Get Outside!

Published Wednesday, October 2, 2019

Get Outside!

Staff Feature: Sara Cicchitano, Executive Coordinator, Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Foundation

“Our winters here in Thunder Bay can be very long and cold but there is nothing better than enjoying Mother Nature’s skating rink on Lake Superior,” says Sara. Skating on the lake at Mackenzie beach (just 20 minutes from town) is a great outdoor activity with endless amounts of space. It is one of Sara’s favourite reasons to get out of the house with and activity that often ends by warming up with hot cocoa.

Swap your cell phone for hiking boots!

By Vanessa Masters, Prevention and Screening Services

Do you feel like you’re spending too much time in front of a screen? You probably are! Excessive screen time has been linked to impaired sleep, eye strain and reduced social interaction. Conversely, time spent outdoors is linked to stress relief as well as sharper thinking and creativity.

If unplugging completely seems overwhelming, start by reducing your screen time by using small steps. Try things like turning notifications off on your phone and schedule time to check your email. You can also set limits on certain apps like Facebook or Instagram so that you can’t access them after a certain amount of time. If you are looking for more ways to get outside, try some of these ideas:

  • Try eating one meal outside – it doesn’t have to be fancy, and can be as simple as coffee on the deck or taking your lunch to an outdoor picnic table.
  • Take walks before work, on your break, or after dinner – it’s a great way to refresh your mind!
  • Plan one outdoor excursion as a family or with friends each week – try a new hiking trail or explore a new park.
  • Take a book outside – put down a blanket or use a hammock and relax outside while reading a book. You may need an extra blanket for those cool fall nights!
  • Have a bonfire - fall is the best time to warm up by a fire and have some great conversations with friends.

‘Forest’ is a mobile app that helps you to stay away from your smartphone and stay focused on your work. The app has you set a limit for your screen time use, earn credit for staying focused, and then can use that credit to have real trees planted by the organization “Trees for the Future.” So far, 340,000 trees have been planted a result.

Pumpkin Banana Muffins

Recipe from Monique Trudeau, Systems & Benefits Analyst, Human Resources

Serves: 12

2 bananas, preferably very ripe

1 cup sugar

3/4 cup puréed pumpkin (see instructions below)

1/4 cup butter

1 egg

1 tsp vanilla

1 1/2 tsp homemade pumpkin spice (equal parts ground cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cloves)

1 tsp cinnamon

1 1/2 cup flour

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp baking soda

Pureed Pumpkin
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Cut pumpkin in half and remove and discard seeds and string fibres. Rub cut surfaces with oil. Place cut side down in roasting pan and add 1 cup of water to the pan.
  2. Bake in oven until flesh is soft when pierced (approximately 1 ½ hours).
  3. Remove from oven. When cool enough to handle, scoop out pumpkin flesh. Purée in food processor.
  4. Line a sieve or fine mesh colander with paper towel and set over a deep bowl. Pour in puree and allow draining for 2 hours, stirring occasionally. Freeze leftovers.
Directions for Muffins
  1. Preheat oven to 425°F and line a 12-count muffin tray with liners.
  2. In a large microwave safe bowl, microwave butter until melted, about 15 – 20 seconds, then add the bananas and mash. Add the sugar and pumpkin. Stir well. Stir in the egg and vanilla.
  3. Add pumpkin spice, cinnamon, flour, salt and baking soda. Mix only until no dry pockets remain. Spoon evenly into the muffin tin.
  4. Bake for 5 minutes at 425°F. Reduce the heat to 350°F and bake for 15-16 more minutes.

*All content from this article can be found in our Hospital’s 2019 Staff Health and Wellness Calendar. To date, the Calendar has featured over 300 staff members from all areas and disciplines of our Hospital, capturing the many ways they choose to stay healthy.


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