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Staying Active This Winter

Sierrasil Joint Health - Staying Active This Winter

For most of us in Canada, the weather is either already quite frightful or it’s getting there. It's the shorter days and chilly drafts that making curling up and warming our bones by the fire such a pleasure. Better yet if we are blessed to be with ones we love, and perhaps have a hot tea, hot chocolate or even a good whisky to sip on. (As an aside, there are some wonderful homegrown whiskies from our neighbours on Vancouver Island, including Ancient Grains and Shelter Point.)

It would be easy to put our mantra of being healthier and more active aside, even if for just a few dark, wintery weeks! But alas, no such encouragement from us, because as our physio friends tell us, motion is lotion for our joints. So what can we do this winter? Here are a few of our favourite ways to stay active when it’s cold outside.

Exercise from home

Join SierraSil Ambassador and one of Canada's top fitness experts for online group fitness classes! There are many advantages to working out with Tommy online; one is that Tommy can see you and correct your form for safety, and to maximize the benefits. Two, it’s a lot more engaging being in a live class than watching a class. Three, you’re less likely to slack off when Tommy can see you! Tommy is fun, engaging, and his classes really are a "judgment-free zone". So get ready to work and get the results you want while improving your mindset! Tommy's next round of SHRED® bootcamp begins in January!

Jog a few times a week (as long as it’s not icy)

Gortex running shoes are available, as are cold-weather running pants, tights, and jackets. Don't forget a toque and gloves suitable for exercise and get out there! If you can find a park with good trails, you’ll even be able to enjoy nature while staying fit.

Stay on the golf course

Did you know they play golf year-round in Scotland? If your local course stays open, embrace the elements, keep your feet and your fingers warm and swing away! If your golf game isn't great, just enjoy how much more exercise you're getting than your playing partner who hits it down the middle every time!

Take up curling

Here's a learn to curl video with Cheryl Bernard, a SierraSilⓇ customer and President of the Canadian Sports Hall of Fame at Calgary Olympic Park, to offer a few beginner’s curling tips!

Commit to a daily walk of at least 20 minutes

No moseying along, make it as brisk as the winter air!

Use the stairs, not the escalator

If you’re in a mall and going up or down a floor, take the stairs instead of the escalator. Most people will be on the escalator so social distancing will be easier on those stairs and you’ll look pretty good (not that we should worry about that)!

Stay active in your home office

Set an hourly alarm to do a sit-up, squat or a push-up (or two or three, or a combo of all three). It will help with your concentration as you work, too!

Do an online yoga class

The upside, no one will notice just how inflexible you are! These classes usually come with various levels of difficulty, ranging from beginner to advanced. I periodically do an online yoga class with my wife, which can be a nice way to end the day.

Consider cross-country (nordic) skiing

There's the traditional style, and then there's skate skiing, the style you see in Biathlons. Both are good workouts. If you are new to cross country skiing, rentals aren't too expensive and starting with the traditional style may be best. But if you're a good skater, consider skate skiing. Either way, many nordic centres offer a deal for a lesson and rentals, and it’s a great way to enjoy the outdoors on a sunny winter day. One additional tip - layer your clothing, as it’s a good workout but you can cool off quickly when you stop.

Be a good neighbour

When it snows, in addition to your own sidewalk/driveway, consider shovelling the nearby sidewalk of someone who may have more difficulty doing so.

Note - with all of these activities, only do them as you are safely able to. Warm-up and don't overextend yourself. Be mindful of your footing when running, or your back when shovelling. So there you have it - a number of ideas to consider before you cozy up to that fire and think of Robert W. Service's great Canadian poem, The Cremation of Sam McGee, as you warm those cold bones. And remember, it’s just a few weeks until the days start getting longer!

Maintaining a Healthy Work/Life Balance

Maintaining a Healthy Work/Life Balance

Like New Year’s resolutions, starting and maintaining new habits is hard. It is said that it can take anywhere from 18 to 254 days for people to form new habits, and an average of 66 days for a new behaviour to become instinctive. A lot of us have goals and resolutions that likely vary from wanting to create a better routine to living healthier or to create a more active lifestyle. The unforeseen circumstances of 2020 have affected and disrupted our lives and we have all had to adjust. What we hoped was a temporary situation has quickly become the new normal.

