Kayaking can be an excellent form of exercise that’s also fun to do during the summer. As a seemingly low impact activity, it can actually improve your aerobic fitness, strength, flexibility, as well as balance. Along with this, studies have shown that kayaking also leads to stress reduction, as well as an improvement in mental health.
But like any other activity, there are precautions and it is always smart to warm up before exercising.
Take a look at a few of our paddling warm up stretching videos below!
If you have any pain during exercises, or are unsure about what you are doing, please consult your local physiotherapist before continuing.
Let’s face it, getting to the gym or going for your run is not always easy. Life can get in the way and mess with your usual schedule, or there may be some days you are just not feeling up to the task. However, we all know that staying active is important in maintaining a healthy lifestyle. We’ve made a list of ways to stay active throughout the day. These are short tasks and do not take up much time, so for the days you are feeling off or feeling short on time, try these! Or, if you’re having a great active day, use these tips and tricks to increase your activity level over the day:
1. Take the stairs (or climb the elevator if stairs are not easily accessible).
2. Park farther away from the store so you’ll have a longer walk to the entrance (it’s also usually easier to find a parking spot further away from wherever you’re going!).
3. Use a shopping basket instead of a cart at the grocery store (provided of course you are purchasing a reasonable number of items).
4. When you clean, clean vigorously. We all need to deep clean our surroundings every so often, so when the time comes, make the most of it and really put in some work (you will burn a surprising amount of calories just by scrubbing the toilet!)
5. Set an alarm. We all run the risk of getting tied up in work, or a good book, or the Netflix marathon. Set an alarm at regular increments to get up and walk around, or do something else active as a break. Bonus = walking around while studying has actually been shown to improve memory retention of the material studied!
6. Take a walk. Sometimes a proper full workout is just not something you’re up for. That’s okay. Everyone has these days. Instead of a full workout, try going for a walk. It’s low impact. It can last for a short or long time, and the fresh air is always a good idea!
7. Exercise while watching tv. If you have exercise equipment at home, use it! If you don’t, try stretching while you watch television (this is also a great time to work on your exercises from your physio!). Again, this is a low impact option that can help break up the monotony of just sitting while staring at the screen.
8. If you are needing to pick up only a few items, walk or bike to the store instead of driving.
9. When at the mall or grocery store, take an extra few laps around the store before you start shopping.
10. If you’ve been considering getting a dog, get one! Taking pets for walks is an excellent way to keep your activity level up, and your four-legged friend will love you for it.
11. Play with your kids. If you have kids, or nieces or nephews, join in on their games. Chances are they’ll keep you on your toes and you’ll both get some good laughs.
12. Before you shower, do 10 squats, 10 lunges, 10 pushups and hold a plank for 10 seconds. This mini workout will help you wake up in the morning and get your blood flowing for the day ahead.
13. If you’re not feeling the gym, try doing an exercise video at home. You’ll save time staying at home and there are many fitness apps and videos with varying lengths of time, so you can find one for exactly how much time you have.
Nobody can escape stress 100% of the time, (and if you’ve figured out to do this, please share your magical secrets!). It is something that can get the better of us sometimes, and can have a negative effect on our health and well-being. Stress can increase the release of cortisol which can increase the risk of cardiac issues. It can toil with our emotional well-being making us more irritable or reactive to something that would otherwise not bother us. Stress is a sneaky devil that can creep up on us. It is important to learn to manage our stress to try to decrease these negative effects that it can have on our bodies and minds.
Smart phones have gotten a bad reputation over the past few years due to the tendency of those who use them to fall into patterns of poor posture. However, although “text neck” has certainly become a thing, smart phones (and web programs) can also help in your pursuit of better health and fitness. Here are some apps we like to use to promote a healthy and physically active lifestyle:
1. My Fitness Pal
My Fitness Pal is a free app with an online food tracker journal. You can use this on the web or on your phone. Input foods and exercise and it will automatically calculate calories in/out as well as give you a breakdown of what you are in eating in terms of carbs, proteins, fats, fibre, and various vitamins and minerals. You can set goals for calorie intake and exercise. If you are a visual person, the graphs and tables will definitely help. You can also scan barcodes on food labels for easy input on your phone and import online recipes. My Fitness Pal has a huge database of foods already so this app tends to be simple, easy-to-use and very user friendly. Premium version is available if you want a more detailed overview of your habbits.
2. Nutrition Tips
This a fun, free app. It is filled with random nutrition facts that are just good to know. For example, it can tell you which foods are high in certain nutrients, or what the leanest cuts of a certain meat are. You can swipe through these at your leisure. Recommended for anyone keen to learn more about what they are eating.
