5 Simple Health Hacks for 2018
Resolutions are overrated. Building habits and setting smart goals are what its really all about.
Sorry if I’m killing your #newyearnewme vibes. The truth is that resolutions made this time of year are generally not accomplished by 80% of us lowly humans.
The problem with habits is that they take time and effort, and that is something us humans don’t naturally drift to. Setting a fiery resolution as of Jan 1, 2018 does not come close to guarantee that you wont’ be saying the same thing next year at this time. Health is an ongoing series of habits and decisions you make EVERY SINGLE DAY. And every day is a new adventure, so the decisions will change DAILY. The best solution is forming a solid line up of habits to help you along the decision making trail.
One of the biggest barriers clients tell me about is not having enough time to include new healthy habits into their life, or being too busy to commit to a coaching schedule, complete daily tasks to support their long term health, or to take time for themselves. A lot of this involves choosing to remove the inconvenience of health from our lives (and ironically thereby making health more convenient– making it the obvious choice).
We’ll talk more about sustainable habit practices soon. In this post I am going to outline 5 SIMPLE things you can add to your day to day routine that don’t require more then 5min.
1. Get Down (on the ground)
The simple act of spending time on the ground, and getting back up again is an amazingly simple way to get the whole body moving. Most of us spend the majority of our days in a seated position. It’s well known by now that our conventional chair based positions are absolute crap for our bodies. Evolutionarily we were designed to spend majority of our time in transit (walking, crouching, etc), or in ground based positions (deep squats, kneeling positions, cross legged or other variations of sitting on the ground.).
We have seen a slow creep of convenient ways to bring different positions back into our lives- from ball chairs to standing desks, however, the majority of us still plunk down and stay for way too long.
So here’s the deal. Take a minute, get off your duff, and get on the ground. Sit however is comfortable, kneel, or even lay down and do some rolling around. Then… get up!
Do that 20-50times a day for the best results. Start with what you can handle, and build from there.
If you have joint pain or other health conditions preventing you from doing this simple movement, you need to get yourself to a practitioner who knows what’s up and deal with that. Or, comment/email us with questions and we can send you some personalized advice.
Consults are always free at IM, and having someone chat with you about where you’re at and how to get you where you want to go is never a poor investment.
One of the best tests of longevity is this simple (and yes, it should be SIMPLE), act of moving your body weight from the ground level to a up right position unassisted. No matter what your age or ability, I am confident you can get there with the right tools- and that you’ll feel much healthier for this addition to your day.
Okay, seriously, let’s talk about this.
Majority of people are not drinking nearly enough water. Especially those of us who live in the sub zero temperatures on this planet.
I can tell the minute I look at someone, and work on their tissues, what their hydration is like.
Why is hydrating so important? Well why is gas and oil necessary for your car?
Water does many things for our body. Our brain function relies on proper hydration and will use majority of what we get into ourselves immediately just for baseline functioning. All our tissues all the way down to a cell level require water to be healthy. If our cells aren’t healthy, our tissues don’t function at their full levels, and we pay the toll. Joint stiffness, muscle soreness, fatigue, headaches, bloating, water retention, arthritis, sleep issues, low mood quality, you name it I can probably relate it back to your poor hydration habits.
For those of you with existing health conditions or looking to lose weight. This should be of extra importance for you!
How much do you need to drink? You should have a water bottle with you throughout your day, and be taking sips routinely. Generally, I would say 2-3L/day for a healthy adult is adequate. Bet thats a lot more then you’re currently drinking!
For those of you raising protest about more frequent trips to the bathroom, your kidneys thank you in advance. This won’t be a long term inconvenience, but like anything allow for an adjustment period. Try adding herb or fruit (lemon is popular!) infusions! Tea counts as intake as well, but coffee and other sugary drinks not so much.
Want to make this easy? Get yourself a water bottle you’ll love to carry around with you, and keep it full! Just the simple act of having it near you through your day will remind you to take sips from it.
3. The 80% Rule
Coming off of the holiday season and rolling into our new diet plans is always easy when we start… but forming the right habits now will make that February crash and burn easier to prevent.
When it comes to nutrition, there are a lot of things I could throw at you in terms of the latest trends in dieting and why they are probably bulls*** and why you should stick to whole foods and a variable diet full of the things we all know that are good for us… but instead I’m going to leave you with the simplest guideline.
Eat SLOWLY and MINDFULLY, and stop putting things in your mouth when you feel 80% full.
Get the DISTRACTIONS (aka, your phone) away from your eating area, and enjoy what you’re eating. Finding 80% full for most of us is pretty difficult at first, but having minimal distractions and eating slower will help the process. 80% full to me feels.. satisfied. Not hungry, not stuffed. Not empty, but not bloated or brimming. Pay attention to what your literal gut is telling you, and then LISTEN TO IT.
Doing this now while you’re high on resolution plans will make the habit before you hit the Valentine’s day chocolate sales . Trust me.
Feel like you need a little more help building your nutrition habits? Check out our membership page or book a consult to learn more about our coaching programs. (The consult is free 😉 )
4. Learn How to Breathe
We posted on our instagram a few days ago about the Alligator Breathing exercise. If you missed it, find it here and the video here!
We’ve talked about breathing before. The mechanics of it are something a lot of us get wrong a lot of the time, and switching back to diaphragm breathing or alligator style breathing not only benefits the rest of our movement, but also our nervous system and therefore our entire being.
No matter where you’re at, a high performance athlete, runner, weekend warrior with aches and pains, office worker, retiree, everyday human with average health, working on getting yourself to a healthier place, or still stuck where you are, changing your breathing can literally change your life. From mood improvement, sleep enhancement, pain reliever, stress reliever, and focus enhancer- this could be your first step towards something better.
Was that cheesy? #sorrynotsorry
As an added bonus it ties into our next step…
5. Take Five
I don’t care who you are you have time to take 5minutes for yourself.
This isn’t about making sure you hit the gym everyday, or only eat the perfect meals, or even about adding a dedicated meditation practice to your day.
I want you to take 5 minutes to do whatever the heck you want to do.
Some suggestions I could make would be:
- spending 5 minutes practicing your breathing
- going for a stroll outside your office (even better, in the actual outdoors)
- taking 5minutes to get up and down off the floor, or do any other combination of movements that you want to do– check our instagram for ideas here!!!
- 5min letting your mind clear while sipping your favourite drink (OR THAT WATER YOU SHOULD BE DRINKING ANYWAY)
- Writing out your intentions for the day, week, month and the goals that will help those intentions come to fruition.
- 5 technology free moments to meditate on all the things your grateful for today (write these down for added benefit!)
You get the point. The minutes are yours, use them wisely and in a forward thinking way with your health goals in mind.
Those are all simple things right? How many of you will actually add them in? I’m curious!
As I mentioned above, consults with IM coaches and therapists are always free. Our drive is to help you with your drive towards health. Whatever level you are at. Click here to book your consult with us. We’ll even include some goal setting tricks to get you started!
Let’s make 2018 all it can be!
The Golden Rule
I have this rule when I train clients- which many of them are bittersweet about.
"If it's easy then you're probably not doing it correctly"
This is in respect to their position and mechanics during different exercises.
This isn't meant as a "no pain no gain" type rule- but more of a "you're body likes to cheat so if it feels easy, you probably aren't in the right position".
Our form is our function. Yes, efficiency is something we all desire- including our brain- but efficiency out of laziness (on the nervous system's part) only leads to injury and illness down the road.
I talk a lot about form, motor control, and movement patterning with my clients because, frankly, them knowing how to move and having an internal guideline of the correct way to move means that they will have long-term health success.
What is health success?
That may mean something different to each individual. To me it means having the ability to resist major health issue and injury (baring uncontrollable trauma), and the ability to maintain regular, healthy movement.
To not wake up full of aches and pains, and go to bed feeling the same.
To not worry about falling, throwing your back out, or degenerative osteoarthritis.