With the fall season set to begin, now may be the perfect time to reflect and embrace change. As we start to accept our new normal and try to find a current work-life balance, it is important to implement a bit of an intentional lifestyle change as compounding stress from the never-ending workday can be damaging. Work-life balance means something different to every individual and it necessarily doesn’t have to be the completion and achievement of a project. It can also include self-care so that your body and mind are being refreshed. Here are some tips to help you find a balance that’s right for you:

  1. Create a boundary and set your hours

It is important to have a designated space in your home where you only work. Ensure this space is organized and allows you to be productive. In some cases, you might have to consider a situational space, one that you can leave when you’re finished working to help yourself create a bit more of a physical boundary. A quick trip to your favourite coffee shop or even a short walk around the block can give you the separation your brain requires. It is important to have set hours and take breaks as you would if you were working out of your organization’s office.

  1. Exercise and meditate

Exercise is an effective stress reducer. It pumps feel-good endorphins through your body. It helps lift your mood and can even get you into a meditative state. It’s imperative to dedicate a few blocks of time each week to self-care - whether that’s exercise, yoga or meditation. A quick five-minute meditation session is a great way to reduce stress. The key is to find something that you can build into your life that will activate your parasympathetic nervous system. Short, meditative exercises like deep breathing or grounding your senses in your present surroundings are great places to start. The more you do these, the more you activate your parasympathetic nervous system (our body’s rest and digest response system), which “calms everything down, and not just at that moment.

When you establish these changes and create (and stick to) a routine, it is only a matter of time before it becomes habitual. Creating a daily routine helps establish positive progressive habits that create momentum that carries us forward. Routines can be very personalized and tailored to what works best for each person and can be as simple as a regular morning and evening routine.

A morning routine sets the tone for your day and helps with accountability, prioritization and often promotes a healthy lifestyle. Some things to consider include:

  1. Doing some stretches in the morning before getting out of bed
  2. Maintaining a joint-friendly diet
  3. Exercising regularly
  4. We would be remiss not to encourage you to include products such as SierraSil’s Joint Formula 14 in your daily routine.

Likewise, an evening routine is a great way to wind down from your day, decompress, and get ready for bed. Turning off your screens a couple of hours before you want to go to sleep will help your body relax and prepare for a more restful night. Taking the time for a short spiritual reading or meditation session are some simple ways to relax your mind and wind down from your day. Getting enough sleep is also imperative for maintaining a healthy immune system, which is so important when schedules are changing and people are adjusting to new routines.

As we adjust to our new normal, it is important to create a healthy work-life balance, especially with the increasing work-from-home culture.

For The Active Parents

As children hopefully safely return to school, a good routine at home is crucial for helping them adapt to all of the new changes that will be coming their way elsewhere. These children will be going through different stages and work styles that they will have to adapt to, as well. Having a regular home routine can be a very grounding feeling for anyone who is struggling with adjusting to new experiences. Below are some tips to help adapt to this new normal for both you and the kids:

  1. Take the pressure off!

If things don’t work out the way you’d hoped, default to sending love to your kids and make a plan to catch up on work the following day, if possible.

  1. Get educational but visually pleasing materials for the children.
In addition to the regular activities your kids will get up to in school, it is important to also ensure they have a routine at home. This should not only include both playtime and educational exercises, but it should also serve as a bonding time for parents and their kids.
  1. Podcasts, audiobooks, TED talks.

Listen to a book or podcast or stream a TED talk while completing regular chores around the house.

  1. Aim for the best balance possible.
If you can, take an afternoon walk or spend a morning with your family at the beach.
  1. Be fully present in your current activity.

If you’re home and spending time with your family/kids, give that precious time your full attention. It’s so easy to feel like you need to sneak in work here and there when you’re remote and working from home. It can be so hard to separate the two, so one has to be really aware of this. When playing with your children, being fully present (both physically and emotionally) shows them how much you value spending time with them and will strengthen the bond you share together. Finding activities everyone enjoys doing can be difficult, but when you discover them, everyone will look forward to sharing that time together.

Setting boundaries and establishing a positive, daily routine for the whole family is a form of self-care that shows up in every aspect of your life. Remember to “work from home”, not “live at work”!