3. Fit Bit
Fit Bits have been taking over recently in the health and fitness industry. A number of our staff have purchased them and have been very happy with what it delivers. There is an app to go along with the sweet wristband. It gives you a breakdown of your daily activity and your sleep patterns. It can also log your food intake and water consumption. You will need to purchase a Fit Bit wristband, but this is a nice option for those who want an all-in-one personalized app. You can also upgrade the app to a premium experience for an additional charge.
The Strava app has various options, starting at “free.” It is a favourite of cycling and running enthusiasts because it can track and save your routes, and also allows you to compare your progress with others segment by segment. In other words, you can see how you stack up against other runners or cyclists on a particular stretch of road or a particular section of a route. Strava is also compatible with a wide variety of heart rate monitors and GPS devices including Garmin, TomTom, Polar, Suunto and Timex. This gives users some control over their experience as they can customize the experience to their preferred device.
Runkeeper is a free, GPS based tracking app. You do not need an additional device to use Runkeeper, but you will need to be in an area that is open enough to access GPS capabilities on your phone. Runkeeper uses the GPS to track your overall distance, your route, your pace and overall time of a workout. You can set Runkeeper to “walk” or “run” and save your workouts. The other thing that’s nice about Runkeeper is that it has the option to set an auditory cue for tracking. So, if you don’t want to have to keep looking at your phone during a workout, Runkeeper announce at regular increments (every 5 minutes) what your time is at, your overall distance and your average pace.
6. Nike Training Club
If you’re looking for some new exercise ideas, check out the Nike Training Club app. Nike Training Club offers free guided workout videos ranging from beginner workouts up to seasoned veteran. They also offer four-week training programs for all levels. Timing is also included for workouts, so this can be a great option for those whose schedules are time-restricted. Use the app to find a workout that fits the amount of time you have to optimize your training time.
7. Charity Miles
Charity Miles allows you to run for a good cause! What an excellent idea. If you’re looking for that extra motivation to get your running shoes on and get going, this is it. With each mile you complete, a corporate sponsor will make a donation to a cause of your choice. Each mile may only be worth a few cents, but when many people get on board with Charity Miles, these little bits will add up quickly and really make a difference for somebody!
Of course, there are many more apps out there. Why not try a few out to see if there is one you enjoy using? Tracking or logging your workouts and food can help you to see your progress, especially on those days you’re feeling like maybe you didn’t get as much done as you would have liked to. They can be a really excellent tool to use in conjunction with a great team of healthcare professionals (like your physiotherapist or registered massage therapist!) in achieving your health and fitness goals.
Sleep is a vital part of health and wellness, but it is also something that seems to keep slipping from our increasingly busy lives. Getting enough good quality sleep is important in allowing the body to grow and recover from daily stressors as well as illness and disease. Chronic lack of sleep can lead to more than just fatigue during the day. It may be the root cause of a number of issues, including the following:
One of the best ways to stay healthy is to constantly analyze any signs that our body is giving us. Humans have a huge amount of feedback from their body, but there are a few symptoms that no one should ever ignore. Here is a closer look at a handful of warning signs that might indicate a serious medical issue is taking place.
A headache could be nothing more than a pinched nerve or dehydration, but any severe headache that comes on quickly requires immediate action. This type of discomfort could be the result of any number of medical issues that are taking place such as a burst blood vessel. The most severe headaches will generally peak in terms of pain within just a few minutes and can last for five minutes or longer.
Unexplained Weight Loss
Those that are not trying to lose weight and do not have a history of fluctuating weight should understand that weight loss could be a sign of trouble. For the average individual, gaining or losing more than a pound of weight per week will put an incredible amount of strain on the body. In terms of losing weight, it may be nothing more than digestive issues, but sudden weight loss could also indicate a much more severe problem such has a tumor or failing organ.
Chest pain is one warning sign that no one should ever ignore no matter their age or their overall health. Chest pain will often manifest itself as either a dull throb or a sharp pain through the center of the chest, both of which can be a precursor to a heart attack. When the heart is having difficulty pumping blood it will also affect other parts of the body. Those with a troublesome heart rate will often notice pain around their shoulders and up through their jaw.
Sharp Abdominal Pain
The abdomen is home to a number of organs, and this means that any severe pain that has come about for no clear reason should result in an immediate trip to the hospital. If there are medical problems such as an infection in one of the organs, there may be secondary signs to keep an eye out for as well. This includes blood in one’s stool, dizziness, and a change in one’s appetite over a long period of time.
