Tag: fitness

Fitness Swellness: December runstreak recap

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In late November, my running buddy suggested I do a December runstreak with her. Her plan was to run 5k daily in December. I briefly considered it but knew there’d be days I would be unable to fit that in my schedule. I was also very wary of the runstreak potentially making me hate running.

But then I read about the Runners World runstreak in which you commit to running one mile a day (I believe their time frame is from American Thanksgiving until the new year). That distance Daily sounded much more manageable to me so I decided I would aim for that every day to n December.

I maintained the runstreak straight only for the first six days of December. On December 7, I caught an early morning flight to Vernon, B.C., and was out and busy with Buick until 10 p.m. at night. The hotel gym closed at that time plus I was exhausted as it was 1 a.m. EST and it had been a long day. Short of running in the hotel hallways for one mile, there wasn’t a way to get my run done.

After breaking the streak, I became less committed to it. Upon returning from Vernon I was so burnt out I stayed in bed for basically 24 hours straight. I do think if I hadn’t broken the streak on the 7th I’d have mustered some energy to do one mile, though, but with it broken, I just didn’t see the point.

For the remainder of the month, I continued running fairly regularly. I did several one mile or 2k runs on the treadmill. I’m not a treadmill runner but it just seemed easier than layering on winter gear, plus for such a short distance, the treadmill is almost tolerable (I just find it so boring!). For the last week of December, I did my run first thing in the morning daily, combining it with Billie Jean’s first outing of the day, and that worked out quite well.

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In the end, I ran 20 of the 31 days of December, as short as one mile and as long as 10k. I learned to withstand short treadmill runs (one good thing about the treadmill is my runs often became tempo runs since I just wanted off of the treadmill faster). I was able to get my active pup some morning cardio. And it got me to try out running in sand when I was in the Bahamas for work.

While I don’t see myself as someone who will runstreak as a lifestyle (I know people who have run daily for more than two years! Yes, two years!!!), I was happy it motivated me to get off the couch and out into the fresh (read freezing) winter air. I think runstreaks are a great way to motivate some people, but it’s also risky if missing a run derails your entire will to run at all. I’m a fairly dedicated runner so I was able to push myself to fit in what runs I could but I could see the all or nothing thinking derailing some people for good in the same way overly lofty New Year’s resolutions can be the downfall for so many folks. For me, I’m personally better cut out to run less frequently but longer distances but I’m glad I tried it out and I’d consider another one in the future.

If you’re a dedicated runstreaker, I’d love to hear what you’ve learned from it!

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Leave a Comment January 2, 2018

Healthy Swellness: 2017 in review

 Best Nine 2017

As 2017 comes to a close, I will tell you I don’t really want to reflect on what’s been a very hard year. But I will because it’ll help me move forward and motivate me to work on making next year better. Up above is my best nine as determined by that site, and yes, there are some great highlights there.

I have been thinking about this past year all week and even I have to admit that there are some shining moments, ones that I let get overshadowed by overwhelming anxiety and stress. When I put some time into thinking about the year, 2017 will be the year that I will remember for these moments:

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My life changed for the better by adopting Billie Jean. In February, when an extremely scared hound landed at my door as my very first foster through Save Our Scruff, I had zero intention of adopting a dog. I wanted to foster as that was a way I could help a great organization while also getting some quality time with dogs that I could fit with my schedule. Then as Billie Jean came to trust me and came out of her shell more and more each day, I fell head over heels for her. More than love for this incredible pup, she was good for my health. She helped me to stress less and forced me to have more balance in my life. The truth is that there are days I feel stress and anxiety are swallowing me whole and I want me up feeling as though I’m in a dark place, and yet I have no choice but to take her out for a walk. Her trust, sheer happiness and wagging tail are like a switch for me. I exhale and she reminds me that we just have to keep on keepin’ on.

airplane over BC

I got to travel and explore and make new friends. I don’t believe that if you put something out in the world that it’ll come true…but I’d become fixated on visiting Lake Tahoe, and I was lucky enough to travel there for work and it was as stunning as I hoped. The same goes for Park City. I had been intrigued by this city I’d heard so much about and I felt so fortunate when I got to ski there in some epic conditions and do one of the most incredible SUP yoga classes ever. I visited California several times again this year and fell in love with it even more. More and more, I think I’m meant to be a California girl. Belize has always, too, been on my radar and I was thrilled to go on an epic trip there with G Adventures where we went caving, made tortillas from scratch with some inspiring women, and learned drumming with locals. 

