Physical activity

Why physical activity is important

Regular movement can improve your physical, mental, emotional, and social health.

The Canadian 24-Hour Movement Guidelines encourage adults aged 18 to 64 to accumulate at least 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous intensity aerobic physical activity per week and several hours of light physical activities, including standing.

It’s also important to work on muscle and bone-strengthening activities that use major muscle groups at least 2 days per week. 

Integrating more daily movements, like reducing sedentary (inactive) time and sleeping well, can provide additional health-related benefits. Try to limit sedentary time to 8 hours or less, including no more than 3 hours of recreational screen time and break up long periods of sedentary behaviour when possible. Aim for 7 to 9 hours of sleep each night and find strategies to sleep better.

You are the expert on your own body, and the movement or lack of movement that suits your best is your own choice.

Benefits of moving more

  • Enhanced mental health and wellbeing
  • Regulated sleep patterns
  • Greater creativity and learning
  • Reduced stress, anxiety, and depression
  • Improved mood and self-esteem
  • Better concentration, memory, learning, and attention
  • Increased engagement and social activities
  • Higher productivity levels
  • Reduced risk of physical illness

Get started

You don’t need to be an athlete or have a gym membership to be physically active. There are many ways to move more on campus:

  • Find out why
    Figure out the reason you want to move. Being more physically active can give you the energy and motivation you need to pursue other passions.
  • Get on a schedule
    Finding time to get active when balancing a busy schedule and other areas of life can be challenging, but try to work joyful movements into your schedule.
  • Build physical activity into your daily routine
    Take a brisk walk around campus on your breaks or stretch in your downtime, such as while watching Netflix.
  • Start slowly and build up gradually
    As your stamina increases, add on to the amount of time you spend on physical activity.
  • Ride a bike on campus
    You can use paid bike share programs at UBC, get your bike serviced by the Bike Kitchen, or learn how to load your bike onto a bus.
  • Listen to your body
    If you feel pain, shortness of breath, dizziness, or nausea, take a break. You may be pushing yourself too hard through your exercise.

Building motivation

Choose an activity that you enjoy so you can commit to doing it.

  • Plan your physical activity
    Outline your physical activity in your calendar and plan when and how you'll be moving that day. 

  • Move with a buddy
    Exercise with a friend to make movement more social and fun, and to hold each other accountable for your overall wellbeing.

  • Do something you like
    You don’t have to go to a gym or a workout class if you don’t enjoy it. Find an activity you enjoy and feel comfortable with, and you’ll feel more motivated to do it.

  • Pay attention to your energy cycle
    Some people have more energy in the morning than in the evening. Schedule your physical activity for when you feel the most energized or motivated.

  • Mix up your workout schedule
    Switch up your activities by season or day of the week. For example, run on Mondays and swim on Wednesdays. The diversity in activities can keep your routine engaging. 

  • Track your progress
    Logging how good physical activity makes you feel over time can keep you motivated.

  • Be patient with yourself
    Celebrate your progress and keep up your physical activity knowing that you’re benefiting your health.

Stay active on campus

  • UBC Recreation
    Check out the Aquatic Centre for free, sign up for a wellbeing walk, hit the BirdCoop or ARC for fitness and workouts, go to drop-in classes, and more.
  • Intramural events and leagues
    UBC Recreation hosts events throughout the school year at varying levels of competition and offers 8 different league sports, such as summer soccer and roundnet.
  • Join an AMS club
    Make new friends while doing pilates, yoga, squash, Taekwondo, or your favourite activity.
  • Moves on MacInnes
    Borrow free sports and activity equipment for use on MacInnes Field.
  • Move UBC
    In February, join the UBC community in the annual university-wide initiative for fun activities, exercises, and events to increase physical activity.


Peer support

  • Move U Crew
    Request a team of “movement specialists” to drop into your class, meeting, or event, and lead 5 to 15 minutes of stretching, dance, or strength.
  • Physical Activity Peer Coaching
    Book a 30-minute free Physical Activity Coaching Session where the Move U Crew will help you find ways to fit physical activity that interests you into your busy schedule.