Burning Sensation on Hands and Feet
When appendages are not receiving enough blood it will cause a tingling or burning sensation as the nerves send the brain erratic feedback. If this lasts for more than a few moments or happens often, however, a patient should schedule an appointment with their doctor. When left untreated, chronic circulation issues could permanently damage nerve cells around the hands and feet.
The human body is extremely complex, and this includes its ability to give us warning signs when serious medical issues are beginning to take place.
Moderate physical activity is a must for those trying to lose weight. Walking is one of the easiest and most economical ways to do so. It is no wonder then, that it is one of the most preferred forms of exercises among people of all age groups. It is imperative for any form of exercise that is chosen in order to lose weight to be performed on a regular basis. It is for this reason that doctors and nutritionists highly recommend walking as a form of exercise as it can not only be a year round activity, but can also fit effortlessly into everyday life. A few other of the walking health benefits are given below.
Top 10 Health Benefits Of Walking:
1. Healthy Body: Walking daily can lift your mood and will make you physically strong. Just walk for half an hour a day and you can feel the difference yourself. Walking is the easiest way to have a healthy mind and body. It is a kind of aerobic fitness which is easy to do and provides many benefits.
2. Weight Control: Walking helps in keeping weight under control when followed by good and healthy diet. Scientists also say that even without changing diet habits, losing weight is possible if you’re walking for at least 45 minutes daily. Walking elevates heart rate and burns some calories which help in maintaining healthy weight. So, if you want to maintain your weight then do walk for at least 30-40 minutes daily and you’ll see the results soon.
3. Beat Breast Cancer: Walking for health atleast 45 minutes daily is also beneficial for breast cancer patients. Scientists say that people, who do exercise like walking every day, survive more than inactive people. Walking regularly also reduces woman’s risk of developing breast cancer. Walking alters the ratio of estrogen metabolites and makes it harder for breast cancer to take hold and that is why, it is really beneficial for ladies suffering from breast cancer.
4. Fight Diabetes: If you’re a diabetic patient and want to keep it under control, then walking can help you. Walking keeps your weight under control – which is the major cause of diabetes. Walking also involves utilization of more insulin, which improves blood sugar levels and thus it eventually helps in keeping diabetes under control and also reduces the risk of getting it. So, if you are a diabetic patient and want to control diabetics then walking can be a great and easy remedy for you. Moreover, if you’re not a diabetic patient then walking will reduce the risk of suffering from diabetes.
5. Healthy Heart: Walking is the easiest physical exercise and studies show that walking daily for 30-45 minutes can help in preventing heart diseases. Walking increases heart rate and strengthens heart which increases blood circulation through body and helps in making your heart healthy. Walking also lowers cholesterol levels which ultimately help in decreasing the risk of cardiovascular diseases. So, to maintain a healthy heart you need to start doing physical activity like walking regularly.
6. Live Long: Scientist says that walking can prevent and delay osteoarthritis which is an age related condition and thus, it can add years to your life. It is also believed that walking 30 minutes can extend our life by 1.4 years. Amazing, right? Walking also prevents diseases which eventually gives us healthy and long life.
7. Prevents Miscarriage: This may sound a bit surprising but it’s true, walking during pregnancy reduces fatigue and related pains which reduces the risks of gestational diabetes. Walking also lowers hormonal fluctuations which cause uterine contractions and this helps in protecting against miscarriage. So, if you want to protect yourself from miscarriage then start indulging in physical fitness like walking which is easy to do.
8. Prevents Dementia: According to scientific studies, walking regularly can prevent dementia, which is a disease affecting brain function, memory, language and attention of human beings. Dementia is a very common problem especially for people above 65 years of age and thus walking regularly reduces the risk of dementia by up to 54 per cent.
9. Tones Body: Who doesn’t want a toned body? Walking regularly can help you in achieving toned legs, bum and tummy. Walking can give definitions to calves, quads and buttock muscles. You can also tone your abs with just walking, but for this, you need to take care of your walking posture too. Start walking religiously daily for at least 30 minutes from today only get toned body.
10. Provides Energy: Walking regularly provides energy to the body. This increases the blood circulation and oxygen supply. Walking is also considered an effective antidepressant which helps in dealing with depression. You can walk with your friends in group and chit-chat while walking. Isn’t it a great way to start a day? So, reduce your stress and anxiety by enjoying your walk with your friends.
Aging is usually linked with a gradual loss of muscle strength and muscle mass, causing fragility, falls, functional decline, and a general feeling of weakness and loss of function for life’s tasks and enjoyments. A recent study evaluated whether masters competition athletes who engage in high levels of regular exercise also lose muscle mass and strength as they get older. The question for this study was whether the decline in muscle mass is inevitable with age, or was it a consequence of a sedentary less active lifestyle? Perhaps muscles waste away if they are not used in old age?