Camping with Billie Jean and Bun

I road tripped all summer long and learned to camp. I spent much of the year focusing on close-to-home getaways with Billie Jean from late spring through to the fall. From a few trips to wine country (including PEC and Niagara) to learning to camp (a new passion for me—and am thrilled about partnering with MEC for some gear I plan to continue to use regularly!), staying in Ontario and enjoying quality time with my favourite dog was perfect. With it being Canada 150, it was great to celebrate what an incredible country we live in and discovering areas I’d never been to like Norfolk County. Besides the fun of camping and exploring Ontario, I’m also giving myself props for all the driving I did this year. Truth is I prefer to be a passenger but feel more comfortable behind the wheel now and even did my first two days at a race track.

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I met Charlie Hunnam. Last year, I got to meet Taylor Lautner, this year JAX TELLER.  What can I say, I fangirl hard for some celebs. As a Sons of Anarchy fan, meeting him, I was on cloud nine. I also go to meet Nicholas Hoult and had dinner with chef Curtis Stone so it was a pretty star-studded year. Oh, and I partied on a Bacardi bus with Luis Fonsi (I still love that song Despacito!)

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I got to see Backstreet Boys in concert. Yes, I’ve seen them many, many times but it doesn’t make it any less special, haha! Front row at their show in Las Vegas cost a fortune and was an ordeal (lining up so we could nab our prime spot at the stage, ugh) but seeing them in concert makes me ridiculously giddy and happy so it was well worth it. As was seeing NKOTB in concert again. I swear I feel an endorphin rush just reminiscing about it while writing this. I got to make a deep connection with the souls (OK, hold hands briefly…) of almost every one of these boy band-ers this year, yassssssss!

NKOTB 2017

I ran two marathons and cross-trained more. After my longest break from the 42.2k distance, I ran the Chicago Marathon and Hamilton Marathon, bringing my marathon total up to eleven. While Chicago was fine and Hamilton quite terrible, and neither was the ultimate result I wanted, I am proud to have these races completed. A marathon is difficult and a lot of hard training (which I think I forget sometimes) and I have to remind myself that there once was a time I couldn’t even dream of completing such a distance.

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As for  cross-training, I still focus heavily on running but I did work in a bit more variety to my fitness. Dance classes at Dance Life X is something I adored (I grew up taking dance classes and have always loved it). I made the effort to go to yoga classes and through work I got to include workouts such as Pilates, Spinning and HIIT. With Billie Jean, I hiked more and got out into nature more. She’s good for my health in so many ways.

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Work including some fantastic collaborations. Work has its ups and downs but this year there were projects and partnerships I loved working on: Working with Reebok on content about running and travel. Food campaigns with Loblaws. Content with Dairy Farmers of Canada, including this super fun retro-inspired one (above) and one about the power of protein. Some fun video content with College of Kinesiologists of Ontario. And let’s not forget projects I got to include Billie Jean on such as with Dyson and Marks.

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So, what are my goals for 2018…

With just a few hours left in 2017, I see that this year wasn’t entirely without good moments. Looking ahead to 2018, I strive for more balance in my life. While I traveled less this year (which was what I aimed for), I still went on eleven trips and 12 road trips, and the time, effort and disruption to my schedule that caused is simply very stressful and overwhelming for me. I need to work on not overextending myself.

Health-wise, I intend to try to include more variety and will continue to try to improve my running. I think more dance, tennis and Pilates will be key to my happiness when it comes to working out. I will plan on some goal races, but I have not yet decided on which ones. Ideally, I’d like to do one marathon destination race. When it comes to other aspects of wellness, I will continue to work on getting better sleep, drinking more water (I have started to drink a bit more!), and eat more veggies. A little more self-care, too, in terms of keeping my negative inner voice in check. I had a wake-up call recently when a client told me some content beat up on the reader too much, and I realized that the copy was essentially how I speak to myself all the time.

For work, I aim to continue to partner with brands who align with Health & Swellness. I’ve met and worked with several people who truly understand my brand and for that, I’m proud and plan to pursue collaborations with such companies more in the new year.

For this blog, I hope to blog more about my passions. Sheer lack of time has meant I cover some interests too infrequently. I have lots of ideas and things I want to write about, but just run out of time. But if I can achieve a more manageable schedule, you can look forward to more beauty and food posts in 2018 and my ramblings…I’ll try to keep the boy band love to a minimum, I promise!

Here’s to a safe and happy goodbye to 2017, and wishing you an incredible 2018! It’s a year brimming with possibilities!

