Welcome to the last day of the 7-day eMentalFitChallenge!
Staying active is important to help manage your stress and anxiety during this difficult time. We are committed to sharing with you some proven tools and strategies for reducing daily stress and anxiety levels. Exercising only takes a small part of your day, but the benefits are long lasting!
Today's subject relates to exercise resolutions that can lead to success
Wishing you a fine journey through this wonderful eMentalFitChallenge.
The CKA Team
Disclosure: Information in all emails of this eMentalFitChallenge is collated from various sources stated after each article. The main purpose is to present current publications on different subjects related to mental health that may be useful. The CKA / ACK will not be held responsible for any consequences or damages that may occur as a result of the use, misuse, misinterpretation or abuse of the information shared. We emphasize that the aim is to help guide you. Should anyone require guidance in interpreting any of the provided information, they should seek the advice of the proper specialist.
How to Safely "Socialize" While Getting Active
Along with the well-documented benefits of an active lifestyle, it is important to consider the impact of combining socialization with activity.
Physical activity can positively impact multiple health domains, not just physical. According to the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA), regular physical activity can have a positive impact on one's psychological health in terms of reducing anxiety and depression. Connecting with others in a gym or group exercise class can help reduce loneliness (More mental fitness tips here).
Dale (a regular at his local leisure centre) suggests that "people socialize more in a program where they can attend 2-3x per week where there is consistency among the participants attending." He adds that a good instructor can help initiate that socialization.
Larry (another regular) has built upon his workout relationships in terms of extending this to coffee shop outings (on hold now due to the pandemic) with his workout buddies something he would not normally have done if not for meeting new friends while exercising.
Marg Petty, a Recreation Therapist with the Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA), who specializes in exercise and mental health, describes an improved mood that comes with socialization and physical activity in that one is "not isolating and thinking about life's stressors" and adds that having a bigger support network builds "social capital" [group of relationships] for overall better mental health. Working out [exercising] with friends will help increase motivation and compliance [help you stick to a regular physical activity routine]. Everything Petty does for her clients is done through a "social lens", as this gives the most "bang for your buck". With [through] social interaction, you can problem solve life's issues and share life's joys!
What if you can't access your favorite recreation facility? Fortunately, socialization can go beyond the gym setting. Restrictions on indoor activities due to the pandemic provide an opportunity to seek the great outdoors in winter and summer. Participating in physical activities like cross-country skiing and pole walking are great ways of staying socially active, while being safely distanced. Walking (with friends and/or your dog) can help you get to know the people in your neighbourhood.
Zoom and other virtual meeting formats have provided socially friendly alternatives to in-person exercise and are likely here to stay, but they are not replacements for in-person interaction. However, in lieu of restrictions, one can join online exercise classes and check in with others in their social group to help keep each other accountable.
Petty suggests that technology has made people aware of how important human contact is. Eventually, the restrictions brought on by the pandemic will be lifted and Larry can resume his coffee shop outings.
People will continue to "Get Together and Get Active".
The human body is made to move, and human nature is to interact. Seek the assistance of a Kinesiologist, a university-educated human movement specialist who uses science and research along with a hands-on, personalized approach to offer movement as medicine to any Canadian with a health or fitness goal.
3 Exercise Resolutions That Can Lead to Success
By Laura Anifowose, Kinesiologist, Medisys Health Group
Want to stick with your resolutions this year? Make your goals specific and realistic.
For many of us, Part of the reason we fall off the resolution bandwagon is because our goals are too general or impractical, and we don't plan how we're going to achieve these objectives.
With that in mind, here are three suggestions that could help you beat the odds and achieve long-term success.
1. Looking to Get More Active? Improve your Sleeping Habits First.
Improving sleep routines and getting enough restful sleep each night are critical to making healthy food choices, staying active and keeping off excess weight.
Sleep medicine researchers at Harvard have identified a variety of habits known as "sleep hygiene" that can improve a person's ability to fall and stay asleep. These include developing a series of healthy sleep practices like: maintaining a consistent sleep schedule, avoiding screen time for at least 30 minutes before going to bed, establishing a relaxing bedtime routine and avoiding chemicals that can interfere with sleep, such as caffeine, nicotine and alcohol, too close to bedtime.
2. Commit to Moving More by Doing Activities you Enjoy
Regular exercise offers an endless list of physical and mental benefits. Exercise is medicine and is integral in the prevention and treatment of many medical conditions.
It's well known that increased physical activity provides greater health benefits, but the key is figuring out what you enjoy doing so you can stick with it.
Purchasing a gym membership does not immediately lead to improved fitness or health, particularly if it feels like a chore. Investing in personal training sessions, joining a ball hockey team or learning a new activity like rock climbing can result in better long-term exercise consistency and compliance.