To know that if you do catch a cold or flu, your system is primed to recover. And that if you do experience a physical mishap/injury- you know what to do to get back on track.
I strive to create independence in my clients- not dependence. Them knowing that "oh, this feels like it isn't working the right things" feeling means that they will either ask a question to find out, or self- analyze and adjust the exercise appropriately. It means that they are thinking and investing constantly in their health and wellbeing. That means I've done my job.
Our bodies will always move us. By nature, they're always moving in some capacity. Whether they move us correctly depends on our awareness, and to build that awareness is what my purpose as a movement professional is. Certainly, clients remain on as clients because they find value in training with a professional consistently- and I myself hire another trainer to do just that for me- but by teaching a client how to move and how to understand their movement through building their internal awareness- they will be healthier in every aspect of their lives.
As the famous Grey Cook says, "move WELL, and move often".
I need to lose weight
The phrase I hear almost daily as a personal trainer.
“My doctor said I needed to lose 20lbs in 3 months to get healthier”.
An actual sentence I got from one of my clients a few days ago.
Yes, dropping lbs is sometimes a necessary part of getting healthy….. but more often then not improving your health (by health I mean blood pressure, blood sugar, cholesterol, sleep, energy levels, and mood etc) doesn’t come with a large drop in the number on the scale when we are talking about an adult of average lifestyle and health. From my experience, weight loss actually plateaus just as major progress in all those other more important things begins.
We’ve all heard the facts before… muscle weighs more then fat, it’s how you feel and look- not the number. And that’s all true.
My client went on for a few minutes justifying why he thought that the weight loss was the most important factor in his health. Saying he’d dropped a few pounds already in the last few months and was looking forward to losing about 15lbs more, while simultaneously telling me the last time he went through a training program he lost only 5lbs but dropped 3 pant sizes.
He was making my case for me, and finally I stopped him and asked “how much do you think I weigh?”.
He paused for a second, looked me up and down, and said “well I’m not sure, but definitely less then me..”. For reference, I’m a 24y/o female, 5’8″ in an athletic build. He is about my height, 60something male. He weighs in around 140lbs.
So, finally I said.. “I weigh 180lbs”. (this is 100% true). He was sure I was lying. “But you don’t look as though you have that much on you.. you’re not big at all!” And I said, “precisely why the number on the scale is not something I worry about”.
That number on the scale includes our bone mass, muscle mass, water content, and fat levels. That number on the scale is EVERYTHING in us. One can’t look at that one number and thing it determines their health, by any means.
As we change our lifestyle and our fitness levels, muscle replaces fat, our metabolism increases, and our whole system becomes more efficient. Often “losing weight” or “toning” can be achieved in small levels just by adding in 20-30min more movement during the day and drinking more water to help flush the system.
Adding one one hour workout in a day will not do a tonne for the entire system long term, but it can be a great start to kick starting that system into a higher gear. Often starting with one guided session or challenging workout a week is enough to inspire daily changes the rest of the week. I find with most of my clients doing regular weigh ins is actually counter productive, as they get fixated on that number- and when it plateaus, as it always does, they forget to be encouraged by all the other changes they’ve made to their overall health and appearance.
I’ve weighed around 180lbs for majority of my adult life, so far. That being said I’ve worn a range of sizes through that time. 180lbs has looked very different depending on what the rest of my life looks at the time. Things like stress, diet, routine, illnesses, injuries, all played their part… but in the end, the one things I’ve really noticed is that that number didn’t change much even when EVERYTHING else was drastically different. For perspective again, I stayed at 180lbs even after trekking in the Himalayas, living off eggs, and dying for 15 days on my way up to Everest Base Camp 1. If my body can stay at it’s apparent set weight in high altitude training with minimal nutrition and buring 7000++calories a day… I think it’s made it’s point. Weight is the last thing you should worry about when you’re working towards any sort of health goal. Your body will tell you when you’re making progress, but you have to be aware and open enough to observe the little things and not hyper focused on a number in between your feet every day.