Many previous research studies had showed that most people over 40 years of age, generally lose about 8% or more of their muscle mass every 10 years. The rate of muscle loss increases to about 15% after the age of 70 years. Losing muscle mass generally leads to a decline in strength, accidents, mobility and eventually loss of independence.
Loss of Calcium from bones also occurs with age and exercise helps to delay this loss as well.
The combined effect of weakened muscles and bones is an increased rate of falls and bone breakages.
There is growing evidence that master athletes, many of whom train four to five times every week, may not show the same loss of total lean muscle mass and loss of strength compared to those who live a more sedentary lifestyle.
Master athletes and those who work out at the gym continue to maintain a good quality of life and their functional capacity throughout their lives as the get older.
It is an assumption that growing old leads to an inevitable decline from vitality and activity to frailty and a sedentary lifestyle.
This includes feeling generally weak, and unsteady, lacking self-confidence, loss of function and often the loss of independence.
These losses may be more related to lifestyle choices, including lack of exercises, sedentary living, depression and poor nutrition, than the loss of muscle and bone through the aging processes.
Studying master athletes may show whether muscle decline is inevitable as people get older, or is it a simple consequence of people becoming less active as they get older.
Perhaps regular exercise may help to preserve both muscle mass and strength. If you don’t use it you lose it!
You know that feeling that sets in every day at about 3:00 p.m.? The groggy, let’s shuffle through the rest of the workday feeling? Turns out you don’t need a third cup of coffee or diet soda to nix it; just check out these four energy boosters.
Your Comfy Desk Chair
The Reason: Ever wondered why sitting in your car then transitioning to sitting down in your office chair can feel so utterly exhausting? Sitting for long periods of time puts your body into idle mode. Your lack of movement makes circulation sluggish and lowers the amount of oxygen flowing to your brain. Cue the onslaught of yawns.
The Solution: Go for a walk. Studies show getting up and moving can boost energy for up to two hours. Walking is the simplest, most natural form of exercise. Taking brisk, 10-minute walks a day helps increase circulation, lower blood pressure, and instantly perk you up. Getting out in the sunlight also boosts your serotonin levels so you come back to your work refreshed, more productive and even more creative.
Your Messy Desk Space
The Reason: The reason you feel too zapped to clean up your cluttered desk or office home? The mess itself. Not only is there literally less space to do your work, create your art, make a magical spreadsheet, etc., but all the stuff is staring at you, reminding you of the hundred other things you have to do. Your clouded brain isn’t able to be fully present to the work at hand. Looking for your notes from that one meeting or your favorite pen wastes time and tires you out before you’ve even started.
The Solution: You’ve heard that the bedroom should be reserved for two activities: sleep and sex. Well, your desk should be reserved for current work projects and the tools that facilitate that. This means your computer, materials relating to your current project, a few writing utensils, and a small amount of office supplies like a notepad, a stapler, scissors, tape and paper clips (unless you have room for those in a desk drawer) can stay. Everything else is having a judgment day.
The Reason: This meal can make or break your energy reserve for the rest of the day. If it’s way too large (like Sunday-brunch status) you’ll be left feeling sluggish, and if you forget to eat it in the first place, your metabolism will never get that wake-up call.
The Solution: For a winning breakfast to fuel your energy, follow the 1, 2, 3 rule. The breakfast must have:
- Whole grains, which provide high-quality carbs for the brain during the morning hours.
- A little protein to keep you satiated and maintain your blood sugar level throughout the morning.
- One or two colorful fruits and vegetables.
Try a bowl of whole-grain cereal with low-fat milk and a handful of berries on top with a side of sliced watermelon, or make a smoothie with fruit, soymilk and wheat germ.
The Reason: You may not feel like you’re walking through the Sahara, but there’s a good chance you’re mildly dehydrated right now, and even mild dehydration makes you feel sleepy and sluggish. Many of us walk around dehydrated without realizing it. Dehydrated bodies trap toxins and encourage water retention — a natural defense against the chronic drought. Remember, your body is about 60 percent water, and there’s no way it can function at its optimal level during a drought.
The Solution: Next time you’re feeling drowsy, chug a glass of cold water for an instant fix. Then, take a look at how much water you’ve been drinking. You should aim to drink half your body weight in ounces of water every day. If you weigh 150 pounds, that’s 75 ounces of water (about 9 cups). If you want something more pleasing to your palate, snack on watermelon, which is about 91 percent water.