HOW EXERCISE HELPS THE BODY STAY HEALTHY

To have a healthy body, it is essential to feed your body healthy foods, and it is equally important to exercise. Healthy foods are whole foods or foods that grow from theground. Whole foods are vegetables, fruits and whole grains. Packaged foods, such as chips, candy bars and potato chips, are not whole foods. They are known as “junk food.” These types of foods are not considered to be natural because they’ve been modified and stripped of their nutrients. Whole foods, on the other hand, are packed with nutrients that the body needs to function properly. Such nutrients are vitamins and minerals. Whole foods are also lower in calories, so you won’t gain weight when it is eaten in moderation. To obtain a healthy body, it is important to exercise.

You may be wondering how exercise helps the body stay healthy. Exercise helps the body in many ways, but we’ll focus on three ways it can help the body stay healthy.

1.  Exercise helps you have a stronger heart, it helps keep your body energized and can help your body maintain a healthy weight. Exercise helps the heart because when you do activities that require energy such as jumping, running or even by walking fast the heart works harder to pump blood throughout the body.

2.  Exercise enables the heart to become stronger and more efficient. Having a heart that is stronge aides in your over all health. When the heart pumps blood to the whole body it is sending oxygen to the whole body because our blood carries oxygen. The oxygen thus help create energy in all the cells in your body. As a result you’ll have healthy cells which leads to healthy organs and a healthy body. When you exercise your less likely to become frequently fatigued, you’ll become more alert at work and in daily activities. People who exercise are also less likely to become depress. Another great benefit of exercising is the fact that it can help you maintain or get to a healthy weight. Many children and adults suffer from obesity. You can find out if your obese by taking a look at the BMI or body mass index chart. This chart compares your height to your weight. For your height there is a weight range that you should fall in. If you are below that range, your considered under weight, (that’s unhealthy) and if you are above that range then your obese. Obesity can cause many health problems such as cardiovascular problems, respiratory problems, diabetes, cholesterol and high blood pressure. All these problems can be fatal.

3.  Exercise can treat and even cure obesity. Children and adults who exercise regularly lose weight because they use up the energy they’ve taken in. To understand, you must see food as an energy fuel. When we eat we take in energy but with todays unhealthy diet people end up taking in more energy than they need. Overtime, energy that is not utilized through exercise is stored up as fat. Fat accumulates overtime until one is obese. You can prevent obesity from happening to you by eating whole foods, as mentioned before, and by having a regular exercise program. You don’t have to have a gym membership; all you need to do is choose any physical activity you like. Perhaps you can dance or a play a sport.

WINTER WALKING SAFETY TIPS

Image courtesy of www.blogs.canoe.ca

Image courtesy of www.blogs.canoe.ca

Falling snow and freezing temperatures lead to dangerous icy conditions on side walks, drive ways and parking lots.

Common injuries we see during the winter are those that result from people slipping on slippery surfaces like snow and ice. These slips and falls come suddenly and by the time you realize you lost your footing, you are already on your way to the ground!

We want to give you some winter walking safety reminders so that you can prepare yourself to have a safe and happy holiday season.

BE SAFE

Safety comes first in any dangerous situation, and treading over icy walk ways is no exception to the rule. The best thing you can do this winter to prevent slips and falls is to just take it easy.

You should plan ahead so that you end up having plenty of time to get from A to B. Slips and falls often happen simply because people are in too big of a rush to get somewhere. Being in a hurry sometimes causes people to ignore the hazards around them like slippery surfaces and moving cars.

Another safety tip is to remove the snow from the bottoms of your shoes before you enter a building. Many buildings have hard surfaces that become quite slippery when wet, and if the snow doesn’t melt off immediately, your shoes can remain slippery longer than you anticipate.

Handrails are all around us, but most people aren’t accustomed to using them. We suggest that you keep an eye out for these handrails especially when going up or down stairs. You can also use handrails when you are boarding public transportation, going in and out of buildings and going up and down ramps.

