Filed under: Healthy Swellness

Healthy Swellness: Rethink Tires this year as you resolve to get fit!

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As someone who hasn’t owned a car for quite a while, I must admit I haven’t given much thought as to what happens to used car tires when they are thrown away. When it was brought to my attention that just disposing of them means that thousands of tires are just ending up in landfills, it was scary to think about. I feel I’m pretty aware of how much garbage I create in terms of packaging, clothing and the like, but tires, that’s a significant level of waste, to put it mildly.

Knowing this, I was happy to learn about the good work of Ontario Tire Stewardship; since 2009, their Used Tires Program has diverted close to 100 million tires from landfills! How does it work? Well, when you have old tires to get rid of, rather than dropping them at the dump or tossing them with the trash, you bring them to a registered collector and they’ll have your tires hauled so they can be responsibly recycled into new products.

I didn’t realize that tires can be made into other useful items, such as surfacing for playgrounds and flooring for gyms – which you know speaks to me! I had the opportunity to test out recycled rubber flooring in a gym I worked out in recently. The flooring is super soft underfoot and provides a lot of cushioning, it’s easy to keep clean, and it’s slip resistant.

And that cushioning is great not only for any high impact exercises you may do, but also, say, if you drop a heavy dumbbell (which my weak arms have been very close to doing more than once) It’s also a budget-friendly option, so I’d definitely want this in my home gym, if I were to have the space at home.

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With winter here (and perhaps you’ve made some fitness New Year’s resolutions), you may be wanting to do more of your workouts indoors. Consider looking into the repurposed rubber flooring option  and remember, you typically don’t need much space to get in a good workout. So carving out a corner where you can get Zen or do some strength training using your own body weight won’t call for much flooring.

Many of the other ways the tires are repurposed are for the outdoors such as rubber landscape tiles and rubber mulch, which I didn’t even know existed but plan to try in my potted plants in the nicer weather. It can also be used for landscaping bricks, paving, planters and roofing shakes – something to keep in mind for spring when you decide to do some renos or updates. I’m also thinking these tiles would be an easy way for me to spruce up my downtown balcony floor, which I’ve left as the builder made it: plain and grey. A soft rubber flooring would be much more inviting.

So enough daydreaming about the nice weather… and back to the resolutions. In addition to hitting the gym in 2017, remember to Rethink Tires and ways that repurposed tire products can be used in your life. You’ll be doing the planet some good, which is a great way to make 2017 even better than last year.  

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Leave a Comment January 4, 2017

2016 Swellness: My year in review

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I honestly feel like I just wrote my 2015 year in review, like, last month. And that has me feeling a bit panicked. Time is passing too fast. I need things to slow down.

At the end of 2015, I had a one goal for 2016: for it to be better than 2015. And thankfully it was. Although, I can’t even fathom it having been worse than 2015; 2015 was rough. Yes, it had some bright moments but it remains in my memory as the worst year of my life (and trust me, 2010 was not pretty).

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This year had its own waves of amazingness and low points. I traveled more this year than ever. 27 trips (and some of these included multiple destinations) and four road trips — mostly for work, but a handful were personal. And if you’re wondering how much travel is too much travel, well, I know that for myself, this is too much travel. While I look back on every trip fondly and do not regret any one of them, traveling this often is stressful. I recently read a research study about how the week or so before a trip brings on stress and low mood, and with this many trips, I felt like I was constantly in this state. Because the constant packing and repacking of luggage, having to cram most of my responsibilities into the limited time I do have at home, and the complete lack of routine, it wore me down. Often, I’d be so stressed about everything on my plate that things I should be looking forward to and enjoying — like meeting up with a friend for dinner or going to a park to spend time with them and their dog — I instead felt resentful and anxiety about, because that was taking time away from scrambling to get organized, or just have some plain old down time for myself. And that’s a sign that I was overwhelmed.

But for a slew of reasons, I did my best to fumble through it all and maintained the non-stop travel, and looking back on the places I’ve been to this year, I feel very fortunate for all of the experiences. But I’m seeking better balance in the year to come…

As for this past year, memories and achievements that made it great?

