women doing yogaHelp fight screen fatigue and keep yourself centered during the next five days of amazing public health content by taking advantage of the APHA 2020 Annual Meeting and Expo Wellness Center.

This year’s offerings feature 15- to 30-minute live activities, including dance, mindful stretching, stress management, yoga and a new Million Minutes Challenge for extra motivation. Attendees can also participate in wellness activities like Tai Chi, Qi Gong, resilience training, meditation and beyond by viewing on-demand sessions now, during the meeting and until August 2021. All sessions are listed on the Virtual Meeting Platform under Networking and Engagement.

“At a time when many of us are working and attending conferences and events from home, it’s more important than ever to participate in Wellness Center activities during the Annual Meeting,” said Cynthia Zhu, APHA’s meetings and exhibits coordinator, who helped launch the center five years ago. “I wanted APHA to walk the walk, as well as talk the talk about public health.”

Member volunteers from across the Association work with staff to fill the schedule with new mental and physical wellness activities each year. And a “range of public health experts and partners give freely of their time on a number of meaningful and creative subjects,” said APHA member Ken Gaughan, a Wellness Center volunteer and retired supervisor of school social work for Hillsborough County, Florida.

“Everyone will be spending a lot of time sitting in front of a computer for the virtual meeting,” said Mariza Silva, APHA’s meetings manager. “Attendees won’t be walking around a large convention center and hotel to go from session to session. So this year, more than ever, it’s a good idea to add a little movement throughout the day.”

Zhu said one activity she’s most looking forward to is Tuesday’s “Gliding for Everyone: Adaptive Ice Skating,” with Courtney Fecske of Indiana University-Bloomington. 

Zhu works to make the APHA Annual Meeting as accessible as possible. “Accessibility has become an important part of my planning process,” she said, “and I’m excited to learn how adaptive figure skating works and how U.S. Figure Skating is incorporating accessibility into their programs.”

Another way APHA is working to increase accessibility is through its Million Minutes Challenge. Formerly known as the Steps Challenge, it’s always been a great movement motivator during the meeting. In an effort to be as inclusive as possible and encourage all to participate, APHA renamed the challenge and, beginning this year, attendees can track minutes of activity and the Walker Tracker app will translate them into steps. 

Swimming, walking, seated yoga, stretch breaks and much more count! The challenge runs through Oct. 28, and prizes will be awarded to participants and sent via mail or email. Download the app or sign up on the desktop version to get started. Space is limited to the first 1,000 attendees.

Photo by Jacoblund, courtesy iStockphoto