive change but can also serve as motivation. Research has shown that regular, moderate intensity exercise does provide health benefits. Canada’s Physical Activity Guidelines show that even ten minute blocks of moderate intensity exercise, for a total of 2.5 hours per week, does provide health benefits.
Active living does not have to be difficult. Deciding to make a lifestyle change does not require you to enroll at a fitness facility but simply climb a flight of stairs at work instead of taking the elevator, play catch with your children, walk the dog, or park farther away from the grocery store than usual.
The Importance of Physical Activity
Physical activity in its various forms is a fundamental component of health. Sedentary lifestyles can place an individual at even greater risk for developing a variety of health concerns such as heart disease, obesity, high blood pressure, adult onset diabetes, osteoporosis, stroke, depression, colon cancer and premature death. The risks can be devastating to individuals and families.
The benefits of regular physical activity include improved health and fitness, improved posture and balance, increased self esteem, weight control, stronger muscles and bones, more energy, a more relaxed state and reduced stress, and continued independent living in later life.