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Hospital encourages staff to take stairs

By: Jonathan Migneault - Sudbury Northern Life

 | Mar 11, 2014 - 4:26 PM |
Nicole Gauthier, a preventative oncology co-ordinator with the Northeast Cancer Centre and Sharon Bowes, project lead for Health Sciences North's Your Health Matters initiative, cut a ribbon to officially launch the hospital's stairwell challenge. Photo by Jonathan Migneault.

Nicole Gauthier, a preventative oncology co-ordinator with the Northeast Cancer Centre and Sharon Bowes, project lead for Health Sciences North's Your Health Matters initiative, cut a ribbon to officially launch the hospital's stairwell challenge. Photo by Jonathan Migneault.

Stairwell challenge to promote health lifestyles

On most days, Dr. Amanda Hey takes the stairs to her fifth floor office at Health Science North's outpatient centre.

Hey, who is the Northeast Cancer Centre's primary care lead, could soon have a lot more company in the stairwell thanks to a new initiative from the hospital.

Health Sciences North has launched a stairwell challenge to encourage hospital staff to take the stairs when they can, and lead more healthy lifestyles.

The challenge is part of an initiative called Your Health Matters, organized by the hospital's occupational health and preventive oncology and screening departments.

“It's an opportunity to get staff active by climbing the stairs instead of taking the elevators,” said Nicole Gauthier, a preventative oncology co-ordinator with the Northeast Cancer Centre, and one of the organizers of Your Health matters. “It's a great way to inject physical activity into our daily routines while we're here in the workplace.”

For the stairwell challenge, organizers hope hospital employees can reach the equivalent to the peak of Mount Everest – a height of 8,850 metres – through their combined efforts climbing the stairs at the hospital.

At Health Sciences North, Mount Everest is equivalent to approximately 50,000 stairs, 4,800 flights of stairs, or 2,400 floors.

Gauthier said if all of the hospital's 4,000 employees climbed one flight of stairs each, they would nearly reach the goal.
Participating staff will log their progress through the hospital's intranet network.

Gauthier said the hospital hopes to encourage other workplaces and the public to take on similar challenges.

“This is really an opportunity to get people moving,” she said. “By being more physically active, it helps maintain a healthy weight, but it also helps us feel good mentally.”

National health organizations, such as the Canadian Diabetes Association, have recommended 30 minutes of moderate to brisk exercise a day to reduce the risk of chronic diseases like heart disease, stroke, diabetes and certain types of cancers.
 
Jonathan Migneault

Jonathan Migneault

Staff Writer

@jmigneault

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