I was told once that a good workout is only as good as the stretching you do before and after. Sensibly, I was advised that if you skip taking the time to release tension, relax the muscles you’ve just worked, and stretch out any remaining kinks you may subject yourself to discomfort, pain, and even injury. However, I think this advice extends value to our everyday life. Whether it be from being on our feet for hours at a time, sitting at a desk or computer without many breaks, or even just holding tension and stress within, we need to restore our bodies and minds through engaging in planned breaks, simple stretches, and movement.

After taking care of our joints and muscles (even through a few minutes of gentle stretching), we can sense the immediate effects of feeling looser, lighter, stronger, and more balanced. We feel refreshed and can re-focus to our activities of the day without aches and pains limiting us. The short term benefits can be felt immediately, but you’ll thank yourself in the long run too!

Research shows that sitting (especially in poor postures) for long periods of time without breaks has negative results for both individual and organizational wellness. Prolonged periods of sitting can contribute to fatigue, weight gain, reduced blood flow, repetitive motion strains and injuries, loss of focus, and reduced productivity.


Tips for Adding Movement to Your Workday:

1) Incorporate periodic stretching into your daily routine. Follow this link for some light stretches and movements that can bedone at your workstation: http://www.ehs.utoronto.ca/services/Ergonomics/exercise.htm

2) Add some light stretches with the Wellness team to your schedule! The REFRESH program runs every TUESDAY & THURSDAY from 2:30-2:45 in the TGH OASIS Wellness Centre (1NU168). Visit the Wellness page on the UHN Intranet for information & program schedule.

3) Stand up while talking on the phone or when completing tasks away from the computer

4) Arrange for a walking meeting when possible

5) Walk to a colleague’s work station rather than using email when possible

6) Set up your work station so that you must get up and walk to access the printer, water stations, and supplies

7) Make an Active Switch to your commute to work! Smart Commute (a program of Metrolinx) is challenging you to leave your car at home and choose an active transportation option to get to and from work during the Active Switch Challenge (October 19-25, 2015). You could even be rewarded! Log your active commute trips on the Active Switch online tool during the Challenge period (October 19 to 25) for a chance to WIN a pair of round trip tickets from Toronto to Europe, courtesy of Transat Holidays. Additionally, every time you log an active commute (e.g. walking, cycling, running, rollerblading and skateboarding) you are bringing UHN one step closer to earning the 2015 Active Switch Challenge Medal. View Contest details & tips here: http://smartcommute.ca/mississauga/2015active-switch-challenge/ 



University of Toronto: Environmental Health & Safety. “Workplace Exercises.” http://www.ehs.utoronto.ca/services/Ergonomics/exercise.htm

Dr Genevieve Healy, Dr Sheleigh Lawler, Dr Alicia Thorp, Ms Maike Neuhaus, Ms Erin Robson, Professor Neville Owen & Associate Professor David Dunstan. (2012). “Reducing Prolonged Sitting in the Workplace.”


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