I ramped up my skiing skills. With very sporadic ski days in my life (with the exception of Chile last year), I went on three longer ski trips, to Vail, Breckenridge, Copper Mountain and Telluride (all in Colorado) and a trip to Kimberley, B.C., and am solidly past my beginner snowplow and at the very least am an intermediate skier. I tackled one black diamond in Colorado (although there was a blue in Kimberley, B.C. that I swear was tougher than the black diamond in CO!) and I’m clamouring for my skiing in my life.

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I went surfing (and maybe got a little bit better at it). With not great waves in Huntington Beach last fall in my first surf lesson, I was eager to do more surfing this year, and I had the chance to during a week in Sayulita, and lessons in Barbados and Puerto Rico. I’m not great at it, but I have so much fun doing it. Now I’m keen on trying to spend a chunk of time in a beach destination so I can surf daily to really build on my skills. That feeling of riding the wave is absolutely exhilarating, and worth all of the wipeouts.

I visited incredible cities and towns that made me pause and appreciate how very lucky I am. This year brought me to places around the world including China, Istanbul, Croatia, much of the U.S. (including several trips to L.A. and Healdsburg — and my love for Cali just grows more each time), down to the Caribbean a few times (including Puerto Rico, which has always been on my wish list, and where I got to do this phenomenal hike in a river and rappelling down a waterfall; and Saint Lucia, which is as gorgeous as I’d envisioned it), and a sailing trip in the Greek Islands. This year also was a year I explored much of Canada, and I’m so thrilled Canada is being named on so many 2017 top destinations lists because it actually makes me quite sad to think that many of us in Canada don’t bother to explore our own country when there is so much to explore and I hope this gets us all to check out our home and native land. My time exploring Banff, Lake Louise, Canmore, Kananaskis and Lake Moraine? I think that trip overall counts as the most beautiful place I’ve been. Although Fogo Island is pretty darn gorgeous, too. I can’t forget that I went there andstayed at the Fogo Island Inn, and I also got a chance to visit Charlevoix, Montebello, Priddis, Kingston and Ottawa and Canada is pretty effing awesome.

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With each trip, I soaked up the views and culture, met locals, ate foods that I still dream about (like the tea cake in China), and I feel like I end this year as a better person with a broader perspective than before (travel does that to you).

I had solid quality time with friends and made new ones. With my stress about having no time to do anything, it made me really appreciate the time I did manage to carve out with my closest friends, even if it was something as simple as an impromptu night out grabbing ramen, or going for a run to talk things out. Home is where the heart is… And I made new friends along the way, it’s always nice when you meet people and you just click.

I did my first triathlon. And while this tri in Gulf Shores, Alabama, may be my last, and even now just thinking about the swim gets my heart beating faster now (and not in a happy excited way but I’m going to have a panic attack way), I am proud that I tackled it and completed it semi-decently despite my terrible, terrible swim.

I drove more than I ever have. This is a personal victory. Driving can stress me out, and the fact that I drove fairly regularly (including road trips to Buffalo and WayHome) and for an entire week by myself and with my phone GPS not working properly through a province I do not know when I was in Alberta for the Calgary Half-marathon and exploring Banff National Park, I’m giving myself one huge pat on the back.

I didn’t let running rule my life. Don’t get me wrong. I still love many things about running and plan to continue running, and I still hope to qualify for Boston. But I didn’t do any marathons this year, and ran fewer races overall (halfs in Bahamas and Barbados, the Scotia half, Calgary half, the RBC Race for the Kids 15k, and the Great Canadian Beer Run 5k — I think that’s it, I’ve lost track…) and I tried to add more variety to my life, including taking tennis lessons (and I plan on doing some rockclimbing in 2017). I think this departure was good for me; marathons twice a  year (although I did three one year) had drained me mentally four years in a row. But I am excited to immerse myself back into running more in the coming year, with at least one marathon already planned, Chicago!

I worked with amazing brands and outlets. I love the brands I get to partner with, and this year was no exception. Booking.com, Expedia, Scotiabank, to name just a few, along with the outlets and awesome editors I write for, such as iRun, Metro, amongmen.com, VITA Daily, Toronto Magazine, and more. I get to do some pretty amazing things as work, and growing my brand in partnership with such top notch companies and brands is something I’m proud of.

