Happy Earth Day

The connection between a happy earth and a healthy you are closer than you think. Here are 5 ways you can have a healthy Earth Day.

1) Get in the Garden. Weather permitting get outside and enjoy some of that sunshine (which means getting some of that vitamin D). Also, gardening is much more active than you would think. It’s a great way to help build strength and it works towards developing your aerobic health.

2) Leave the Car in the Garage. What better way to help save the earth then dusting of your bicycle and going for a ride. You’ll be helping to cut down on emissions, and it’s a fantastic lower body workout. Grab some healthy snacks and get your friends involved. Make Earth Day fun for all of you.

3) Start eating local. Take advantage of your local farmer’s market. It’s a wonderful way to connect with other members of your community, and they offer a wide variety of produce and products. By purchasing locally grown food, you’re helping to cut down on emissions from long distance transport.

4) A Greener Home is a Happy Home. Get your house green inspected. This will show you how to make your home more energy efficient and more cost effective!

5) Start Scrubbing. Look through your current cleaning supplies and switch out anything that isn’t made with the environment in mind. Look for “green cleaners” that have been reviewed and approved by a third party auditor. EcoLogo is a great example of this. They audit, review, and certify the ingredients in cleaning products to ensure that your cleaners are as sustainable as advertised. Look for the logo and you’ll know what you’re using will be kind to the earth.     

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Good Habits are Hard to Break

I am often asked by my girlfriends how I remember to take my supplements everyday…since they only work if you take them.

I’ve made it part of my nightly routine. You see, at night before you go to bed, you don’t have to rush off to work, get the kids lunches made or walk the dogs. You have time to yourself…possibly the only time you’ve had to yourself all day.

So, I keep my supplements in my bathroom, right beside my toothbrush. That way I am always reminded and there never is a pressing reason to forget.

Remember, it takes 3 weeks of doing something consistently to form a habit…good or bad.

Try for a good one this time.

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Sweating It Out

This week, we were feeling a little more stressed than usual, due to a busy month. So we decided that now was the perfect time to refocus, and what better way to achieve this than with a hot yoga class.  We’ve been curious about the hot yoga fitness trend, so now seemed the perfect time to give it a try.

Warning, hot yoga is not for beginners or at least that’s what we believed.  The workout was intense. The room was 37C and the workout lasted 90 min. We came into the class with a good understanding of yoga basics. We have all practiced yoga on and off for the past few years and that helped to minimize the intimidation factor. We also followed the pre-class instructions that included staying hydrated and having an empty stomach before the class. It was also helpful that our instructor took the time to explain what we could expect as hot yoga novices and what we should do if we started to feel overwhelmed by the heat.

We absolutely loved the class! The heat was just as intense as we expected, and as beginners it was important that we took breaks and hydrated often. After class, we felt refreshed, both physically and mentally. The heat helped us to achieve our poses and improve our breathing techniques. The class was also held in complete silence with the exception of the instructor’s directions. If you had a question, or needed help, you had to raise your hand and whisper. It was incredibly peaceful and relaxing to be totally unplugged for over an hour. When was the last time you can remember having no distractions or noise for that length of time?

Experts agree that the main benefit of practicing hot yoga is the detoxification from the sweat (boy do you sweat). Sweating helps to flush out toxins in the body. The heat works to elevate your heart rate which makes the body work harder so you can burn up to 477 calories in a 90 minute session. Hot yoga also helps you to develop your strength and flexibility while getting a great cardiovascular workout. All in all, it was a fantastic work out, and a refreshing change.

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Fade to Black

By now we have all heard about the importance of sleeping in a completely dark room. Melatonin, the hormone that tells us to sleep, is very light sensitive. Even a single candle has the effect of reducing the amount of melatonin that is released.  And our eyes are especially sensitive to light-anyone who has tried to nap outside on a sunny day can attest to that.

For those of us that live in the city with the prevalence of street lights and neighbours who insist of keeping their porch lights on 24/7, achieving a completely dark room requires some effort.

Many of you may have tried the light blocking curtains or shades, but if you are like me, after a long, cold winter I love to sleep with the windows open and feel a gentle breeze. Not possible with heavy curtains.

So I thought to myself, wouldn’t it be easier to darken my eyes with a sleep mask of sorts, rather than try to darken my entire room. And so began my quest for the perfect sleep mask.

I began my research like most of us do these days, on the internet. There, I found all kinds of sleep masks, but the one I ended up buying was recommended by pilots who fly transatlantic flights. These pilots constantly change time zones and need to sleep at odd times during the day, so a sleep mask that works is critical.

The sleep mask they recommend is called a concave sleep mask because it has concave eye pockets which allows you to blink without your eyelashes touching the sleep mask and disturbing your sleep. Most of the standard sleep masks don’t  have this feature and can be irritating to the eyes since they put direct pressure on the eyelid. Plus, this mask is made of foam so it’s lightweight and comfortable to wear. And with it’s adjustable strap, you are able to get a perfect fit so it stays in place.

Concave Sleep Mask

I was sold. I ordered one and have been sleeping like a baby ever since.

Now if I could just get the raccoons to go to sleep. all would be well.

 

 

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It’s World Health Day, Soon.

We’re celebrating World Health Day today (even though it’s not until April 7th), and this year the focus of the World Health Organization is high blood pressure.

Did you know that sleep can affect your blood pressure? Bet you didn’t!

We’ve said it before; many of us just don’t prioritize sleep as an important part of healthy living. Getting a good night’s sleep is often sacrificed when we get busy. Whether it’s an early start to the day, an evening out with friends, a sick child or spouse, or even a favourite TV show, many of us find it difficult to get the recommended 7-8 hours of sleep.

So now there is another reason to make sleep a priority, it’s good for your heart. When you sleep, your heart rate slows down and your blood pressure drops, for a significant period of time. This lowers the stress on your body, and allows you to wake-up better able to manage any new stress.

Sleeping for less than the recommended 7-8 hours can lead to sleep deprivation, which keeps your body in a state of alert. Your body then increases production of stress hormones and cortisol to help you stay awake. This then raises your blood pressure which is a significant factor for a heart attack or stroke.

So please keep your heart in mind the next time you think of skipping that extra hour of sleep. Your heart will thank you.

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