Looking for lifestyle change advice? Email me or find us on instagram (integrative_movement).
See you out there!
What’s Up at IM- Winter Update
As usual I’m falling behind on my posting. I just wanted to pop in and give a quick update on Integrative Movement and Katmah Training, as things are happening!
As many of you know, Integrative settled into it’s very own location in the South End of Winnipeg this fall. While we still travel for some clients, we cut down our mobile services to only a few days a week. This hasn’t stopped us, however, as we still travel to Portage and MacGregor, and St. Agathe for clientele. Kathlyn also works out of Carman at Empower Fitness a few days a week. Accessibility for all our clients is a must!
In January Integrative was happy to welcome Lisa to the team as another Athletic Therapist. She is at the studio 3-4 days a week and is taking on new patients! She offers both therapy and training services!
Katmah has been on the go as well, recently having done a workshop for riders on the topic of Mind Body in coordination with the Manitoba Horse Council, and Scott Erickson Performance Consulting. It was a great afternoon, focused on equestrian sport psychology- dealing with adversity, preparing for competition, and common issues faced in our sport’s culture around mental preparation. Katmah followed with a discussion on what the equestrian requires from their body and movement, and of course there was exercises involved! Kat will next be speaking at Pine Ridge on April 23 in a full day clinic. This clinic includes both a lecture and riding sessions and is still open to auditors and a few riding spots are waiting to be booked!
Most recently Kathlyn was honored with making the top 25 shortlist for Athena Leadership’s Leaders of Tomorrow scholarship for her work and goals in healthcare. It was an exciting and enlightening evening networking with some of Winnipeg’s leading women business owners!
Through the fall and winter, Integrative Movement has been working to provide rural communities with access to movement education, exercise instruction and therapy. Integrative Movement was titled as such because we believe in making movement a part of everyday life, and that movement is integral in an integrated approach to health care and prevention medicine. We’ve also been working on building bridges with local senior’s centres to offer exercise instruction for their well being.
So what’s coming next?
IM is proud to be returning to Murdoch McKay Clansmen as the medical supervision for the 2017 season.
IM will also be returning to the MHJA circuit as medical coverage, and will be offering Athletic Therapy Services on competition weekends.
Weekly classes are being offered on Tuesday evenings at 5:45pm in Winnipeg, as well as 10:30am on Thursday mornings. These classes are all about fitness and mobility- and are open to all ages and fitness levels. As pre-season kicks into gear, IM is offering a discount on training services and therapy services (unless you have insurance coverage 😉 for the next few months. Contact us to find out more about this if you’re an MHJA, or MHC member.
We are also hoping to reach out to physicians in the city and rural communities to talk about movement, athletic therapy, and kinesiology. So if you think you’re GP would be interested- please let us know!
That’s about all the news for now- stay tuned to our social media for exercise ideas, handy tips about your health, and other updates!
Facebook: Integrative Movement
Booking site: http://integrativemovement.janeapp.com
What’s Your Coverage?
Athletic Therapists (CAT(C)) are highly trained in the art and science of rehabilitating injury, managing chronic pain, preventing injuries, and assessing and correcting movement. You will also see AT’s on the sidelines of my sporting events as the first response to injuries and taking care of athletes when it comes to taping and rehabilitation. They are recognized exercise science professionals.
Here in Manitoba, many insurance companies offer excellent coverage for athletic therapy treatments.
We are all athletes- don’t let pain, dysfunction, or poor posture slow you down.
Here’s an overview of some of the coverages in MB. Be sure to check your coverage and use it if you have it!
If you hold a plan with Blue Cross, typically their extended coverage plans cover between 80-100% of athletic therapy treatments up to a certain dollar amount per calendar year (works out to 7-15 treatments depending on the plan).
TEACHERS! You have AMAZING AT coverage at 100% with the Manitoba Teacher’s Socieity.. make sure you’re using it!!!
