Archive for exercise

get outside august

Get Outdoors August - nu roots nutrition

Hooray, it’s time for another monthly resolution! If you’ve been following my blog this year, you’ll know that I’ve been taking on one challenge every month as a sort of mini resolution, alternating between lifestyle and nutrition goals in order to continue to my progress towards optimal health. I encourage all my lovely followers (yup, that’s you) to join in the fun, and keep me up to date on your progress.

So I have to apologize as I am a day late (yes, I know this is not the first time). Perhaps one of these months I’ll have to do a post about procrastination, admittedly one of my absolute worst traits…but then again, I could always do that as a challenge next year :P

Some days I can sit inside in front of my computer for hours upon hours and before I know it, the day is over. Other days, I make excuses like “it’s raining” (I use that one a lot in the Netherlands), or “it’s too hot and I’m too pregnant for this heat” (sorry men, this one will not work for you). Well, excuses no more, once I make my resolutions I stick to them! At least for that month…

The challenge: spend a minimum of 60 minutes per day, rain or shine, outdoors doing something for fun. Get out and walk the dog, go for a bike ride, take a walk in the park, sit under a tree and read a book, plant a garden, or do any other fun outdoor activity.

Why you ask? Well first of all because most of us spend more than 90% of our days indoors. Two-thirds of North Americans watch more than 2 hours of TV per day, one of which could easily be swapped out for some good old outdoor fun. And studies show that people are spending less and less time outdoors in parks or forests than in previous years. Besides, spending time out in nature has all kinds of great health benefits!

The Benefits

  • Vitamin D production – Sun exposure on our skin (sans sunscreen) leads to the production of the all important anti-cancer nutrient we should all strive to obtain optimal levels of. Remember there is a difference between RDA’s and optimal nutrient levels.
  • Improved mood, better clarity – Try it, you just feel better when you get outside, no matter how crappy your day was, a little bit of sunshine and fresh air can go a long way to lighten your mood. Also, higher levels of Vitamin D are linked to a better mood.
  • Gets you moving – Did you know being inactive kills as many (or more) than cigarette smoking? Check it out
  • Get fresh air – Our indoor environments are becoming ever more toxic. New products (like flooring and cabinetry) off-gas chemicals like formaldehyde and VOC’s that we are continually breathing in. Dust and mold are also common indoor irritants.
  • Get in touch with nature – In an increasingly industrialized world, it is sometimes difficult to feel nature at all. We leave our homes, get in our cars, get to work, then do it all over again in reverse, it’s time we squeeze nature back in to the mix somewhere.
  • Boost energy – Getting outside gets you moving, which will inevitably will increase your energy. It’s better than a cup of coffee, seriously!

Well I don’t know about you, but I have certainly convinced myself to get up off my (significantly larger) pregnant butt and enjoy the great outdoors. I do hope you join me :)

All the best,

Sam

yoga june

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Hello fellow resolutioners! I am so sorry for the delay in this post, I have already got started on my June resolution, but haven’t had the chance to fill you in yet. It seems difficult to pull myself away from the beaches in Spain to get some work done these days….yeah, it’s a spoiled brat kind of problem, but I apologize nonetheless!

Yoga! YAY! I am stoked about this month’s resolution. I’ve been an sporadic wanna be yogi for years now, but it is one of my fave physical activities that has been as good for the mind as it has been for the body. My problem – I am a little inconsistent my muscles are super tight so if I go a week (or even a few days) without it I stiffen right up and feel I have to start from scratch. I have done only one yoga challenge in the past, it was 30 days of 60-90 minute classes…and it was an absolutely amazing month! I’ve been meaning to do another ever since, so here we go!!

This month’s yoga challenge includes:

  • A minimum of 30 minutes of yoga (or whatever stretches I can get this growing belly into) daily. I am aiming for at least 3, one hour (or more) classes per week and a mini home session for the other days.

I plan on combining going to my prenatal yoga classes (in Dutch – I’m lost for most of it), using yogaglo.com (which is fabulous for all types of yoga, all levels and all lengths of time) and my own repertoire and mishmash of poses my body feels like doing. Hip openers seem to be a daily necessity for these ever expanding baby bearing hips.

A great start for new yogi’s would be a simple 7 sets of sun salutations first thing in the am. The beauty of this is that it costs nothing and can be done from the comfort of your own home.

