Active Living means that you find ways to be physically active every day. Examples are taking the stairs at work or turning off the TV and going for a walk outdoors or going dancing. There are many reasons why active living is a good idea for you and your family. It’s fun to be active together as a family and with friends. Kids who are active keep busy out of school and learn better in school. Living an active lifestyle is a good way to meet new people, while making choices that will help keep your body healthy. Click on the links below for some healthy living tips:
Active Living can be done in your house while cleaning, in you yard, and even while you are shopping. Click on the links below for some healthy living tips at home:
You can incorporate active living into shopping, every step and bend counts towards a healthier body! Try mall walking. Mall walking is a great way to safely get your daily walk in. You won’t need to worry about cold weather, icy patches, or wind ruining your walk! Take a friend with you for company, and remember every step counts!
Create a new morning routine. Start your day with 10 minutes of cleaning. Some stretching and activity first thing in the morning can be better than caffeine. Sweeping, dusting, and vacuuming can be a great way to increase your heart rate, and you will have the benefits of a sparkling house! There are also a few things that you can do to make your chores a little easier on your body, like standing on a telephone book while washing and drying dishes. This provides extra cushioning and makes standing easier on your back. Try to start with as little as ten minutes, and gradually add minutes until you reach half an hour.
Don’t forget to stretch after you clean. Here are a few tips:
- Hold your stretches 8 to 20 seconds. The less flexible you are, the longer you will need to stretch the muscle.
- Never ever bounce. Bouncing is for balls. For people, it can result in injuries.
- Relax and breathe deeply as you stretch. Concentrate and focus. Some people like to close their eyes. Be sure that you feel the stretch where you’re supposed to feel it. It should never hurt.
- Give priority to the muscles you used the most in your cleaning.
Anyone who has a child knows that keeping up with them requires physical fitness! There are a few things that you can do to make this job a little easier:
- Try to get half an hour to an hour of aerobic exercise daily
- Try strength training activities such as bicep curls and squats
- Include your children, by trying a mom and me yoga class
If you keep yourself fit, you will find that you do not have to catch your breath as often in a game of tag, or have trouble scooping your child up into your arms. Remember to include your children in your physical activity, not only are you benefiting from it, your children are seeing a great role model.
There are multiple ways to spend time outside and get physical activity around the home. Here are a few ideas:
- Shovelling snow
- Raking leaves
- Planting flowers
- Pushing the lawn mower
- Painting the deck or garden shed
Energy from the sun sustains all life on earth. However, some forms of sun energy can be harmful to life. This includes the sun’s burning or ultraviolet (UV) rays, the rays that can cause sunburn and skin cancer. The earth’s ozone layer, a thin veil of gas high in the earth’s atmosphere, acts as our planet’s sunscreen. In the past few years, the ozone layer has become slightly thinner than it used to be. This means more of the sun’s UV rays can now reach the earth’s surface. Ultraviolet is a natural part of the sun’s rays, it has always been with us. We should have always been careful about spending too much time in the sun, even before any loss in the earth’s ozone layer. Sunburns are not the only consequence of too much sun. Over time, too many UV rays and repeated sunburns can cause:
- Skin cancer
- Premature aging of the skin
- Weakening of the immune system, which reduces the body’s ability to fight diseases such as cancer Eye cataracts that could lead to blindness
So remember that in both the summer and winter, you need to apply sunscreen to you and your whole family before heading outdoors.
At the Office
Staying active and healthy in your workplace may be easier than you think. Things like talking a walk on your lunch hour, using the stairs instead of the elevator, and walking to the next office rather than sending an e-mail can help increase your physical activity in a day. Click on the links below to learn about how your frame of mind and workplace ergonomics can also help.
Frame of Mind
It can often be difficult to find the time to relax and allow the tensions of the day to evaporate away. Try some simple breathing exercises and stretches during the work day. You can also benefit from positive visualization.
The way to breathe in order for one to really get the full benefit of each breath is to practice ‘belly breathing’. We have been taught to breathe through the mouth deeply and raise one’s shoulders as we do so. However the more effective method would be to breathe in deeply first through your nose. As you do so, feel your belly rising as your shoulders remain as they are. Hold your breath for a count of 5, and then breathe out through your mouth. As you do so, your belly retracts. In this method of breathing, more oxygen enters the lungs and would thus put us in a more relaxed frame of mind. Although ideally done lying down, it can be done standing and sitting as well.
Close your eyes breathe deeply and imagine yourself in your favorite place. Places that make you feel feelings of true joy; it could be the beach, your usual food centre, friends meeting place or just a quiet spot in your neighborhood. Pretend that you’re there at that point in time, seeing your favorite things, smelling the smells, hearing the sounds associated with the place. Do this for about 10 minutes. After which, open your eyes. You should feel a whole lot better.
Spend about 5 minutes doing some simple stretching activity. First, rotate your head from the right, all the way to the back, to the left, down and then back. Do it very slowly and feel the stretch in your neck. Second, shrug your shoulders all the way up; pretend that you are trying to make it touch your ears. Hold the stretch for a few seconds and relax. Next, rotate your wrist in one direction slowly. Do about 10 rotations then rotate the other direction. Last, rotate the left ankle slowly about 10 rotations. Repeat with the right ankle. These stretching should stimulate blood flow throughout your body, making you feel more refreshed and relaxed.