3. Take More Breaks!
Making sure to manage your workload by taking the appropriate time to relax will ensure you're more productive and happier this coming year. Our bodies send us signals to rest and renew, but we often try to override these with coffee, energy drinks, sugar or willpower. Without downtime to refresh and recharge, we're less efficient and our overall happiness is impacted.
While there are varying recommendations for how much downtime a person should have, there's a consensus that it's beneficial to purposely take short breaks throughout the day to engage in healthy behaviours such as drinking water, walking or eating a healthy snack.
Committing to regularly engage in healthy and enjoyable behaviours with family and friends will help you stick with your resolutions and make you happier and healthier.
Workplace Wellness in 5 Easy Steps
By Andrea Stokes , Medicys Health Group | Mental Wellness, Physical Health
Let's face it we spend a LOT of time at work. In fact, the average person ends up spending about 1/3 of their life in the workplace, often sitting behind a desk in front of a computer screen. So it goes without saying that if you're not making health a priority during your workday, chances are your overall health is suffering! A little bit of preventive health goes a long way. Luckily, there are plenty of realistic and efficient ways to bring health into your work day.
1. Get Up, Move and Stretch
Get up from your desk at least once every 30 minutes to combat the detrimental effects of sitting. Take a short walk around the office, visit a co-worker for a chat, or take your calls on the move. Even better, incorporate some light stretching into your breaks, focusing on areas like the neck, low back, and hamstrings. If breaks aren't on your radar, try setting an alarm to remind yourself. Give your eyes a break as well make sure you look away from your computer screen every 20 minutes and focus your eyes on a fixed object (about 20 feet away) for at least 20 seconds. Optometrists refer to this as the 20-20-20 rule.
2. Keep Healthy Snacks on Hand
Hunger and particularly dehydration can have a major impact on your energy level, productivity, and overall mood. Use your breaks as a reminder to drink more water. If you find your energy wanes between meals, add in a mid-morning and mid-afternoon low-sugar, high-protein snack. Keep a 1L bottle with you at work and make a goal to drink one litre before lunch and another litre before you head home for the day.
3. Keep Less Healthy Items Out of Sight
It's no secret that the office can be a dumping ground for leftover desserts and treats. While some people may welcome these items, others are trying their best to avoid them. Keep everyone happy by designating a cupboard or opaque container for storing tempting items instead of leaving them in plain sight. Keep healthier items, such as fruit, nuts, and yogurt, more readily available for those looking for a quick bite.
4. De-Stress at Work
Workplace stress management and mental health continue to top the charts as the health risk issue employers are most concerned about. Whenever you feel overwhelmed, take a couple of minutes to breathe deeply or meditate. Listen to a guided meditation on YouTube if you need some help. Learning to calm and comfort yourself is a great way to deal with stress, especially stress that can't be avoided. Creating organized workspaces can also provide a sense of order and control that can positively influence your attitude and give a sense of calm. Schedule time at the start of each month to clean up your desk space and de-clutter your inbox.
5. Create a Gratitude Wall
Devote some wall space in a high-traffic area for posting notes of gratitude, thanks, and positive vibes! Keep a stack of sticky notes and markers near the wall and encourage your colleagues to write a short, anonymous note words of encouragement for others, words of thanks for something or someone, or a little joke to make your co-workers smile.
Today's Exercises for your eMentalFitChallenge
2020 Desk Stretch Calendar for Your Work Station
Although this was first intended for work station, you are invited to apply them at home while watching TV or when seated for a long time.
Benefits of performing Desk Stretches include increased muscle balance and posture, reduced stiffness, and improved muscle coordination
Click here to download your FREE Desk Stretches Poster. By Medisys Health Group
Being more active is very safe for most people, however, some people should check with their doctor before they start becoming physically active. If you are planning to become much more physically active than you are now, consult a Kinesiologist to guide you through your process. Find a kinesiologist near you. The CKA will not be held responsible for any consequences related to performing these exercises.
Stay Tuned for Tomorrow's eMentalFitChallenge:
- Congratulations and Next Step
Looking for some more mental health support through exercises?
Find a kinesiologist near you (click here)
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Kinesiologists are human-movement specialists. As trained health professionals, they use the science of exercise and movement to promote health and well-being; prevent, manage and rehabilitate chronic conditions; restore function and optimize human performance in the workplace, clinical settings, sports and fitness. They work with people of all ages and with physical abilities, in many settings, in order to improve the quality of life, often by using interventions that include physical activity. The CKA represent 4300 Kinesiologists across Canada.
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Missed the emails from previous days of the 7-day eMentalFitChallenge, find them here:
Day 5: Managing Stress
Day 6: Some Anxiety is Normal