Karen xo

Lost in Paradise in the Bahamas

 

 

1 Comment December 31, 2017

Beauty Swellness: 5 lessons in looking and feeling beautiful as you age

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Getting older makes me nervous. Plain and simple. I’m going to assume I’m not alone in this. Ladies, are you a bit stressed about aging, too?

But a recent roundtable I attended with a group of very successful women helped to ease some of that anxiety about aging. Assembled by Procter & Gamble Canada, the group of inspiring women included fashion expert Jeanne Beker, lifestyle expert Lynn Spence, dermatologist Kucy Pon, dentist Janet Tamo, and wellness expert Tosca Reno. Jeanne, who’s just turned 65, shared that she’s finding this time of her life exhilarating. “So many years, it was all about pushing forward and having to survive and going out there and getting it, we all need that drive, but this stage of our lives where we can sit back and see the forest for the trees, it’s a sweet time,” she says.

That sounds pretty incredible, doesn’t it? A little bit of a waiting-to-exhale moment when it comes to life…Here are the other useful nuggets of inspo I gathered from this powerhouse of women when it comes to taking care of one’s health and beauty.

1. Look to your meals as a way to nourish your body. “Each meal, I see as an opportunity to load myself with nutrients. Not “is it going to be chicken or steak tonight?” I look at food differently, as a way to flood my cells with nutrients.” says Tosca. She added that according to the World Health Organization, wellness is the presence of three lifestyle practices. “Eating clean, whole. nutrient-dense, minimally processed foods, exercise and emotional wellness,” she says. And while she noted that keeping moving physically is important, so is keeping your digestive system moving things along is key, too. And her tip for making sure you’ve got that down pat? Adding Metamucil and a shelf-stable probiotic (just open the capsule and add the powder right in!) to your smoothie is a simple way to make your smoothie instantly better for you.

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2. Feed your skin vitamins, too. Eighty percent of premature aging is due to sun damage, says Kucy. And while you can’t undo all the sun damage to your skin, you can make sure your skincare has vitamins that’ll benefit it. Such as vitamin B3 (niacinamide) — it moisturizes, it’s anti-inflammatory, helps pigmentation, and prevents irregular skin tone; vitamin A, which you should use in the evenings, which will help repair some sun damage; and vitamin C, as this antioxidant will help neutralizing damaging free radicals. Where to get these vitamins? Well, Olay Regenerist is, as Lynn points out, affordable and accessible to most women.

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3. Give your hair some TLC. Have you ever watched Lynn on TV and admired her shiny, voluminous hair? I know I have. Lynn swears by Pantene 2-in-1 products and its Smart Technology, which targets the areas it needs to treat and then washes out, but still leaves the hair nice and hydrated. She also makes sure to limit her use of heat tools by using a hair dryer that works efficiently so she can minimize the time it’s blow dried, and she finishes off with velcro rollers to build volume.

4. Create a budget and regimen for your dental health. Discoloured teeth are seen as a sign of aging and your teeth will darken with years of smoking and drinking coffee and red wine. The strategies to maintain a healthy mouth, though, are simple. Start with planning a budget for your dental health. “People budget for their hair, but hair grows back, teeth don’t,” says Janet. That’s so true, and good oral health over your lifetime is so essential, it should have its own budget. As for how to use that budget? Crest Whitestrips will immediately make your teeth look healthier and more beautiful. Invest in an Oral-B electric toothbrush, as it has been proven to better remove plaque. And lastly, floss daily as it helps to remove bacteria from your mouth. Did you know  most dental conditions are preventable?

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5. Exercise can fit into even the busiest of schedules. People often ask Tosca if she spends hours at the gym and she tells them she doesn’t have hours to spend. Thirty minutes performed at 65 percent maximum heart rate is far more effective than spending hours at the gym, she says. Women in the baby boomer demo need to hit metabolic catalysts and target large muscle groups, that is the glutes, core and and quads, so that your burning fat at a faster rate all the time. Her fave? Rebounding. Fifteen minutes on this mini trampoline is the same as running 30 minutes on land, she says.

And when it comes to all of these lessons, it’s important to remember that taking care of yourself inside and out doesn’t have to be an all-consuming, overwhelming task. “Do the doable thing,” says Tosca. “Once you’ve done that thing, the next thing becomes easier. Do it 10 times in a row, and now that’s a new habit, and you can move onto the next one and commit to the next doable thing.”

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Leave a Comment November 21, 2017

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