The healthy body can only tolerate staying in one position for about 20 minutes. That is why sitting on an airplane, at a desk in an office chair, or at a movie theatre becomes uncomfortable after a short time. Standing in one place, such as standing on a concrete floor at an assembly line for extended periods of time tends to cause back pain. Holding the same position slowly diminishes elasticity in the soft tissues (muscles ligaments and tendons in the back). Then, stress builds up and causes back discomfort and/or leg discomfort.
The solution is simple. Whether you’re Posture is very important both at home and on the job. Back-friendly posture is a valuable component of preventing or managing back pain while performing any activity. Incorrect posture while standing for long periods of time, sitting in an office chair, and driving are all common causes of back pain.
Maintaining the natural curve of the spine when standing promotes “good posture”. So what does that mean? The human spine looks a little bit like an S from the side, and maintaining those two curves is important.
- Keep your head directly over the shoulders (i.e. “chest out, head back”)
- Keep the shoulders directly over the pelvis
- Tighten the core abdominal muscles
- Tuck in the buttocks
- Place the feet slightly apart, with one foot positioned slightly in front of the other and knees bent just a little bit (i.e., not locked)
If this posture is new it may feel strange at first, but after awhile it will feel natural. If it feels too weak or tiring, use light weights or elastic bands to work the muscles between the shoulder blades (e.g. rhomboids and middle trapezius). It will quickly get easier. If standing on a concrete floor is required at work, it is best to wear shoes with good support and cushioning. A rubber mat placed on the concrete floor will ease pressure on the back and enhance the favorable ergonomic conditions. Use a railing or box to prop one foot up while standing to help take pressure off the back. This standing position takes some practice.
Remember to change feet and positions every 20 minutes
Stress is becoming a major health and safety issue. When stress is continuous, when pressures are intense it can cause physical illness and psychological distress. When work is too fast, too heavy, or too unpleasant, stress can occur. And whether stress is caused by physical factors, such as excessive noise or emotional factors such as the pace of work, the results are the same. When stress becomes chronic, the stress responses of elevated blood pressure, cholesterol, adrenal and blood sugar can lead to heart disease and other chronic diseases.
There are many ways to relieve stress in the workplace. One simple way to quickly relieve stress is a breathing exercise. Breathing Exercises: The way to breathe in order for one to really get the full benefit of each breath is to practice ‘belly breathing’. We have been taught to breathe through the mouth deeply and raise one’s shoulders as we do so. However, the more effective method would be to breathe in deeply first through your nose. As you do so, feel your belly rising as your shoulders remain as they are. Hold your breath for a count of 5, and then breathe out through your mouth. As you do so, your belly retracts. In this method of breathing, more oxygen enters the lungs and would thus put us in a more relaxed frame of mind. Although ideally done lying down, it can be done standing and sitting as well.
It is very important to maintain activity while traveling. It is important to stretch out your legs and walk around to keep the blood flowing in your legs. Click on the Links below for tips on car travel and air travel.
Even healthy people can get blood clots in their legs after long flights. Try to walk every now and then during your flight (unless the crew tells you not to). It also helps to drink water, stretch your calf muscles while you’re sitting and wear support stockings. Tips to help relieve jet lag:
- Get plenty of sleep before you leave
- Don’t drink a lot of alcohol
- Eat well-balanced meals
- Avoid overeating
- Exercise as much as you can on your trip
- Get used to a new time zone by going along with the local meal and bedtime schedules.
On long distance road trips it is important to stop every few hours to stretch and walk. It also helps to drink water, stretch your calf muscles while you’re sitting.
Here is a stretch to try while in the car: Make sure that your feet are shoulder width apart and that you are sitting squarely. Place the ball of one of your feet on the edge of the seat in front of you. With the ball of your foot on the edge of the seat, position your lower leg in a manner that the heel of your foot is touching the ground. By changing the angle of the ankle (bringing the foot closer to you or away) you will begin to perceive a stretch in the calf region.
Hold this stretch for 60 seconds switch legs and repeat 3 times per leg.
Sleep is something we all need. One third of our lives is spent sleeping. When we don’t get enough sleep, our productivity and behavior are affected. This impacts the quality of work we do, and the quality of our family and personal life at home. It affects our ability to get along and network with others, which is considerably diminished if we are “grouchy” from lack of sleep. Sleep also plays an important role in our personal health. Lack of sleep is associated with increased risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes, obesity and depression. An estimated 3.3 million Canadians have problems going to sleep, and are considered to have insomnia.
Here are a few tips to help you get the sleep you need:
- Maintain a regular bedtime and wake schedule. This will keep your biological clock stable by going to bed and waking up at the same time every day.
- Establish a regular, relaxing bedtime routine. A sleep ritual provides a signal to your body that it is time to sleep.
Create an environment conducive to sleeping. A dark, quiet, comfortable room helps establish conditions that encourage sleep.
- Limit caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol. Caffeine and nicotine are stimulants that can remain in the body up to 12 hours. Alcohol can also disrupt deep sleep, causing multiple night-time awakenings.
A Healthy Approach
Taking care of your health is a lifestyle. There is no quick fix, or easy way to maintain a healthy body. The only way to maintain your health is to eat well, and exercise. Once you have mastered that you can help influence others to make the same healthy choices. Click the link below for a few tips on how to positively influence your community.
eing active in your community can really influence the health of others. Things like organizing a baseball tournament or volunteering to referee a local soccer match can help your community remain active. Many parents can positively influence the children in their community by volunteering to help coach school teams, or provide transportation for team to tournaments.