You’ve probably seen them before, but you can buy attachments for the bottoms of your shoes in most stores nowadays. They can usually be bought for under $10 and save you a lot of slipping and sliding, especially if you have a long hill to climb. One of the scariest feelings is walking down a hill and suddenly your feet begin to slide and there’s nothing you can do to stop your forward progress! These  traction devices can help prevent that and other winter accidents from happening.

Remember to slow down during winter travel. This not only applies to driving on wintry roads, but also to every-day walking. Taking that extra long step, or changing directions too quickly or simply not paying attention to the details of the side-walk in front of you can all result in slips and falls.

BE SEEN

One way to increase is your safety this winter is to be seen better. You can accomplish this by wearing brighter colors when you have to go out at night. There is winter wear you can buy that have reflective strips on them that will greatly increase your visibility.

When approaching a cross walk, wait an extra second or two just to make sure that no cars are sliding to a “stop”. Cars often slide through stop signs and red lights during the winter. Cars need more time to slow down and stop so try to use the orange crossing flags when possible and never jaywalk.

Sometimes, slipping on ice is unavoidable. You may have just been in the wrong place at the wrong time type of thing. If you do experience a fall, try to fall as limply as possible and avoid trying to break your fall with your hands. Take your time getting back up, don’t worry about being embarrassed because it literally happens to everyone, and if you are in need of medical attention be sure to call to avoid further injury to your neck, spine or other body parts. Just remember to be safe and be seen!

Beaches Health Group wishes you a joyous and safe holiday season and a happy New Year!

HOW TO KEEP YOUR NEW YEAR’S HEALTH RESOLUTION

Image courtesy of www.michaelnewnham.com

Image courtesy of www.michaelnewnham.com

Are you one of the many people that have made a New Year’s resolution? If you have, good for you! According to one study, less than 50% of people will begin the new year with a promise or resolve [source].

Many of today’s popular resolutions have to do with fitness in one way or another such as getting in shape, losing weight and stressing less. Your health is one of the most important aspects of your life, which is why so many resolutions involve taking better care of one’s body this year.

But, as we all know, it’s much easier said than done – especially resolutions that are conceived on New Year’s Eve and expected to last the next 365 days! Unfortunately, less than half of all New Year’s resolutions are kept after 6 months.

So to help you keep on target, Beaches Health Group wants to give you some simple tips that will help keep your fitness resolution alive and well all year long!

PLAN AHEAD!

Every week, hold a planning session and get everything squared away for the upcoming week. Set your morning alarms, decide what time you are going to go to bed, and organize your time as best you can.

DECIDE NOW

Decide now how you are going to deal with temptations such as skipping exercise class, sleep in, or smoke one more cigarette. According to some people, using positive thinking techniques and talking to yourself can help you when you face that decision to keep or break your New Year’s resolution! Call a friend!

GO SOCIAL

If you are really committed, share your resolution with others. It can help give you an added sense of accountability because others know about your goal! This can also be encouraging since your friends will likely check up on you occasionally to see how you’re doing and offer you encouragement!

In addition to sharing your goal with others, consider joining websites like Pinterest and MeetUp where you can socialize with other people who share similar interests as you.

REWARD YOURSELF

Set benchmarks so that you are rewarded for your strong resolve! Be careful not to contradict your resolution with the reward! For example, if your resolution is to stop drinking alcohol, don’t plan a karaoke night at your favorite bar with your friends.

TRACK YOUR PROGRESS

Focus one week at a time and take time to look back and relish what you have accomplished! If you can keep your resolution for 3 weeks, then you can keep it for an entire year. Don’t get overwhelmed by the thought of keeping your resolutions for the entire year. You can accomplish your resolution by focusing your efforts one week at a time.

REMIND YOURSELF OF THE BENEFITS

If you have put a lot of thought into your resolution, then this should already be at the forefront of your mind. You must know the advantages of keeping your resolution and be keenly aware of how your life will be better by staying true to your New Year’s promise!

