SP0223: Walking Birds

Status: ONGOING July 2019 - 

The Walking Birds promote physical activity and sustainability across McGill with the help of Sam the Martlet. We use strategic, evidence-based messaging and other health promotion strategies throughout campus to encourage people to get moving and stay moving both inside and outside of school. By improving our physical activity habits, we seek to catalyse a cultural shift away from facilitated transport and sedentary lifestyle, towards more healthy and sustainable choices.

Read the full project description

The Walking Birds tackles the issue of sedentary behavior, which is increasingly prevalent among university students, staff, and the population at large. In addition to their time spent in class, students can remain seated for several hours while studying in libraries, coffee shops or at home. Similarly, many jobs at McGill involve sitting at a desk for a large portion of the day. Even when they aren’t at work or studying, people have learned to rely on facilitated transport devices such as elevators and escalators to travel short distances. This sedentary lifestyle is linked with countless negative health outcomes including higher risks of obesity, cancer and heart attack, and overall increased likelihood of premature death.

Engaging in regular physical activity during the day has been shown to greatly improve both mental and physical health. That’s why it’s important for us to be in motion every chance we get! To make it easier for you to be active and stay motivated, look out for Sam the Martlet. This fun and sociable character can be seen on posters and screens across McGill, spreading positive messages that include information from the latest research in physical activity and public health with the goal of cultivating a healthier environment.

Incorporating more walking, biking and other forms of movement in your daily life in turn also helps save energy by decreasing usage of electricity and fossil fuels. This initiative imparts the philosophy of physical activity and energy saving in everyday life by encouraging people to use the stairs rather than the elevators on campus with the strategic placement of signage in libraries where people sit for extended periods and other high traffic places such as the McIntyre Medical Building and Brown Student Services Building. These signs are continuously monitored for efficacy, updated and rotated between sites to keep messages fresh and exciting to passersby.

In such a way, Sam the Martlet echoes the spirit of McGill’s mythical Martlet birds: always in flight, sociable, healthy, and filled with promise for a better future. The only difference is that the Walking Birds prefer to take the stairs.

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Helpful Websites

  1. Coalition Poids (Our partners): https://www.cqpp.qc.ca/en/
  2. Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology: https://csepguidelines.ca
  3. Physical and Health Education Canada: https://phecanada.ca
  4. Canadian Public Health Association: https://www.cpha.ca
  5. Canadian Fitness and Lifestyle Research Institute: https://www.cflri.ca/contributors-physical-activity
  6. Diabetes Quebec : https://www.diabete.qc.ca/en/living-with-diabetes/physical-activity/
  7. Health USA: https://health.gov/moveyourway
  8. Physical Literacy: https://physicalliteracy.ca/inclusion/
  9. ParticipACTION: https://www.participaction.com/en-ca
  10. Special Olympics: https://www.specialolympics.ca
  11. Public Health Ontario: https://www.publichealthontario.ca/en/health-topics/healthpromotion/phys...

Tips, Guidelines & Other Physical Activity Resources

  1. Heart and Stroke: https://www.heartandstroke.ca/get-healthy/stay-active/how-much-physicala...
  2. ParticipACTION: https://www.participaction.com/en-ca/resources/physical-literacy
  3. Canada’s Food Guide: https://food-guide.canada.ca/en/tips-for-healthy-eating/physical-activity/
  4. Health Canada: https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/being-active/activetrans...
  5. Santé Montréal (Active Transport): https://santemontreal.qc.ca/en/public/advice-andprevention/active-transp...
  6. Santé Montréal (Seniors): https://santemontreal.qc.ca/en/public/advice-and-prevention/physicalacti...
  7. Quebec Education : http://www.education.gouv.qc.ca/en/current-initiatives/quebecers-on-the-...
  8. KFL&A Public Health: https://www.kflaph.ca/en/healthy-living/about-physical-activity.aspx
  9. Kino-Quebec : http://www.kino-quebec.qc.ca/ete.asp
  10. Diabetes Québec : https://www.diabete.qc.ca/en/living-with-diabetes/physical-activity/wher...
  11. PHAC-ASPC (Quiz) : https://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca/app/pag-gap/facebook/beactive/
  12. Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology Guidelines: https://csep.ca/CMFiles/Guidelines/CSEP_PAGuidelines_0-65plus_en.pdf
  13. US Department of Health and Human Services: https://www.hhs.gov/fitness/be-active/physicalactivity-guidelines-for-am...
  14. Health USA: https://health.gov/MoveYourWay/Activity-Planner/
  15. Choose My Plate USDA: https://www.choosemyplate.gov/resources/physical-activity-tips
  16. Education Manitoba: https://www.edu.gov.mb.ca/k12/cur/physhlth/frame_found_gr11/rm/module_b_...
  17. Provincial Health Services Authority: http://www.phsa.ca/health-info/staying-healthy/healthy-habitsfor-life/ph...
  18. American Heart Association: https://www.heart.org/en/news/2019/07/18/making-the-most-of-yourhealth-i...
  19. YMCA: https://www.ymca.ca/CWP/media/YMCANational/Documents/Our%20Impact%20page...

