5 Ways to Use Ophea’s Yoga Alphabet Cards in the Workplace

yoga cardsOctober marks Canada’s Healthy Workplace Month, a web-based initiative that aims to “build awareness of the importance of workplace health for the short and long-term success of organizations and for the well-being of their employees.”1 In order to help you and your team move more during the workday, we’re sharing 5 ways you and your colleagues can move  and stretch using a few of your favourite Ophea’s Yoga Alphabet Cards.

When selecting cards to use in the different activities, be sure to keep in mind the ability and safety of all participants. Remind participants that they are free to modify stretches and poses, as needed.

 

1. Stretching Scramble. Select 8-10 of your favourite cards from Ophea’s Yoga Alphabet Cards and place them face down in a common area of your meeting space. Set an alarm (e.g., phone or computer alarm or timer) for 3-5 intervals depending on the length of your meeting. Once the alarm sounds one person selects a card and leads the team in a stretch for 30-45 seconds. Once complete, cards can either be returned face down or be held onto by the stretch leader. Each alarm gives an opportunity for a new stretch leader.

2. PowerPoint Power Up. Display 6-8 of your favourite cards from Ophea’s Yoga Alphabet Cards at the front of your meeting space. When presenting to your colleagues using PowerPoint (or a similar program) place a yoga themed image in the bottom right corner of every 5-6 slides. When this image appears, meeting participants select one of their favourite poses from those displayed at the front of the room. This can be structured where the entire meeting stops to stretch, or simply allow participants to take the lead and stretch for as long as they need.

3. Stretch and Seek.  Place 8-10 of your favourite cards from Ophea’s Yoga Alphabet Cards in common, but hidden, areas of your workplace – think coffee cup cupboard, freezer, and photo copy room door. Encourage colleagues who come across the “hidden” cards to perform the stretch for 30-45 seconds while in the space. Consider changing the card locations daily.

4. My Stretch. Meeting participants select their favourite Ophea’s Yoga Alphabet Cards and keep it at their meeting space face down. At random intervals, determined by the participants, one participant will lead their colleagues through their stretch holding it for 30-45 seconds. Consider displaying optional cards for those who might want to perform an alternate stretch.

5. Drop Everything and Stretch. Place 10-12 of your favourite cards, from Ophea’s Yoga Alphabet Cards in a fun bag or decorated envelope, along with a staff list and pen. Participants perform a specified number of stretches from the bag before crossing off their name and passing the bag along to a colleague who hasn’t received it. Participants are encouraged to drop everything and stretch as soon as they receive the bag. Challenge staff to see how quickly they can make it through the entire staff list and challenge themselves to beat their combined time another day.


1Canada’s Healthy Workplace Month. (2017). About Canada’s Healthy Workplace Month®. Retrieved from: http://healthyworkplacemonth.ca/en/about/about

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5 Ways to Use Ophea’s 50 Fitness Activity Cards in the Workplace

Image result for ophea 50 fitness activity cardsWhile Ophea’s 50 Fitness Activity Cards have been a much loved tool by teachers in the classroom and adults working with children and youth, have you ever considered using them in your office, or work setting, to get the adults in your workplace moving? Here are 5 ways you can integrate Ophea’s 50 Fitness Activity Cards into your workplace (e.g. during staff meetings, mid-morning surprise energizers, lunch, etc.).

1. Meeting Minute Movements: Randomly select 6 cards from Ophea’s 50 Fitness Activity Cards. Display the 6 cards in a place where all participants in the meeting can see them. Together all participants in the meeting perform each activity to the best of their ability for ten seconds, therefore moving for a total time of one minute. Consider having multiple breaks, and even choose optional cards for those who might want to perform an alternate movement.

2. Pick A Side: Find an open space large enough for everyone in your workplace. Divide the space in half and assign 1-2 of Ophea’s 50 Fitness Activity Cards to each side of the room. The leader will call out two choices. The first choice will be represented by the left side of the room and the second choice by the right side. Participants quickly move to the side of the room that they prefer between the two choices and perform the assigned 50 Fitness Activity Card. Consider choices related to your workplace or the following options:

  • Summer or winter?
  • Country or Rock-n-roll music?
  • Siblings or only child?
  • Morning person or night owl?
  • Elvis or The Beatles?
  • Apples or oranges?

3. Jack, Jump, and Squat: Participants find a partner and face each other. Select three of Ophea’s 50 Fitness Activity Cards and assign each a number from 1-3.  This workplace energizer is done in four rounds, with the first round helping to set the structure of the energizer:

  • Round 1: Participants count to three by taking turns. Partner A says ‘1’, Partner B says ‘2’, Partner A says ‘3’, Partner B says ‘1’, and so on. Have them repeat this pattern for several seconds.
  • Round 2: Participants count to three but replace the ‘1’ with the first 50 Fitness Activity Card (e.g., jumping jack).
  • Round 3: Participants count to three but replace the ‘1’ with the first 50 Fitness Activity Card (e.g., jumping jack) and the ‘2’ with the second 50 Fitness Activity Card (e.g., tuck jump).
  • Round 4: Participants count to three but replace the ‘1’ with the first 50 Fitness Activity Card (e.g., jumping jack), the ‘2’ with the second 50 Fitness Activity Card (e.g., tuck jump), and the ‘3’ with the third 50 Fitness Activity Card (e.g., squat).