MY HEALTH GOAL PROGRAM

Beaches Health Group offers a My Health Goal Program that can help you keep your health resolution.  We start off with an assessment and then design a custom plan to help you reach your goals. This program gives you the opportunity to be accountable and will help you keep your health and fitness goals for 2013.

DON’T GIVE UP

If you start slacking or revert back to your old bad habits, then don’t give up altogether! Treat it as a temporary setback and nothing more. Give yourself another chance to succeed.

METABOLISM BOOSTERS & FAT BUSTERS!

Is it easy for you to gain weight?  Do you skip meals because you’re not hungry, or feel like you’ll gain five pounds just looking at a brownie?  Well then, pay attention because this article is chalked full up useful tips that will help you to increase your metabolic capabilities. 

What exactly is metabolism? 

The simplest definition is the amount of energy (a.k.a. calories) your body burns at rest.  Obviously burning more calories at rest would make it much easier to maintain a healthy body weight

Three common mistakes people make that add up for a metabolic disaster:   

Skipping meals and not eating enough food:  The reason for this being that food stimulates the metabolism, while fasting signals the body to conserve stores of fats and carbohydrates.  Be sure to eat small meals every 2.5-4 hours to avoid this from happening.
Being a couch potatoe:  Instead of watching TV, take a power walk or take up strength training!  Moving is essential (not to mention, a great stress relief) when trying to keep your metabolism happy.  Did you know that each pound of muscle burns an additional 50-100 calories each and every day?!!  Do yourself a favour and get a certified trainer to show you the best way to workout in order to maximize time and get the best results.
Not getting enough vitamins and minerals:  This is especially true for B vitamins because they help with the metabolism of carbs, fats, protein, and also with energy production.  Being vitamin deficient slows down the metabolism, and will leave the body feeling weak and fatigued.  Eating an abundance of natural foods is a necessary step to take.  Emphasize whole grains, nuts, seeds, fruits, vegetables, beans/lentils, and lean meats.  Also supplement with a high quality multi-vitamin.

Foods that rev up the metabolism: 

Spice it up:  When using ingredients such as hot peppers, Cayenne pepper, and mustards, you increase your metabolism.  The active ingredient, capsaicin, raises the bodies metabolic rate for up to 3 hours after consumption by as much as 40%.  Use mustard instead of mayo; add hot peppers to lunches, add hot chili peppers and cayenne peppers to rice, pastas, meats, soups, eggs.  Use 1/8 tsp. of cayenne or red pepper daily for maximum effects
Eat citrus fruits & berries: Oranges, grapefruit, tangerines, lemons, strawberries, and limes contain high concentration of Vitamin C.  Vitamin C reduces fat content and can liquefy or dilute fat, making it easier to flush out of your system.  Vitamin C also stimulates the production of carnitine, a metabolism-boosting amino acid.  Half of a grapefruit before meals reduces appetite.  Try squeezing fresh lemon or lime into drinking water or herbal tea as well.
Love the soy:  Soybeans contain lecithin, a lipid which composes cell membranes and shields your cells from accumulating fat.  Soybeans can be consumed three or more times per week as whole roasted beans, as tofu, tempeh or as milk.  Lecithin granules can also be purchased at the health food store and sprinkled over food or tossed into smoothies.
Munch on apples, berries, and fresh fruit:  Apples contain a fiber called pectin.  Pectin is found in the cell wall of most fruits, especially apples.  It limits the amount of fat your cells can absorb.  Pectin absorbs watery substances, and these watery substances in turn bombard cells forcing them to release fat deposits.  Add applesauce, apples, fresh fruit and berries to your diet!
Sip on apple cider vinegar:  Research suggests that apple cider not only increases the body’s metabolic rate, but also acts as an appetite suppressant, reduces water retention, aids in digestion, and helps to balance blood sugar (especially when taken with a meal).  Take 2 tsp in a small glass of room temperature water with each meal.
Grind up that Flax:  Flax seeds contain 5 g of soluble fiber per tbsp and is an ideal source of alpha-linolenic acid, a fatty acid essential for efficient metabolism.  Aim for about 3 tbsp of flaxseed daily.  Add ground flaxseed to cereals, oatmeal, salads, baked goods, or practically any dish.  Purchase whole and grind yourself…I use a coffee grinder, which works splendidly.
Seaweed/Seafood:  Iodine helps to metabolize excess fat and is needed for a healthy thyroid gland
Green Tea:  The caffeine in green tea stimulates metabolism.  Limit to 3 servings/day.
Fiber:  Remember to eat fiber rich foods: beans, lentils apples, oatmeal, quinoa, avocados, beet greens, cooked cabbage, blueberries, raspberries, cooked spinach, sweet potato, brown rice, almonds, seeds.  Fiber-rich foods provide bulk in your stomach, which will suppress your appetite and make you feel fully and more satisfied.
WATER, WATER, WATER:  Even mild dehydration will slow down metabolism as much as 3%:  Basal metabolic rate is 30% higher for 40 minutes after consuming 16 oz of water…so drink it for goodness sake!  You would also be wise to get your water tested and take measures to ensure your water is purified using a carbon block filter or reverse osmosis filter.

