ParticipACTION’s Sneak It In Week Encourages Canadians to Move More at Work


By Katherine Janson

According to ParticipACTION, 88 per cent of employed Canadians spend time at work on personal activities such as checking Facebook, making personal calls or chatting with colleagues, yet only 17 per cent make time for a physical activity break.  To help encourage Canadians to move more at work, ParticipACTION is hosting Sneak It In Week, which runs this year from April 7 to 11, to encourage Canadians to sneak in short amounts of physical activity during their workdays.

“If you can fit in a coffee break, you have time to be active at work,” says Elio Antunes, president and CEO of ParticipACTION, the national voice of physical activity and sport participation.  “A short activity break can actually count towards the recommended level of physical activity per week adults require for health benefits.”

According to the Canadian Physical Activity Guidelines, adults need 150 minutes of heart-pumping activity per week, but this does not have to be done all at once.  Research shows that even tiny bouts of physical activity—as little as 10 minutes at a time—are associated with increased fitness.

The main reason Canadians cite for not taking physical activity breaks is that they don’t have the time. 

“For those of us who work an eight-hour day, 10 minutes represent only two per cent of our total time spent at work,” says Antunes. “In only 10 minutes, you can break up time spent sitting, get your heart pumping and improve your health—and the bonus is, you can boost your mental health and productivity while you’re doing it.”   

Only 15 per cent of Canadian adults are getting enough physical activity.  ParticipACTION’s message with Sneak It In Week is that employees don’t need to worry about finding a whole hour during the day to go to the gym—they can positively impact their health if they sneak it in.  

What can employees do to get involved in Sneak It In Week?

ParticipACTION is encouraging Canadians to wear sneakers to work as much as possible during Sneak It In Week, so that getting physically active is easier to do. Some examples of easy ways to add 10 minutes of physical activity into the work day are:

  • Get coffee or lunch a few extra blocks away
  • Park 10 minutes from the building entrance
  • Go “power shopping” to get active while running errands
  • Do jumping jacks or yoga stretches at their desks
  • Start a lunchtime walking club
  • Sit on an exercise ball instead of a chair
  • Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Or get off the elevator a few floors earlier and then walk up
  • Schedule exercise time on your business calendar and treat it as any other important appointment
  • Use the restroom on another floor and take the stairs
  • Deliver documents or messages to co-workers in person rather than by email or phone

Plus, Canadians are invited to follow us on Facebook and Twitter (#sneakitin) to find out about this year’s Sneak It In Week activities and contests, and join the Sneak It In Week event on Facebook.

“It’s time to lose the loafers and give the heels a break. Sneak It In Week offers a fun opportunity for workplaces to get creative about fitting more fitness into the workday and rewarding their employees for making a commitment to their health, says Antunes.  “Break out the hockey nets at lunch, host a push-up challenge or give out rewards for those who take the stairs. There are so many ways to sneak it in.”

For more information on ParticipACTION’s Sneak It In Week, please contact Rebecca Jones at ParticipACTION at

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