4. Fire 5/10: As a group select three of Ophea’s 50 Fitness Activity Cards. In pairs participants face each other with 1 or 2 hands hidden behind their back. On the signal “1, 2, show” participants reveal their hands with any number of fingers showing. Participants add up the fingers of both/all hands as quickly as possible, with the goal to shout out the correct answer first. Participants perform the corresponding Ophea 50 Fitness Activity Card based on whether they shouted out the correct response first (e.g., if they answered correctly first they perform “Chicken jacks”, if they shouted the answer second: “Squat kicks”, and if it was a tie they perform “Coffee grinders”.

5. Station Scatter: Display 10 of Ophea’s 50 Fitness Activity Cards around the meeting room. Participants perform 10 repetitions of each card as quickly as possible before moving on to the next card. Participants can complete the cards in any order with the goal of completing as many cards as possible.

Do you have more tips on keeping active at work? Share them with us on Twitter @PARCOntario using #PARCBlog!

This post originally appeard on the PARC Blog September 20, 2017. View the original post here.

Race Report: Toronto Triathlon Festival

This past Sunday one of my favourite triathlons of the season happened, the Toronto Triathlon Festival. I have participated in this race almost every year it has happened, and for the past two years have had the honour of being the Director of Ambassadors, coordinating the community ambassador team.

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This years race happened a couple weeks later in the season which was really nice, because the water was much warmer, and definitely felt that way. Something else new this year was the location of the expo. The swim start, finish line, post race party, and expo all happened in the parking lot of Ontario Place. This great change meant that everything you needed was close at hand, and it definitely made for a more spectator friendly experience.

The race festivities kicked off on Friday when the expo opened, and got really exciting Saturday with the shake our run with Olympian Simon Whitfield, and the ambassador team. Over the past couple years I’ve got to know Simon through this event and any chance to hear him speak is one I jump all over. He makes amazing connections to mindfulness and sport and has this real way of speaking the truth while being motivating and hopeful for athletes no matter their level of experience. What resonated with me this year, was him once again keeping it real, and sharing the nerves he experienced when at the start line – questioning whether he belonged – if his equipment was ood enough compared to others – and his ability… turns out he’s just like us!

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My Goals

After coming off of back-to-back injuries since May my goals were pretty modest, as even days before the race I was uncertain that I would even cross the start line. After an extensive self-care and recovery strategy I felt healthy enough to start and set the following three race goals:

  1. Run Fast! Prior to my injury, I had been putting more of a focus on running, racing faster, and using the race mantra that no mater what my watch said I would be racing to the maximum of my intensity – and in an ideal race situation, not referring to my watch.  I was able to do this in Mississauga and in Kincardine and I’ve found that with my watch I have been intentionally running slower, because I would look at my pace and doubt myself thinking “oh no, I can’t hold  4:55” when truthfully I could, and did. So my goal was to stop doubting myself and run fast and the hardest I could in every moment.file1-6
  2. Place something other than 5th and 8th. So the truth about this goal, and any goal that has to do with place, it really has nothing to do with me and my performance as much as who else is there that day – so it’s a crappy goal. You see, I can race a PB, but if someone faster is there, my goal has failed, I can’t control it. So really I don’t suggest these types of goals, but for me it seems like every triathlon I place either 5th or 8th, including Kincardine where I set the same goal, and still came 5th. So I set this goal again, and placed 7th in my age group. Now fourth would’ve been nice too, but I’m happy with 7th – and not 5th or 8th.
  3. Look competitive AF! This goal was a fun extension of our Ragnar Relay. When we thought we might be placing near the top our van came up with the one liner “You look competitive”. It was funny and made me think of the gals in my crew, which acted as inspiration as well. So in action, this goal was similar to my first, at every moment of the race, keep my head in the game, and look strong and focused and competitive AF – even if that wasn’t how I felt. It certainly helped me to stay in the moment and keep moving ahead and being strong.

Following the race TTF had food trucks, vendors, and a beer garden. I picked up a new triathlon kit from a Montreal company called Brava (check them out here) and we hung around, recovering, reflecting, and having a great time in the sun.

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This was certainly a great year to race TTF and if it’s on your goal list, don’t wait any longer.

My next race is in Wasaga Beach, where i’ve decided again to race the sprint distance (vs my original plan of the Olympic). TTF has certainly fired me up and I’m already looking forward to putting in the work to stay injury free and cross that finish line – maybe this time in 4th 😉 (who am I kidding, I really want to podium)