If you’re a student and you’ve opted into your health plan at your University, Greenshield covers you up to usually $300-$400/year, that works out to 7-10 sessions.And for you football players, MB Football offers 100% coverage if you’ve been injured in practice or a game. Riders- MB Horse Council does also have some insurance coverage for injuries involving you and your horse. Many other sporting associations offer insurance coverage with their yearly membership fees.
Great West Life has some insurance coverage for athletic therapy treatments!
WCB and MPI will both cover athletic therapy costs after an injury at work or in your car- so don’t forget hesitate on making a claim or contacting your therapist to get the appropriate paperwork done.
When it comes to other insurance providers, often they will cover athletic therapy if a formal request is made- this is something your therapist can do or help you with. Athletic Therapy can also be claimed on your taxes within the health benefits category.
If you have it- take advantage of it! Even if you don’t have an acute injury, seeing an Athletic Therapist can improve areas of chronic pain or stiffness, energy, and function in work and play!
Want to know more or book today? Click here to visit my online booking page!
A letter to the girl who wants it all..
We all know them.
The girl(s) on the team who are constantly pushing. Pushing themselves and the rest of their teammates to be better.
The one’s who take pride in their fatigue, and yet never appear to be out of energy.
The one’s who manage it all, under pressure, and make it look seamless.
They may be a friend, a sister, a mother, a colleague, a teammate.
We all know them.
We may be one ourselves.
Some may think that they make everything look easy because “everything just comes easily for them”. Others may say they’ve never had hardships.
They know those are false accusations. But will likely still take them to heart.
I’d like to send a message to all those achievers.. one I wish I had listened to years ago.
There will come a day where you learn the hard way what it means to take on too much.
There may come a few of those days, because you’re too stubborn to relent.
There will come days where you get so frustrated by people in your life, because they don’t seem to hold themselves to the same standard you hold yourself. You will one day learn that their journey is theirs, and not yours to pass judgement on.. although that may not make the frustration any less.
As athletes you’ll never want to quit, and the fear of letting go of certain things will hold you stuck.. frozen.. in a place where everything seems upside down. It may be injury related. And if it is, the pain may become a being of it’s own. When this happens- you’ll be forced to learn that emotions tie into injuries, just as injuries tie into our emotions. Sometimes in order to fix one, you have to evaluate the other.
You’ll learn to listen to your gut intuition.. and eventually it will be your ultimate guide.
There will come a day where you’ll be confronted with someone you love deeply and/or look up to making a comment that seems like judgement on your abilities or efforts. You will have to reassess the toughness of your skin and move on. You cannot expect others to always understand your view-point.
If you are injured, understand that rehab is not a set in stone time-frame. An injury can be expected to heal in weeks.. but take months or years to not affect you. Sometimes you’ll have to let go of others comments during this time, again, as nobody knows you better then you.
You will face the age old “s**t, I’m not invincible after all” realisation probably sooner then you think, and self-care will become your new bible. You’ll look at younger versions of you and want to tell them that everything thing they are doing is all worth it- but in the same breath you’ll want to tell them to eat better, move better, and maybe even hang out with better people.
Your goals will change and grow at the same rate you do, and the things you dreamed of once will morph into new aspirations.. maybe quicker then you can even expect.
Your best laid plans will fall through, this is almost a rule of the universe, and yet something equivalent or even better will always come about.. usually in the last minute and when you’re least expecting it.
The biggest lesson you’ll have to face through all of this is understanding how to understand yourself, and show compassion for what you find. This lesson will show itself in different masks day to day, and won’t ever stop asking questions.
You’ll realize the benefit of being proactive, instead of reactive.. and your reactions will mature the more you are open and honest with your own emotions. Within this you’ll realize you CAN have it all.. it just will never stop challenging you to grow or be easy.
No matter what path you’re taking in life, athletics, professional, parenthood, or just whatever the day brings- never stop caring for you.. and in that lies your ability to care for others. It will also attract like-minded, positive influences to your life.. and for that you will be forever grateful.
Ladies out there, move well, live well and be well. This is my message to you on International Women’s Day!