Dr. Catherine Sabiston

Professional Biography

Dr. Catherine Sabiston, PhD, is a professor at the University of Toronto in the Faculty of Kinesiology and Physical Education. She also holds a Canada Research Chair (Tier II) in physical activity and mental health to conduct research related to understanding physical activity, motivation, and mental health (including body image, physical self-perceptions, anxiety, depression, and stress). Her research focuses primarily on females across the lifespan and clinical populations that are the least active segments of the Canadian population.

Learn more at:  https://kpe.utoronto.ca/faculty/sabis…

Reflection Questions

Take a moment to move your body before reading these questions. Move however feels good for you.

When do you feel most most motivated to be physically active?

What types of physical activity to you enjoy most?

What are some simple ways you can incorporate more movement into your day?

How did you feel after your last physical activity? How do you feel after moving in general?

In what ways does your lifestyle positively or negatively affect your movement habits?

What possibilities for movement do you feel keen to explore after listening to Dr. Sabiston?

How can you better incorporate mindfulness and movement?

Further Resources

For a links to Dr. Sabiston’s research publications, click here

To learn more about Dr. Sabiston’s lab, click here

Introducing Dr. Sabiston

Listen to Dr. Sabiston introduce her work on the relationship between physical activity and mental health. 

How Physical Activity Promotes Wellbeing

Dr. Sabiston discusses the physiological reasons behind the benefits of physical activity. Movement affects our brains and create more positive emotions, and also realigns the human body with the activities it was meant for. Dr. Sabiston also mentions the benefits of pairing mindfulness and physical activity, which helps to maximize the benefits of each practice. 

When We Don’t Feel Like Being Active

Dr. Sabiston emphasizes the importance of taking advantage of the small moments when we do want to move, even if it is only briefly. It is also important to use mindfulness to assess how you feel after times when you do physical activity, to help build an understanding of its positive effects. We can utilize our self-understanding to create routines that work best for us. Getting in touch with intrinsic reasons for engaging in movement (i.e., doing movement that we enjoy) and being kind to ourselves is key. 

Physical Activity and Mental Health on Campus

Dr. Sabiston talks about a 6-week physical activity program that she hosts on campus for students. Students often have assumptions about what types of activity they have to do, or what skills they need. The goal of the program is to teach them about the wide variety of possible ‘movement contexts’ you can partake in.