Filed under: Healthy Swellness

Healthy Swellness: Don’t let pursuing your fitness goals give you back pain

davWith the warmer spring weather on its way, a lot of us are scrambling to get started on getting our beach bods back in time for summer. And while we may be considering how toned we want our arms to get, or of that six-pack of abs, the health of our back is not something we typically consider, but really should not be overlooked.

Ironically, as I write this, it was almost a year to the date that I discovered how important back health is in the most painful way. It’s hard to say for certain what caused me to throw out my back, but long flights and running both possibly contributed to the issue. What I can say for sure is that it is the most physical pain I have experienced ever. I couldn’t sit down, lie down, pull open a door, or move in any way without incredible pain. My pride kept me from crying actual tears, but there was much whimpering and crying on the inside. And the only way I found relief and got my back to health? Regular appointments with a chiropractor.

If you’ve never seen a chiro, I think they’re a health pro we could all use in our lives. For example, if you’ve thrown yourself into a new workout regimen this spring, remember how important proper form is. Improper form can cause injury to your spine, knees, and shoulders, says the Ontario Chiropractic Association. Three popular exercises, when done with bad form, that can and often do lead to back injuries are squats, deadlifts and kettlebell swings.

First off, for these exercises, remember to maintain a neutral spine (to discover your neutral spine, stand backed up to a wall, with your head, upper back and tailbone touching the wall, with enough space for your fingers between the wall and your lower back). Next, keep these pointers in mind for each exercise:

Squats

Keep your chest up, and as you bend your knees, engage those glutes by lowering your body as though you were taking a seat. This form will help you maintain a neutral spine.

Deadlifts

As you hinge at the hip to perform your deadlift, envision a wall two feet behind you and imagine you are touching your glutes to this wall. This little tactic helps ensure you hinge at the hips instead of overusing your knees,

Kettlebell swings

Maintain that neutral spine as you swing so that you hinge at the hip and avoid straining the back. Swing the kettlebell only up to shoulder level (if you swing higher, you may compromise your neutral spine form.

Whether you’re just getting back into fitness or are a regular at working out, make sure you can continue your exercise routine by caring for your back, bones, muscles, joints and central  nervous system. You can find more essential info on keeping your back health in check at www.chiropractic.on.ca. And while you’re at it, on the site, you can find a local chiropractor who can help you learn about and maintain your back health.

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Leave a Comment May 1, 2017

Healthy Swellness: Help clean Canada together with Glad Canada

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With Earth Day coming up (April 22nd!), and it being Canada’s 150th birthday, Glad Canada asked me if I’d be up for helping clean up a part of Toronto, and it was no question at all that I would take part.

I hate litter. I’ve been many a time fuming on the inside but not willing to get into an argument with strangers out in public when I see them litter. In my mailroom in my building, some of my neighbours leave flyers laying about, rather than putting them in the recycling box that’s literally three steps away, and it drives me bananas. I’m regularly swooping those up and tossing them in the blue bin. When I read about David Sedaris’s habit of picking up litter, I identified with his passion for it.

And yet I’ve never picked up trash in public, until now, thanks to this invite from Glad Canada, and I can tell you now it’s pretty satisfying. I set out for the Beaches with my dog, Billie Jean, with some gloves and Glad bags. By Lake Ontario. I spent about 20 minutes picking up (there was straws, plastic bags, newspapers, and more) and it’s incredible what a difference just what my little bit of effort could make.

And if we all just took that small window of time, imagine how much cleaner and beautiful our amazing city would be. I promise you that getting in on this #CleanCanadaTogether action with Glad Canada will make you feel great and make your hometown that much better. Check if there’s Glad community clean-up event in your area, or just go ahead with a friend, or your dog like I did.

Happy Earth Day, and here’s to a cleaner Canada!

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Leave a Comment April 21, 2017

Healthy Swellness: Stand up for clean water with Me to We and Brita

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Last fall, I had a chance to attend the launch event for Brita Canada’s partnership with WE focused on the campaign that’s resulted in a borehole in Irkaat, Kenya. This borehole provides a community of more than 1,800 with access to clean water.

This spring, the program is growing in a pretty awesome way. We all make use of reusable water bottles, or we all should be (to cut down on bottles going into landfills, and besides, it’s good for our bodies to stay well hydrated with water). And now, as of March 2017, your purchase of this specially marked Brita Me to We statement bottle (it’s $19.99) will provide a year’s supply of clean water to a person in Irkaat.

I think it’s especially cool because you can actually check online how your purchase has made an impact. On each Brita Me to We product, there’s a Track Your Impact code; enter it online and you can see how you’ve helped make a difference.

The 700-mL bottle features the Brita replaceable water filter (I already use a Brita filter at home because I prefer the cleaner taste) and every reusable bottle has been shown to replace 300 plastic water bottles. I’ll admit that don’t always remember to bring a reusable bottle with me when I head out for a workout other than a run (I’m very careful about hydrating for a run) and I do tend to use my S’well bottle to keep my water cold on hot days. But I like this Brita Me to We bottle because it’s lightweight and I feel like I don’t have to be as precious with it (I’m always scared of scratching or denting my S’well), and the biggest plus of this bottle is that it’s great to be able to filter water on the go.

And of course, there’s the pretty great feel-good factor off knowing this small purchase helps provide clean water for a full year to someone in Kenya.

To get your own Brita Me to We limited edition bottle, you can find it at Wal-Mart, Real Canadian Superstore, Real Atlantic Superstore, Loblaws and Zehrs locations.

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Leave a Comment March 22, 2017

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