4 Ways to Beat the Winter Blues

4 Ways to Beat the Winter Blues

4 Ways to Beat the Winter Blues There’s a lot that can challenge us during the winter. We go to – and leave – work in the dark. We have to deal with ice on our windshields. Putting twenty layers just to go outside is annoying. So how can you stay inspired and motivated throughout the cold, dark months? Here are 4 ways to beat the winter blues. 1. Find something to be inspired about, and make time to do it! When you’re inspired by something, you’re brimming with energy and life. Suddenly you don’t need an alarm clock to wake up, no matter how dark it is outside. When you’re inspired, you don’t need to be told what to do at work; you’re already thinking of ways to make your work even better. Or maybe you’re inspired when you’re learning something new. Whatever it happens to be, make the time to do it and you’ll beat the winter blues. 2. Don’t ignore your health. Fight to stay balanced. Winter makes it easy to ignore your health. You want to stay inside. Maybe you’ll have a little more to drink or eat. Maybe you find yourself tucking away to read a book, go online, play video games or watch movies. Maybe you order in more. These are all fine in moderation. But poor hydration, lack of exercise, and large amounts of insulin in the body (primarily from over-consumption of carbohydrates) will  leave you riding the motivation roller coaster – where the ups and downs can kill self-esteem, lead to depression, and create a whole new vicious cycle of negative thoughts and...
Kids & Sports – and the Importance of Stretching for Children

Kids & Sports – and the Importance of Stretching for Children

Is there anything that beats a child’s passion to learn a new sport? It’s a thrill! But sports have an impact on their growing bodies, and the importance of stretching for children shouldn’t be overlooked. It’s important to teach them how and why to care for their bodies while having fun. This allows them to develop good habits they can take into their active adult lives, be more flexible and avoid injuries. Warm Ups The first thing kids should be taught is that before any sort of physical activity, they need to prepare their body and mind. Body: Their little bodies need the chance to literally “warm up” their muscles before exercising. The best kind way to warm up is known as dynamic stretching – which are active movements of muscle that bring forth a stretch but are not held in the end position. This will increase their heart and respiratory rate, which will boost the amount of nutrients and oxygen being delivered to their muscles. This means the muscles are ready to work – which helps prevent injuries. Dynamic stretches are also very easy to turn into a game – either with a challenge, a slow race, etc. Just remember to put emphasis on the form they keep, and reel them in if they start to go too fast from excitement. Mind: We are always preparing ourselves for specific activities. Think about your routine before heading to work and how important certain aspects of it are in order for you to feel ready to face the day. Or think about how there is a specific routine you follow...
Patient Story: Lower Back Pain Almost Cost Me My Passion

Patient Story: Lower Back Pain Almost Cost Me My Passion

I’ve been playing floor hockey in Calgary at least once a week for the last 6 years. I thought I knew a lot about taking care of my body for that level of activity, but I started experiencing severe lower back pain.  My ignorance almost cost me my passion… I considered myself an healthy 30-year-old. I was always very conscientious of what I ate and how much exercise I was getting, but after being diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at the age of 28, my routine took an even stronger turn towards balanced health. I worked with a nutritionist to tailor my diet to my new blood sugar requirements – and to make sure I was intaking enough calories to support my level of activity. I made sure I was getting enough sleep at night. I made some changes to my work schedule so that I could manage my time without stress. When I started to experience a dull, throbbing lower back pain, I didn’t think much of it. Maybe it was a tweaked muscle; I treated myself with hot/cold therapy. As the weeks went on, however, the pain got worse. The simple act of walking became a chore that had me gritting my teeth. I went to see my doctor, who prescribed me anti-inflammatory medication and a follow up in a week…except I didn’t want to take more pills. As I pulled back into my driveway and realized getting out of the car was going to hurt, I wondered if maybe, despite all of my best efforts, 30 was my breaking point. After all, the diabetes thing was...
Why Active Isolated Stretching is Good for Everyone

Why Active Isolated Stretching is Good for Everyone

A Detailed Look at Active Isolated Stretching Active Isolated Stretching (AIS) trains your body and mind to accept a greater range of motion and flexibility in a safe and controlled manner. It’s often associated to athletes and active people, but AIS has been proven to help inactive people maintain healthy movement too. Unlike traditional stretching where you hold a stretch from anywhere between 10 and 30 seconds, AIS has you going into a stretch that is slightly deeper than what you might feel is comfortable – and holding it for 2 seconds only. This reprograms your body and mind to remember new ranges of motion, while improving your muscle flexibility and strength. Beyond this, AIS techniques are designed to support and work through the whole spectrum of muscles in a particular area – including those responsible for rotating, bending, extending and flexing – so that you don’t focus only on those that are most frequently used. How Active Isolated Stretching Works Your muscles have two basic actions: they can either contract or relax. When your body feels as though a particular movement is going to hurt it, a protective mechanism called the stretch (mytatic) reflex kicks in. This stretch reflex is normally triggered in the muscle at about 3 seconds. It makes sense that only relaxed muscle tissue can stretch to its maximum length, so by holding stretches for under 3 seconds, the muscle’s protective reflex to contract isn’t triggered and it has the chance to stretch to its full length. Repetition of the movement trains the body and mind to accept this new range of motion without signaling...
Winter Running in Calgary

Winter Running in Calgary

There are two kinds of winter runners: the kind who is not intimidated by chilly conditions, and the kind whose attempts to go running are headed off by more important matters, like watching paint dry. Well, it doesn’t really matter whether you’re one or the other because these tips we’ve put together will benefit you regardless. Here’s how to make Winter Running in Calgary a little easier: Know that winter running in Calgary is about maintenance – not speed. Don’t set unreasonable expectations. If you’re dealing with a really cold day, break your usual 6 mile run into two short 3 mile runs so you can avoid getting cold. Really consider what’s on your feet. You want to really invest in a running shoe that has all-weather protection. We suggest a running shoe with a Gore-Tex membrane so that you can enjoy a waterproof yet breathable shoe that keeps your feet dry. You’ll also want something that has a rugged outsole that is equally efficient on the road and trail. Wear socks that wick away wetness but keep your feet warm. You may also want an over-the-ankle cut to bridge any gap between your pant leg and shoe. Think about layers and vents when you’re getting dressed for a cold weather run. The rule of thumb for winter running in Calgary is to dress as if it is 15 degrees warmer. You want be warm, but you don’t want to sweat too much as that may lead to getting the chills. Think layers of technical fabrics to wick sweat – with zippers at the neck and underarm area so...