Physical Activity Benefits, Stats & Facts Sheets

  1. Quebec: https://www.quebec.ca/en/health/advice-and-prevention/healthy-lifestyle-...
  2. Health Canada: https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/being-active/physical-ac...
  3. ParticipACTION (Facts Sheet): https://www.participaction.com/en-ca/resources/key-facts-and-stats
  4. ParticipACTION (Pulse Report): https://www.participaction.com/en-ca/resources/pulse-report
  5. World Heath Organization: https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/physical-activity
  6. Center for Disease Control and Prevention (Facts Sheet): https://www.cdc.gov/physicalactivity/basics/pa-health/index.htm
  7. Center for Disease Control and Prevention (Walking): https://www.cdc.gov/physicalactivity/walking/index.htm
  8. National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute: https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health-topics/physical-activityand-your-heart
  9. Mayo Clinic: https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/fitness/in-depth/exercise/a...
  10. US Department of Health and Human Services (Surgeon General): https://www.hhs.gov/surgeongeneral/reports-and-publications/physical-act...
  11. Heart and Stroke: https://www.heartandstroke.ca/get-healthy/stay-active/benefits-of-physic...
  12. Statistics Canada: https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/n1/en/catalogue/82M0013X
  13. Canadian Psychological Association : https://cpa.ca/docs/File/Publications/FactSheets/PsychologyWorksFactShee... Health_Motivation.pdf

Physical Activity Resources For People With Disabilities

  1. Help Guide: https://www.helpguide.org/articles/healthy-living/chair-exercises-and-li...
  2. Center for Disease Control and Prevention: https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/disabilityandhealth/features/physical-activit...
  3. National Center on Health, Physical Activity and Disability: https://www.nchpad.org/Articles/7/Disability~Condition
  4. Active for Life: https://activeforlife.com/inclusive-physical-literacy/
  5. Reduce Obesity: http://reduceobesity.org/graids/PAGuide.pdf
  6. Human Kinetics (Book): https://us.humankinetics.com/products/inclusive-physical-activity-2ndedi...
  7. Physical Literacy: https://physicalliteracy.ca/inclusion/
  8. MS Society Canada (Facebook): https://www.facebook.com/MSSocietyCanada/?__tn__=%2Cd%2CPR&eid=ARDrwdw9E... s_lwD16
  9. MS Society Canada (Webpage): https://mssociety.ca/hot-topics/exercise-and-physical-activity
  10. Special Olympics (Fit 5): https://www.specialolympics.ca https://resources.specialolympics.org/health/fitness/fit-5page?_ga=2.250...

Social Media Pages

  1. Heart and Stroke: https://www.instagram.com/heartandstroke/?hl=en
  2. American Heart Association: https://www.instagram.com/american_heart/?hl=en
  3. Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology (Instagram): https://www.instagram.com/csep_scpe/?hl=en
  4. Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology (Podcast): https://anchor.fm/cseppodcast
  5. ParticipACTION: https://www.facebook.com/ParticipACTION/?ref=search&__tn__=%2Cd%2CPR&eid...
  6. SitKicker: https://www.facebook.com/sitkicker/
  7. DocMikeEvans (23 and 1/2 hours): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aUaInS6HIGo&feature=youtu.be
  8. Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion (Move Your Way: Tips for Busy Days): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=61p1OIO20wk&feature=emb_title
  9. UK Mental Health (Physical Activity and Mental Wellbeing): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=djcuGZBOCoY
  10. Healthy Families BC: https://www.healthyfamiliesbc.ca/home/blog/5-ways-use-social-media-boost...

Connect with this project



Department of Kinesiology


Facebook @walkingbirdsmcgill
Instagram @walkingbirds 


Contact Sam at walkingbirds [at] mcgill.ca










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