A. Yes, it’s possible to hurt yourself when you start exercising. But you can get hurt by not exercising too. In fact, problems such as low back and neck pain, and carpal tunnel syndrome are quite common among persons who don’t exercise. Also, not being active puts us at an even greater risk for some chronic diseases. The treatment for these and other conditions is often an appropriate stretch and strength program.
If you’re starting a new physical activity, there are a few things you can do to help ensure a safer start and avoid injury. This website contains a Physical Activity Readiness Questionnaire (Par-Q), which can help identify an underlying physical concern. Answer the questions on the Par-Q, and if you answer yes to any of the Par-Q questions, your first step should be to check with your doctor before starting a new activity. You should also check with your doctor if you are taking any medications.
If you want to be physically active, but don’t know how or where to start – I recommend you choose an activity that is enjoyable and easy for you. Some simple ideas to get moving include short walks around your community, taking the stairs instead of the elevator, gardening and other yard chores. Start with 5-10 minutes of continuous activity and slowly add time to your activity until you reach 30-60 minutes of continuous moving. A good rule of thumb is to add 10% more time each week until you reach your goal.
One of the key reasons people get injured soon after starting an exercise program is the intensity they choose to move at. If the activity is too vigorous or fast-paced, and your body isn’t used to it, your body will “fight back” by telling you to slow down. Try being active at a pace that’s comfortable, where you feel like you’re accomplishing something, but it’s not so difficult that you won’t want to do it again.
Getting and staying active needs to be a lifetime commitment. It shouldn’t be something to avoid but should be something that you enjoy and look forward to doing every day!
A. Walking is an excellent and natural form of exercise that is a great start to a healthy lifestyle. Walking is great for increasing your body's demand for oxygen and for training your heart, lungs and muscles to work more efficiently. It’s also a great way to relieve stress throughout the day.
However, if walking is the only form of activity included in your routine, you may be missing out on other important, fun components of fitness. Strength activities that move your body against resistance are great for strengthening your muscles and bones, improving your posture and preventing conditions such as osteoporosis. The Physical Activity Guide recommends including strength activities in your routine 2 - 4 days per week.
Try these simple strength (and balance) activities:
You can also use balance boards, weight training equipment, free weights, resistance bands, and even your own body weight. Flexibility is another important component of a balanced activity program. The Physical Activity Guide recommends performing stretching, bending and reaching exercises 4 - 7 days per week to keep your muscles relaxed and joints mobile. Try these activities to keep you flexible:
A balanced activity program is vital to maintaining your overall fitness and health. It will keep your immune system healthy and help you maintain your independence as you get older.
It sounds like a lot, right? But it really isn’t. It only takes 60 minutes of physical activity per day to maintain your health, and you don’t have to do it all at once. Try doing short sessions of physical activity throughout your day – as little as 10 minutes at a time - and 60 minutes will add up in no time at all! Remember to start slow and build up your activity levels gradually. Listen to your body and choose activities that you enjoy.
My doctor told me that I have some health issues and that I need to eat healthier. I'm ready to make some changes, but I don't know where to start. Where can I find a dietitian? How can they help me? Do I have to pay for this service?
It's great that you're ready to make some changes to the foods you eat! A registered dietitian can help you do just that. Dietitians are nutrition experts who take a look at your current eating habits and what your body needs. Then they work with you to slowly make changes that help you eat healthier in a way that fits your lifestyle. After an initial assessment, they will meet with you regularly to provide the support and knowledge you need to make long term lifestlye changes.
Dietitians work in hospitals, community health centres, access centres and private practice. Your doctor may refer you to a dietitian for a specific health issue. You can also book an appointment to see a dietitian yourself at a Winnipeg Regional Health Authority Access Centre or a community health centre in your neighbourhood such as Centre de Sante or Mount Carmel Clinic. These services are free.
If you are a member of the Wellness Institute or the Reh-Fit Centre, you can make an appointment to see a dietitian at these centres. There is usually a fee for this service. Dietitians also work in private practice and have their own clinic or are part of a group medical clinic. You can find these dietitians through the Dietitians of Canada database of private practice dietitians. Some health insurance plans cover the cost of a dietitian.
If you're still not sure where to find a dietitian in your neighbourhood, call Manitoba's Dial-a-Dietitian hotline at (204) 788-8248 and a dietitian will help you find one in your community.
Hi, I would like to know if when you're trying to lose weight, is exercising every day bad for your body? Do you need to give your muscles a rest? If you can exercise every day - what is good enough so I am not overworking myself?
Modifying your daily habits by being more active and making healthy food choices will lead to improvements in your body composition and help you maintain weight loss in the long term. Whether you are trying to lose weight or maintain your weight, the Canada's Physical Activity Guide and Canada's NEW Food Guide provide some effective and safe guidelines for you to follow.
Canada's Physical Activity guide states, "Scientists say accumulate 60 minutes of physica activity every day to stay health or improve your health. As you progress to moderate activities you can cut down to 30 minutes, 4 days a week. Add-up your activities in periods of at least 10 minutes each. Start slowly...and build up."
The guide also recommends that adults choose a variety of physical activities that include the following components:
Remember - variety is the spice of life and adding variety can help to keep your workouts fun, exciting and effective in improving your health! The safest way to get "in motion" is to listen to your body, start slow and build up your activity levels gradually. Good luck and good health!
Q. What are the benefits of eating flax seed?
Is it better to grind your own flax seed?
Is brown flax seed better than yellow flax seed?
Flax seed is the richest source of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), a form of omega 3 fat, in plants. It is also high in fibre with 3 g in one tablespoon of ground flax seed. Because of the fibre, flax seed helps to promote regularity. Research has shown that eating one to five tablespoons of ground flax seed per day can modestly reduce total and LDL cholesterol in adults who have high or normal cholesterol levels. Flax seed is also a rich source of lignan which may play a role in preventing certain cancers such as breast and endometrial cancer.
Nutritionally there is no difference between, grinding your own flax seed and buying it already ground. Coarsely ground flax seed can be stored at room temperature for up to 10 months. To keep it fresher, store it in the refrigerator in an airtight, opaque container. If you buy a large amount of flax seed at one time and aren't able to use it up in time, buy whole flax seeds and grind them as you need it. The hard hull keeps it fresh. You can store clean, dry, whole flax seed at room temperature for up to a year.
Eating ground flax seed instead of whole flax seeds increases the absorption of ALA by the body. Otherwise, very little ALA is absorbed.
You can try incorporating ground flax seed into the foods you eat by sprinkling a spoonful onto your cereal, oatmeal, yogurt, smoothies or even soups, stews, salads and casseroles.
Both brown flax seed and golden or yellow flax seed have similar amounts of nturients.
Choosing foods that are lower in saturated fat, trans fat and cholesterol and foods which contain unsaturated fat and fibre can help improve your cholesterol levels.
Saturated fat is found in animal-based foods, such as meat and high-fat dairy products, as well as in tropical fats, like coconut and palm oil. Trans fat is found in commercially fried foods, hard margarine and some processed foods, such as store-bought cookies, commercially baked goods and crackers that are made with shortening or partially hydrogenated oils. Cholesterol is found only in animal foods such as meats, eggs and dairy products.
Unsaturated fat, which is found mostly in plant foods, such as canola oil, olive oil and nuts, can be used regularly in small amounts. Omega-3 fat, an unsaturated fat found in ground flax seed and fish, is also a healthy fat and should be eaten more often.
Here are some practical steps you can take to help improve your cholesterol levels: