February 18, 2021
As a registered nurse, my nursing career has provided me the opportunity and privilege to provide health care to patients and their family members, either in hospital, their home, or a community setting. These experiences have given me a greater understanding of the challenges people living with chronic conditions have to face on a daily basis.
A chronic condition is a health condition that is ongoing, cannot be cured by medicine or vaccines, and requires ongoing management. Staying physically active can help prevent the development and/or management of chronic conditions such as: diabetes, obesity, hypertension, heart disease, chronic lung conditions, and osteoarthritis.
Physical activity helps with healthy growth and development. It gives us energy, decreases stress, makes us stronger, and helps to prolong independence as we age.
Physical activity has been linked to improving psychosocial health as well, such as anxiety, depression, and cognition.
Maintaining a healthy lifestyle involves a balance of physical activity, nutrition, and rest. Evidence shows appropriate amounts of sleep, sedentary (inactive) behaviour and moderate-to-vigorous physical activity can reduce the risk of chronic conditions.
Canada has developed 24-Hour Movement Guidelines that provide guidance on the optimal amount of physical activity, sedentary (inactive) behaviour, and sleep to maintain health, well-being, and quality of life for all ages. The 24-hour Movement Guidelines encourage Canadians to Move More, Reduce Sedentary Time (Sit Less), and Sleep Well.
The presence of COVID-19 restrictions and winter weather conditions can pose a challenge for staying active.
COVID-19 has changed how we do things, which can negatively impact our health and well-being. One of the ways for staying healthy, physically and mentally, during these trying times is to incorporate some movement into every single day!
Being active doesn’t have to be difficult or costly. Physical activity can be done: at home — doing housework, walking the dog, or doing yardwork; at work — taking the stairs, standing and doing a few stretches, or a short walk at lunch hour; or during leisure time with friends and family — dancing, going shopping, or playing with your grandchildren.
Incorporating a little bit of physical activity into your daily routine can have significant benefits on your physical and mental health – and you don’t even need to leave the comfort of your own home!
Here are resources you can use to help stay active and healthy, when getting outside for physical activity is a challenge due to the weather…
NOTE: If you are new to exercise, have not been active in some time, or have a chronic condition, please talk with your health care provider to see if these exercises are right for you.
- 20-minute warm-up for the joints – Arthritis Society
- Get Fit as you Sit – ParticipACTION
- Resistance Exercise Workout – Diabetes Canada
- Mom and Me – ParticipACTION
- Top 10 Arthritis Exercises – Arthritis Society
- Strength & Balance Exercises – Ottawa Public Health
- Get Fit at Home 1 – Diabetes Quebec
- Get Fit at Home 2 – Diabetes Quebec
- Goal-Setting Work Sheet – ParticipACTION
- Zoomers on the Go! (free) – Check your community’s event calendar for upcoming sessions.
- Fitness Tracker (free) – ParticipACTION
For information about chronic disease prevention and management at Horizon, click here.
Paula Pickard is the regional manager for Chronic Disease Prevention and Management at Horizon Health Network. Since taking on this role in 2019, Paula has helped Horizon teams review their standards of care for chronic disease prevention and management, identify and address system-level issues, and raise awareness for chronic conditions by developing web content for HorizonNB.ca and promoting national and international chronic disease awareness campaigns on Horizon’s social media platforms.
Prior to her current role, Paula has held various positions at Horizon: a patient safety consultant for the Fredericton and Upper River Valley areas, a nurse with the New Brunswick Extra-Mural Program, and a nurse at Horizon’s Dr. Everett Chalmers Regional Hospital.