As you can see, there are so many yummy things you can eat that will keep you burning calories all day long. Just remember, there are no miracle pills here, and you cannot, and should not rely on only one food to do the work for you.

Exercising, eating whole foods, drinking lots of water, and taking a high quality multi-vitamin, are key factors in supporting a healthy metabolism.

Yours in Health,

Lora.

Author:  Lora Schneider, in-house personal trainer & nutritionist at beaches health group

10 WAYS TO MAKE THE MOST OF YOUR MASSAGE

A massage is one of the best ways to de-stress, relax and stay healthy. However, in order for you to reap all of the benefits the art of massage therapy has to offer, you have to be prepared for each session by turning off the phone and giving yourself uninterrupted time for relaxation.

Your therapist might very well be the best in town, but the results of your appointment are not in their hands alone. After all, as soon as you arrive to your appointment, you are on your own dime and you want to leave feeling like it was worth every penny. And it will, so long as you are able to relax and feel comfortable the minute your session begins.

To help you make the very most of your massage appointments, we want to share these 10 helpful tips with you.

1. Show up to your appointment on time. Showing up late will cause you stress, you’ll be in a frenzied state, and it will make it that much harder for you to start relaxing and enjoying.

2. Give yourself time to digest your meal. Avoid eating right before your appointment.

3. Give yourself uninterrupted time. Turn off the cell phone and clear your mind from the day’s troubles. Give your full attention to the massage as soon as it begins.

4. Be open and honest with your therapist. If it’s too hot or cold in the room, if you want more privacy, or if they are applying too much pressure for your level of comfort, let them know. Every patient  has different preferences and therapists are usually really good at accommodating for people. Again you’re on your dime!

5. Give them specific areas to work on. If you are experiencing any kind of discomfort whatsoever, open up and voice those concerns even if they don’t make sense to you. The incredible human body is connect in more ways that you might think!

6. Concentrate on their hands. If you find your mind racing and you can’t seem to get it to slow down, one helpful suggestion is to try focusing on the therapist’s hands and their movement.

7. Don’t feel embarrassed. Massage therapists pay no attention to body weight or back hair. As long as you practice good hygiene (shower regularly with good old warm water and soap) nothing else will bother them.

8. Take your time getting up. You may find yourself feeling slightly dizzy or light headed after a massage. Take your time a

9. Drink plenty of water afterwards. Drinking water is always good, but drinking water after a massage is especially good. It helps your body get rid of substances released by the muscles during the massage.