Let’s get into why you should be participating in this month’s challenge…

Benefits of Yoga

  • increased flexibility
  • increased strength
  • decreased stress & anxiety
  • more mindfulness, living in the moment
  • connection of mind and body
  • consciousness of breath, decreased respiratory rate, which means lungs function more efficiently
  • there are also a whole slew of potential health benefits for conditions such as cancer (increased red blood cells and less nausea during chemotherapy), depression, pain, anxiety and insomnia, fatigue and mood
  • reduce heart rate and decrease blood pressure (therefore decreased risk of heart disease)
  • increased circulation therefore increased nutrition and oxygen to organs for healthier skin and brain
  • decreased pain, especially back pain – a complaint of 80% of North America
  • weight loss – yoga can actually help reduce binge eating and control your eating habits
  • decreased menopause symptoms, studies show less hot flashes in menopausal yogi’s
  • decreased asthma symptoms
  • anti-aging
  • and the list goes on….

Benefits of Prenatal Yoga (for all you other soon to be mama’s)

Make sure you are always doing safe prenatal poses (some are not recommended and can be harmful), I highly recommend taking a class or using yogaglo‘s online prenatal classes during this time.

  • learn breathing techniques to help during labor (deep breathing keeps adrenaline down, high adrenaline during labor may mean less oxytocin, which is needed to help labor progress naturally and can prevent the need for pitocin, the synthetic version used to induce labor)
  • learn pelvic floor exercises to prepare you for child birth and boost postpartum recovery (maintaining muscle integrity ‘down there’)
  • decreased back pain
  • classes increase the opportunity to meet a like-minded supportive community
  • squatting can shorten the birth canal by 30% (but dont practice after 34 weeks or it may induce labor)
  • it may help flip a breech baby or get your babe into an ideal birthing position making labor “easier” and reducing the need for medical intervention

I hope you choose to continue to follow along this month to reap these benefits and tell me all about how amazing you feel.

Resources:

the importance of exercise

samrunning

I’ll be the first to admit that up until recently, like maybe 4 months ago, I was pretty lazy. Sure I was athletic as a kid, but for the past 15 years or so…you might’ve accurately described me as a bit of a couch potato. Which is odd because my husband’s previous career was in personal training, a service I would’ve had access to for almost 6 years but never took advantage of. I am a bit stubborn, and being a nutritionist maybe I wanted to prove to people that all it takes is a healthy, wholesome diet to maintain a healthy body weight (which, ahem, I have proven to myself for the past 4 years). And to be honest, I do still strongly believe diet is 80% (if not more) the key to health. But I have to confess, I have never felt so good as I have in recent months, and I have exercise to thank. Perhaps it was the wedding looming over my head that sparked the interest in taking it to the next (i.e. first) step, but I must say there is no going back from this point on.

I am (or was) not a strong runner. In fact, I used to run for 15 minutes, huff and puff, stop and walk home. But I am proud to announce that I have since graduated from rookie to intermediate runner! My husby (he doesn’t understand why most people say hubby) and I successfully run about 6km with 4 sets of 146 steps (“the stairs” to fellow Canmorons or “ites”?) and upper body exercises in between about 2-3 times per week now. Each time we go out he pushes me to try one more set, even if it means just walking the steps (he continually pushes himself by hopping by one leg, or piggy backing me up!). And today, as much as I don’t want to admit it, a man who must’ve been 65+ in jeans, a button up shirt and dress shoes showed me up! He mentioned he frequently does 7 sets (at a faster pace than myself I might add). I threw that in there for those of you who think age means you cannot exercise like us youngin’s.

So I may not be an expert, but here are some of my best tips for getting started:

  • Get a buddy – find someone around the same fitness level as you, or a bit stronger to help push you, and make a plan to exercise together and keep each other motivated. And if you are someone’s buddy, show up! Don’t cancel last minute on your buddy or it wont be long until this system fails to work.
  • Start slow – no need to run a marathon your first summer of getting into shape. Start with where you are at, even if that means walking for 20-30 minutes a few times a week. Just make sure to continue to increase time, intensity or frequency if you intend on improving.
  • Have a goal – make it realistic, find out where you are at now and strive for something achievable. If you can run 3km now, try for 5 km by the end of next month.
  • Be consistent – the number one lesson from my very personal trainer (ha). The success of your exercise regime is not about going out and killing yourself 5 days a week, but rather working at an intensity that is reasonable and still enjoyable for yourself a few days a week. You may, in time, feel a need to increase intensity, duration and frequency, or you may not. Either way, just make sure you’re getting out there regularly.