Five EASY Tips to a Healthier You

Hey there!  We are well into September, almost into October in fact.  This time of year always makes me happy.  I love the cooler nights.  I love the leaves changing colour.  I love anything that smells of apples and cinnamon baking together.  Speaking of apples and cinnamon baking together have you seen THIS?  See, with just one quick link to a YouTube video I made your life instantly better today.  I personally can’t wait to blow my family’s minds when I make this for them this week {with one minor tweak…I’ll use coconut flour in lieu of wheat flour}.  Of course, I’ll have to trial run it a couple of times before…

Anyhow, to get to the point of my post, I want to connect in with people today who are struggling already with their health this fall.  As we get further into fall and then into winter {stay with me…I know it’s painful to accept winter is coming but stay with me….}, people tend to get sick more often.  Let’s clear something up though.  It’s not because there are an abundance of extra germs out there that suddenly decide to come out and play.  There are a number of causes to this phenomenon.  Let’s start first by stating the obvious.  I live in Canada, about an hour north of Toronto.  And it’s freakin’ cold here in winter.  It was so cold last year that we didn’t even get that much snow. With that massive shift in temperatures, I notice a few things amongst the general population of people I get to work with daily in my practice.

  • people are more sedentary and do not exercise as much in the colder months
  • people get less exposure to sunlight thus less vitamin D {for two reasons…firstly, there literally IS less daylight hours and secondly, reminding you that I live in Canada in the winter, it’s freakin’ cold so people do not venture outside nearly as much as they do in the summer}
  • people eat more crap – processed foods, comfort foods, carb laden foods – and less fresh foods

There are a few other things here and there but I would say that those are the top three reasons that individuals tend to be more likely to get sick in the colder months.  Combine that with other unhealthy habits and it’s a recipe for colds, flu, and XYZ infection.

But I am here to help YOU keep and stay healthy this year.  I am going to give you five easy tips that you can follow.  These will significantly increase your chances of staying healthier over the next six months.  Ready?

  1.  Get adjusted by a Chiropractor.  Wait, what?  Hold the phone.  What does a Chiropractor have to do with keeping me healthy.  In a nutshell: Chiropractors ensure your nervous system is working properly.  Your nervous system controls every single part of your body including your immune system.  Your immune system is what keeps you from getting sick.  rethink_chiropractic_infographic-600x464
  2. Improve your gut health.  Did you know that your gut has 10x more bacteria than your entire body has cells?  Think about that for a moment – you are more bacterial than you are cellular.  Your gut comprises over 75% of your immune system so if you don’t eat a healthy diet, you’re directly impacting how well your immune system works.  I can tell you to stop eating processed foods but you already know this.  I am definitely going to tell you to cut the wheat and other inflammatory grains out of your diet. If you really want to get some amazing actionable steps on how to improve your gut health, go to http://www.chriskresser.com and download his Gut Health ebook.  He talks about the benefits of fermented foods and he’s really REALLY smart when it comes to this stuff.
  3. Use Essential Oils.  Exceptional quality ones (email me at drandrearyan@gmail.com for info on the essential oils I choose and ONLY use for my family’s health).  There are so many different essential oils out there that can support your immunity and give you that extra boost when you need it.  I diffuse them into the rooms we frequent and I massage them topically into my skin {and my kids’ skin too!} so that we’ve got an all-natural, non-toxic and EFFECTIVE way to keep our bodies protected. essential_oils2-530x350
  4. Get active.  I can hear the excuses rumbling already….”I don’t have the time.” It can take as little as twenty minutes a day.  Everyone has twenty minutes a day.   “I don’t like exercise.” Too bad.  Suck it up.  You’re an adult and adults have to exercise.  Period.   “It’s too expensive to join a gym.”  You know what’s expensive?  Taking a day or a week off work or away from your family because you can hardly get out of bed.  But here’s the best part….you don’t need a gym!  You can get a workout in your own home.  You can walk around your neighbourhood.  I used to put a lot more emphasis on the type of activity people got.  I believe strongly that more emphasis should be put on building strength than on cardio {and I still believe that 100%}.  But here’s the thing…any activity is good activity if you’re not doing anything right now.  Just get up and get moving.
  5. Get Rest.  Not everyone needs the same amount of sleep a night.  Some people do well on 7 hours, some people do well on 9.  The point though is to make sure you get rest.  Your body heals when you sleep.  Think about it…when you’re sick, your body naturally wants to sleep more.  It innately knows that it needs to rest and so you do just that.  Why would you think when you’re healthy that you don’t need sleep?  Shut off your computer.  Turn off the TV.  Put down the book.