10. Schedule more appointments. The therapeutic effects of massage takes time. The more regular your massage appointments, the better you will feel and the better your body will respond to them.

Schedule a massage appointment today with Beaches Health Group so you can start feeling the power of its cumulative effects. If you have any additional tips, please let us know in the comments below! We always look forward to reading them.

HOME WORKOUT VS GYM WORKOUT

Here at Beaches Health Group, we get asked all the time which is better between working out at home or working out at the gym. While its easier to get a more complete, thorough workout at a gym, working out at home is much more convenient and can be just as effective.

Remember in Rocky IV when Rocky Balboa is preparing to fight the bone-crushing Russian named Drago? While Drago conditions in gyms with VO2 max machines and all the latest and greatest workout equipment, Rocky is working out the old-school way – running in knee-deep snow, shoulder pressing horse carts and doing pull-ups. Needless to say, Rocky’s epic montage of at-home-training worked out pretty well for him in the end.

So, in light of the New Year and its accompanying resolutions to get fit and live healthier, we’d like to share some of the pros and cons of working out at home vs the gym so you can decide which method is right for you.

WORKING OUT AT THE GYM

The benefits of total access to gym equipment, the help of professional trainers and the social aspect of a gym membership make going to the gym ideal. That’s not all a credible gym has to offer though…

Pool
Hot tub
Sauna
Occasional free aerobics/Pilates classes.
The latest exercise equipment – stuff you can’t afford[:)]
No distractions!
The monthly membership motivates you to go.

If working out at the gym sounds like the ideal choice for you, then there are a couple of things worth considering:

Make sure that the gym you attend is close to home. This will make it so much easier to make it to the gym on a regular basis.
Gyms are public places. Wearing appropriate clothing will help you focus more on your workouts and worry less about working out in front of a group of strangers.

WORKING OUT AT HOME

The concept of working out at home is evolving all the time. With the advent of P90X came a whole host of other DVD style workouts including insanity, Zumba, Gillian Michaels 30-Day Shred, CrossFit, Hula-Hooping,  Jump Rope, Cardio Core 4×4. At-home gyms like Bowflex and Total Gym came along and gave people an exciting new reason to quit the gym and begin working out in the  convenience of their own homes, and for good reason too…

Privacy
Convenience – no excuses!
Saves you time
Save you money in the long-term.

If you decide to workout from home, then it’s important that you carefully consider the type of equipment you will buy. Make sure that it’s something that offers workout diversity and is of sufficient quality to last numerous years. Meet with a personal trainer at your local gym or athletic store and discuss with them your fitness needs. They’ll help you find equipment that will help you reach your fitness needs and goals.

Read product reviews. Don’t just take Joe Athlete’s word for it, dig into some online reviews and find out what others like you are saying about the exercise equipment BEFORE you buy.

Most exercise equipment nowadays comes with a instructional DVD that explains the proper way to use the equipment and maximize your workouts. Watch these videos carefully to avoid causing injury to yourself or others. You can always hire a personal trainer for a couple of weeks just to help you get on a good routine.

STAYING COMFORTABLE WHILE TRAVELING

Millions of Americans suffer from chronic back and neck pain, and traveling only seems to intensify the pain. We here at Beaches Health Group know how uncomfortable it can be sitting in a car, airplane or on a bus for long periods of time.

Have you thought to try any of these comfy travel companions? They may not take your discomfort completely away, but they can help you have better posture while resting so that you don’t wake up with a kinked neck or aching back.

SEAT BELT PILLOW

Image courtesy of www.apartmenttherapy.com

Image courtesy of www.apartmenttherapy.com

Have you ever tried using your seat belt as a pillow? How did that work out? Probably not too well. There’s a new product that has been floating around mommy blogs and DIY sites called the seat belt pillow. You can either buy one or save yourself a little money by making your own for only around $5!