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Last but not least, possibly the  best part of the year has been getting more involved with volunteering with Save Our Scruff. This year I decided to see if dogsitting was possible with my two cats at home and for the most part, it worked out well. I wrote about why I dogsit for CBC Life (and I’m now officially part of the Save Our Scruff foster roster). While I admit my heart still feels achey because I miss the amazing dogs I had a chance to dogsit, I just think of the small role I played in helping them find the best home for them and it’s worth it and I plan to continue to volunteer as much as my schedule allows next year. (Turtle and Dobie, if you’re reading this, I miss you both so much, my sweet lovable buddies and think about you all the time!)

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I was reminded on Facebook recently of my #2015bestnine, and my caption refers to how every single one of my best nine is related to fitness, and how I’d strive for more balance in 2016. And while this whole best nine business is based on “likes” and not reflective of my thoughts or feelings about this year, I am pleased to see that my best nine this year shows more of a mix including, yes, fitness, but also travel, the all-important ootd — although I tend to think of them more as fun times with friends — and well, a cute coffee (everyone loves a good coffee Instagram, after all!). Two, though, tie into my love for Canada, and I am more happy (and relieved) than ever to be Canadian right  now.

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A friend recently shared her husband’s motto with me: “It could be worse.” And while it made me giggle initially, it has indeed gotten me through some moments this year. When running a half and feeling tired and dejected? It could be worse, it could be a marathon! When stuck traveling with someone whose personality clashes with mine and I want to wring their neck? It could be worse, I could be stuck in an office with that person daily if I had a regular 9-to-5 job! I can often fall into a wallowing state of mind, and this saying helps to jolt me out of my pity party.

That said, I’m looking forward to 2017 with a more positive and determined approach and I’m all in. It’s going to be great, people, I’m convinced of it.

Wishing you a very happy new year and here’s to fresh starts and exciting adventures for 2017!

(And, oh, let’s not forget that this is the year I MET TAYLOR LAUTNER.)

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Leave a Comment December 31, 2016

Healthy Swellness: Keeping your feet healthy

 

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Maybe it’s because I’m a runner, and also a bit of a germaphobe, but I’m pretty sure I think about my feet and their health more than the average person: I stare at what might be slight bunions from wearing uncomfortable narrow-fitting heels too often; I reluctantly tiptoe barefooted across yoga studio floors and in change rooms, afraid of getting athlete’s foot or a nail fungus. While I’ve never had a fungus infection diagnosis, I know they are pretty common, and my feet have gone through a lot, including one black toenail (thanks to it getting bruised while running a half-marathon).

Our feet are a common area for injury. So you shouldn’t be ashamed of a foot ailment such as a fungal infection because chances are most of us have been there, done that. Toenail fungus infections in fact account for 50 percent of all nail problems. And 2.4 million Canadians suffer from this type of infection, also called onychomycosis. So how to be proactive and keep your feet in good condition?

Air out your footwear. Keep your feet clean and dry by making sure your shoes are dry; and you can prevent them from becoming moist breeding grounds for bacteria by taking out the liner inside your shoes and having your footwear air out near a heater.

Don’t let your feet remain in pools of your sweat. So this means regularly changing your socks (especially so if you’re doing a sport such as running or skiing) and sticking to a breathable material such as wool so that the sweat is kept away from your skin.  Cotton, on the other hand, traps moisture and will help bacteria proliferate.

Keep your toenails clipped short and straight across. And while I don’t follow this rule (what can I say, I like pretty pedicured toes!), nailfungus.ca says it’s better to keep your toenails bare (so that your nails are exposed to air) rather than polished.

Practice safe walking. Toenail fungus can be transferred from person to person and even from one toenail to another, so it’s best to not walk barefoot at public pools, public showers and locker rooms. I always bring a pair of inexpensive flip flops when I know I’ll be getting ready at the gym.

Even if you follow all of these careful rules, though, it is possible that you will still get exposed to the dreaded f-word, but if you get a fungal infection, it doesn’t mean all hope is lost and that you have to hide your feet forever. The most frequently prescribed treatment is 10% efinaconazole—more commonly known as Jublia—and it’s been shown to be effective at managing the infection.

If you suspect you have a nail fungus infection, speak to your GP or dermatologist so you can get the right treatment and back on the healthy path.

(This article was in partnership with nailfungus.ca and developed with information obtained from the Toenail Fungus Information (TIP) program.)

 

Leave a Comment December 30, 2016

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