So, there you go.  Five easy tips that anyone can implement into their life today.  And while tips are great, they are nothing without action.  Just knowing them isn’t enough.  You actually have to implement these into your life.  🙂  Here’s to a healthier YOU this winter.

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One Week Later

Hey y’all….

See?  I went to Chiropractic college in Marietta, Georgia and thirteen years later, I haven’t lost my ability to throw out a southern drawl every once in a while.

Do you remember this post I wrote last week?  I want to share with you how impactful it was to get up and moving each day for me.

  1. I’m more awake.  I loved getting up at 5AM but diving right into reading or listening to a podcast made me tired by three in the afternoon.  Starting that 5AM with exercise made such a difference. It may have been the sunrise I get to watch.
  2. I’m feeling better about myself.  I had really missed feeling more fit.  I had started to feel out of shape, flabby, tired, and blah.  It’s funny how just a simple walk with some squats/lunges/sit ups thrown in can make me feel awesome.
  3. I was happier.
  4. I was more productive in business.  I had the best week in business than I have had in months.  I met with more new people both in Chiropractic and for Essential Oils than I have in ages.  I adjusted more people in one week than I had in a while.  I had people coming out of the woodwork who I hadn’t seen in months.   I pre-scheduled all of my social media for the week and half of September.  It was an amazingly productive week.
  5. I ate better.  Hell, no, I don’t want to ruin whatever good I got from my morning routine by eating crappy at lunch.  {I won’t lie…this basically meant I didn’t sneak chocolate at 3PM…at least most days….I did on Saturday….and Sunday}
  6. I slept better.  Getting up at 5 means that I wanted to be in bed by no later than 10, preferably 9:30.  I do well with 7 hours of sleep.   I do not do well with less than that.  Good on the people who can get by on 4 hours of sleep but it’s not for me.
  7. I had FUN with my kids and connected with each of them not only one on one but also together as a family. And I had lunch with my Mom, which we haven’t done in a long time.

Those are seven {SEVEN!} awesome immediate benefits I recognized by simply getting back to being active on a regular basis.  My mindset once again changed.  What amazed me was how quickly I got off that this summer. I know I am healthier and happier when I’m active on a daily basis.  INTENTIONALLY active.  I can walk my kids to the park and get some steps in but for me I needed to actively focus on exercise for 30 minutes a day to feel better and function better.

Oh, and I should also add that each time I was up and active early in my day, there were some pretty inspired thoughts running through my head.  Here’s the thing about 5AM.  It’s quiet.  It’s dark.  It’s not at all distracting with noise, people, vehicles, etc..  It’s just me and my thoughts.  Which is in part what led to such an amazing time last week…I can’t wait to see what the coming weeks and months have.

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Spring walks

It’s been warm(er) in Barrie this week.  It still snowed yesterday.  But other than that small blip in our forecast, the weather has been rather kind to us this week.  Today we even reached double digits.

Ever since the weather warmed up, I have been getting out with the kids in our neighbourhood as much as humanly possible.  If they aren’t in school, eating, or sleeping, we have basically been outside.  We have walked and biked our neighbourhood lots of times.  Blake, for the first time, rode around the neighbourhood on his two wheeler, even though the training wheels are still on.  We put trust in them to go around the neighbourhood on their own, just the two of them, as long as they stayed together.  And together they stayed.  It brought a tear to my eye to watch them round the corner.  Somehow they seemed so…big.

The winter was so unruly and long.  So cold and snowy.  I made a promise to myself two weeks ago that when the weather warmed enough, I would take full advantage of being outside in the sun.  I plan on walking to and from work as often as I can.  It is the benefit of living only 1.5 kilometres from our office!

What are you doing to welcome spring?