For kids, it works great. It helps keep their head more upright when they’re sleeping in the car so that their heads aren’t bobbing and kinking over in awkward positions. It can be used in car seats for little kids or strapped onto a seat belt that goes diagonally across the chest for older kids. If you make your own, you have the convenience of choosing a fabric that provides just the right softness and comfort, with removable covers for washing. The drool has to be washed off sooner or later!

OSTRICH PILLOW

Image courtesy of www.ostrich-pillow.com

Image courtesy of www.ostrich-pillow.com

The Ostrich Pillow might look a little goofy at first, but it’s still ridiculously great. It allows you to take a comfortable power nap just about anywhere – in the office, on the airplane, in the airport, at the library, in the car, on the bus, etc. If you are trying to stave off jet lag and can’t seem to get comfortable because it’s too bright or noisy, then the Ostrich Pillow might be the solution.

Taking a short nap during the day can also boost your learning, your performance and even help with weight loss.

LUMBAR BACK SUPPORT

Image courtesy of www.homesupplies-b2b.com

Image courtesy of www.homesupplies-b2b.com

Products that offer lumbar support can be found everywhere. Many newer cars these days come with lumbar support built into the seat that you can adjust by the push of a button.

But, have you ever actually used one? They are made to be used in a variety of scenarios including traveling, working in the office and for use in the home. This product may not be designed specifically to help you take power naps, but then again, not everyone who travels can take one. If you are behind the wheel, this product can help you feel comfortable longer, making long trips feel a little shorter. These lumbar support products come in lightweight mesh or beads.

Beaches Health Group is a health clinic that offers chiropractic care, massage therapy and personal training in Toronto, Ontario. The above images are not our own.


LUMOBACK – A SMART POSTURE AID

Imagine if your body could speak. What do you think it would tell you?

The people behind LUMOback have been asking themselves this question for years.  Their mission is to help bring better posture to everyone, because according to them, we all need it. So they created a sleek little product that helps your body communicate with you.

The better part of us suffer from poor posture. After all, it is nice to sit back and relax. But while relaxation is good for the body, slouching is not so good, and will make you feel undue body tension in the long run.

We here at Beaches Health Group thought this was a great concept and wanted to share to see what you think. Leave comments below!

Image courtesy of www.mocoloco.com

Image courtesy of www.mocoloco.com

PRODUCT DESCRIPTION

“Stand taller and feel better using the LUMOback posture sensor and mobile app. The sensor provides a gentle vibration when you slouch to remind you to sit or stand straight. It is worn on your lower back and designed to be slim, sleek and so comfortable that you barely feel it when you have it on. The sensor connects wirelessly to an iPhone 5, 4S, new iPad app (3rd and 4th gen), or new iPod touch (5th gen) which tracks all of your movement data (requires iOS6). Your avatar, LUMO, mirrors your daily activities. Anyone can use LUMOback. Its simple and integrates into your daily routine.”

WHAT IT WILL DO

The biggest strength of the LUMOback is it’s ability to help anyone practice good posture through constant, gentle reminders. Such reminders are crucial to breaking bad habits, and poor posture is as common as they come.

Another great thing about this product is that it can go with you just about anywhere. If your phone goes, this product can most likely go too. This means that you can track your posture whether standing, walking or resting. They have accomplished this through a sensor that communicates wirelessly with an smart phone app that tracks and records your body language. At the end of the day, you can evaluate your posture record and find out when you tend to slouch the worst. Therein lies one possible solution to your back and neck tension problems.

WHAT IT WON’T DO

The LUMOback won’t fix your bad back. For example, if your back is out of alignment or if you are suffering from a fall, then what you need is the help of a certified health professional. Beware of the miracle product trap.

While the LUMOback is limited in it’s capabilities and may not be the answer to your back problems, it can be an effective tool in helping you determine what is causing you pain and discomfort. In addition, it can help your back stay healthy and strong by reminding you to maintain good posture after chiropractic care has taken place.

Beaches Health Group is a professional health clinic in Toronto, Ontario. The above image is not our own.