New Year, Healthy Habits
Since 2o20 is finally over, it’s time to take care of yourself. Everyone’s response to a year filled with uncertainties has proved to be different, with some indulging more, and moving less. Whether you believe in New Year’s resolutions or not, there’s no harm in doing your best to better your physical and mental health, which may be harder during lockdown. This blog focuses on aspects of health that are within your realm of control, and serves as motivation to assist you on a path of better health.
When working from home, it is easy to overconsume, especially if your home office is your kitchen table. Aim to cook your meals as much as possible, and set goals for yourself such as “I’m going to have two green smoothies a week”. Weight loss is not the main indication to improve diet. A healthy diet can improve energy, digestion, hair growth, skin health, etc.
Healthy snack ideas:
- Keep Crudités in the fridge (sliced vegetables) and dip in 2 tbsp tzatziki, hummus or guacamole
- Fruit with cinnamon or shredded coconut- strawberries with coconut flakes or pears with cinnamon are less boring than they are on their own
- Handful of frozen red grapes
- Apple with 1 tbsp almond butter
- Handful of nuts – I suggest any low sodium mixed nuts (besides peanuts), without dried fruit
- 2 cups of popcorn (plain)
- Greek yoghurt with 1 tsp honey, nuts, and/or berries
- Two boiled eggs seasoned with salt and pepper
- Protein/vegetable shake
- I typically suggest “Vega” protein powder, or “Vege Greens” powder by Progressive
- ½ of an avocado with rice crackers (I suggest cracker brands such as Mary’s & Simple Mills)
Healthy recipe websites:
Even if you don’t have a lot of space, time, or equipment, there are plenty of free online resources available that can guide daily movement. It’s noteworthy to remember that there are no instructors watching you to correct your form, and you may be more prone to injuries.
Smart Phone applications:
- Seven – 7 minute workout: Paid 7-minute workouts perfect to complete on a work break
- Peloton – at home fitness: Free workouts and stretches for all levels with opportunities to upgrade
- Nike Training Club: Free workouts for all levels with opportunities to upgrade
Instagram live accounts:
Many Toronto based fitness studios are offering free Instagram live workouts to individuals at home during the pandemic. You will have to download the Instagram app, and search these accounts to discover their weekly “live” schedules. They typically stay up on Instagram for 24 hours after they are posted, allowing for flexibility to complete workouts at a different time. They offer different level classes, as well as classes targeting different muscle groups. It’s important to find a class that you feel like you can complete, rather than one where you push yourself too hard resulting in injury. If a class requires equipment you don’t have, you can always improvise with heavy objects as weights (ex: sack of potatoes, wine bottles, large jugs of water).
- @irina_fit: our very own therapist/trainer! Check her out: local Toronto and works @PhysioDNA!
- @barrys and @barryscanada: Full body workout
- @fitfactoryto: Focuses more on high intensity interval training (HIIT)
- @sweatandtonic: Variety of classes including HIIT, boxing/strength, yoga, and Pilates
- @poweryogacanada: Yoga
- @equinox: Shorter workouts (15-30 minutes) with different muscle groups highlighted
Get Fresh Air
Even if it’s for 10 minutes, aim to get out of your home at least once per day. Studies show that 20-minute exposure to nature significantly induces calmness and reduces the stress response1. Brisk walking for 10 minutes can also improve mood, stress, and can increase cardiovascular health2. You can make it more entertaining by simultaneously listening to a podcast or audiobook.
There has been a great increase in mental illness throughout the pandemic due to isolation, health scares, and financial burden. Canadian reports have shown that stress has nearly doubled3, and substance use in adults has risen 25%4. Mood disorders and post-traumatic stress have also increased, and most Canadians indicated that the pandemic has impacted their mental health in a negative way3. Other than nutraceuticals, some basic strategies to improve your mental health are:
- Sleep: Aim to get 8 hours of sleep nightly to benefit mood5
- Exercise: 30 minutes a day releases endorphin that benefit mood6
- Keep a routine: To maintain productivity and structure
- Practice mindfulness meditation: Mindfulness is associated with greater overall well-being, lower anxiety and depression, higher mood, better sleep and increased competence7
- Smart phone applications for meditation: Calm, headspace and balance meditation
- Stay connected to friends and family: To decrease loneliness
- Seek counseling services: https://www.toronto.ca/home/covid-19/covid-19-protect-yourself-others/covid-19-mental-health-resources/
Setting goals and addressing health concerns
Goals vary depending on individual needs and requirements; however, each goal should be specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and timely to be achieved. If unfamiliar, goals should start small, and should build up in frequency. This ensures greater compliance.
We can help with goal setting for this year. In-person or virtual.
Services that are pertinent to this are:
- Take a relevant health history to determine areas of improvement
- Requisition for lab work
- Nutraceutical prescriptions for various conditions and deficiencies
- Diet analysis & recommendations
- B12 injections
To determine goals specific to you, and evaluate all possible treatment options, book an appointment with Dr. Stephanie Trgachef at PhysioDNA. Downtown Toronto or Virtual!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: DR STEPHANIE TRGACHEF, NATUROPATHIC DOCTOR
Dr. Stephanie Trgachef completed her Bachelor’s degree in Kinesiology with honours at the University of Toronto. In 2019, Dr. Trgachef ND graduated from the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine (CCNM). She is a member of the Canadian Association of Naturopathic Doctors and the Ontario Association of Naturopathic Doctors. Her specialized areas of treatment include hormonal disorders, gastrointestinal disturbances, metabolic syndrome and mental health. Dr. Stephanie Trgachef believes in developing personalized treatment plans with a preventative, evidence based approach to health care, where identifying and treating the root cause of illness takes precedence.