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Enough with the Excuses

There is one thing I know for a fact about being a mom.  If I don’t take care of myself, then I can’t take care of the rest of my family.  If I’m sick or if I’m laid up due to injury everything goes haywire in our home.  And here is the second part of what I know – if I’m sick or I’m laid up with an injury it’s because I wasn’t taking care of myself properly.

It’s not because of bad germs, bad genetics, or bad luck.  It’s because of bad choices.  Let me make that really clear – people get sick because people make poor lifestyle choices.  They don’t take care of themselves properly.  They eat crappy foods.  They don’t get enough sleep.  They don’t exercise enough or properly. They don’t stretch or work on their mobility.  They don’t take time for ourselves to support their mental emotional health.  They don’t make sure that their brain-body connection is clear with the help of chiropractic adjustments.

Speaking as a mom and a chiropractor, I have the unique and humbling opportunity to work with a lot of families.  I feel that I resonate well with families.  I can relate to the stress and frustrations (and on the flip side, the wins!) of wanting the absolute best health for your family.  Ensuring that kids get exceptional health care, healthy foods, enough exercise, good sleep, support at school and home, good relationships, and all else that as parents, we want for our children.

But here’s the thing – sometimes we put all of our energy into our children and we forget to put any energy into ourselves.

One of the many concerns I hear is “I don’t have time to exercise.”  I’m fortunate in the fact that I have created a lifestyle that allows me to get into the gym three mornings a week as well as set aside time to walk and/or run two days a week.  I realize and appreciate that not all moms or dads have the ability to get to a gym due to special circumstances with family, work, and more.  But for the large majority of people it doesn’t mean that time can’t be carved out each day to get a workout in.

Last week was a little crazy.  On Friday we left at noon for a long weekend away.  I knew I couldn’t get to the gym that morning because I wanted to get the kids down to the park to let out some energy.  So, while the kids got their shoes on, I threw on my workout clothes.  Off to the park/gym we go. 

This is what I love about kids.  They can workout and have fun at the same time.

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While my kids swung, climbed, dug, slid, and hung around I got a twenty minute workout in.  Admittedly Caleigh was my photographer and I think that if I asked for “one more photo”, she might have lost it.  She kept going back and forth between taking pictures and making sand pies.  They were really good – both the pictures and the sand pies (chocolate flavoured, yum!).

Here’s how to fit in a quick workout at the park.  Warm up with a 2 minute jog/run around the park.  Then get down to business.

1.  LUNGES.  Do a specific number on each leg.  Start off small and add more each time you work out.

Lunges

Lunges – make sure your knee doesn’t forward of your ankle.

2.  SQUATS.  Keep your back up (my form is horrible in this picture).  I put my hands behind my head to help keep my form clean.  Try to get your bum as close to the ground as possible.  Start with a minimum of 10 and work up to 100 over a few weeks.

Squats.

Squats.

3.  PUSH UPS/PLANKS.  Women can do “mens” push ups as well as men can.  Focus on keeping your core strong and it will prevent arching of your upper back (see top photo).  A plank is holding the up position for as long as you can.  Work up to 2 minutes over time.

Push Ups & Planks

Push Ups & Planks

4.  SIT UPS.  Fun to do with a baby!  Put your little on in between your legs and play peek a boo each time you come up for a sit up.  Plant a kiss on the top of their head so that you make sure you’re breaking 45 degrees at your waist.

sit ups

Sit ups

5.  STEP UPS.  Pretty simple.  Step up onto a park bench.  Make sure you completely open your hips.  If this hard to remember, clap your hands above your head, which will automatically open up your hips in full extension.

Steps Ups

6.  JUMP UPS.  The next level up.  Jump up onto the park bench.  Start on two feet and end on two feet.  Remember to fully stand up so that hips are open at the end of the jump.

Jumps Ups

Jumps Ups

7.  TRICEP DIPS.  Keeping your legs slightly bent, bend at your elbows.  The deeper, the better.  Repeat.

Tricep Dips

Tricep Dips

8.  INCLINE PULL UPS.  Grab a bar at the park and pull yourself up over and over.

Incline Pull UpsIncline Pull Ups

There you have it.  If it takes you 20 minutes, I’d be surprised.  Kids can help by counting off the number of repetitions you do.  Or they can join in on the same moves.  They’ll have fun and the more they laugh, you’ll have fun too.  Promise.