Tag: health

Fitness Swellness: Saddle up and join in the JDRF Revolution Ride to Defeat Diabetes

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Charities are getting more and more creative with ways to raise money for their causes other than the usual run or walk, and I think that’s fantastic. As much as I love running, I know it’s not for everyone! I’m excited to take part next week, along with more than 12,000 people across Canada, in the JDRF Revolution Ride to Defeat Diabetes 2017!

It’s my first year, but I hear the high-energy event is full of positive vibes. Presented by Sun Life Financial, the JDRF Revolution Ride’s goal is to raise funds so that we can one day live in a world where no one needs to suffer from type 1 diabetes (T1D).

If you’re not familiar with T1D, you should know it can be a devastating autoimmune disease. When you have T1D, your body’s immune system attacks and destroys the cells in the pancreas that make insulin (which your body needs in order to get energy from food). It affects more than 300,000 Canadians, from kids to adults, and diabetes is the leading cause of amputations, blindness, kidney and heart disease and other health conditions. And it’s not due to eating too much sugar, or linked to being overweight or not exercising enough—its cause is unknown. And while people with diabetes must test their blood sugar every day and give themselves insulin injections several times a day (or use an insulin pump) for the rest of their lives, insulin is not a cure, and it does not prevent those severe complications mentioned above.

By taking part in the JDRF Revolution Ride, your fundraising helps contribute toward the incredible advances made in T1D research. It’s thanks to the support of people like you that smart insulin (which responds to your body’s needs) was developed and that artificial pancreas systems are being developed so as to leverage technology to improve T1D management, to name just two examples.

How you can join in the JFRF Revolution Ride:
I’ll be taking part in a one-hour morning spin class that kicks off the JDRF Revolution Ride event in Toronto. And there’s still time for you to take part in the Ride event, too: you can compete either individually or in teams on stationary bikes (in the Ride10, for example, all you do is saddle up and ride seven minutes as a member of a five-person team—seven minutes well spent!), or even bike outdoors on your own when you can find the time to in your schedule. If you can’t take part with an actual ride, every dollar helps the cause, so consider donating to a friend who is fundraising for the Revolution Ride.

So see you there, right? I’ll be the runner-and-infrequent-Spin-class girl sweating through the session. But every pedal we all push in this Ride means we get closer to defeating diabetes.

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Leave a Comment September 29, 2017

Healthy Swellness: Equine therapy in King City with Jennifer Schramm

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Early this summer, I was invited to try a session of equine therapy in King City, Ontario. I had never heard of equine therapy, but I love the idea of quality time with horses so I accepted the invite to join Jennifer Schramm to try a session of equine therapy so that I could get a taste of what her workshops, Unbridled Experiences, are like.

I arrived and Jennifer and I spent the first part of the session chatting inside. And then we stepped outside to the barn to meet the horses. As our first exercise, she had me meet each horse but I wasn’t to pet them. After spending a few minutes with them, she asked me what I’d noticed about each horse. I could tell one seemed more impatient and distracted (and I guessed he was the youngest), another was more calm, quiet and seemed more sensitive (this indeed was the oldest horse) and the third horse was somewhere between the two. Jenn told me my assessments were quite accurate. It’s pretty interesting what you can read about an animal by just being in their presence.

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So I learned from my two-hour session that there are different types of equine therapy and it can be beneficial for a wide range of issues. For example, it can be a helpful therapy for children with autism; from what I learned from Jenn, the therapy then revolves more of the routine of caring for the animal and being in the moment and being in tune with the animal’s cues.

But the therapy session I took part in was crafted around more around self discovery; considering an issue or area of one’s life you’re coping with and seeking some answers to, and through exercises with the horses, drawing some insight on how your actions, motivations and behaviour are affecting that area of your life.  Horses are powerful, sensitive and emotional animals, though, and through that, they can help reveal things about yourself you may not even realize.

This might be easier to illustrate with a hypothetical scenario. For example, let’s say you’re feeling lonely because you feel like friends have been distancing themselves from you and this is the issue you’re focusing on for your session. I did a few different exercises with the horses, but one I did with the oldest horse involved having to get her to move through two pylons I’d set up, but without pulling or pushing her to direct her that way. If you (as “lonely person with no friends”) were doing this drill and were really impatient and angry with the horse, you might come to realize that those aspects of your personality and how you’ve been treating your chums may be what is making your friends shy away from you.

I can tell you it took awhile but eventually the horse made her way through those pylons, but only after I got a bit of guidance from Jenn. To finish the session, we headed indoors where we chatted some more and she asked me to jot down my thoughts just for myself to process the day’s session.

I wasn’t in a rush so before I left, Jenn introduced me to her mini pony, Paddington, who that day was being kept in the stables as he was a bit under the weather. He’s an absolute darling.

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After one short session, I can’t say if I’m entirely a proponent personally for equine therapy, but I think if it works for you, or you’re seeking something different in your journey of therapy and self discovery, go for it. I will say that some quiet quality time with the horses, and simply having time to focus and connect with your own thoughts and feelings and issues you’re dealing with does feel quite therapeutic in and of itself. Whether one can glean and learn from the interactions with the horses is something I’d have to explore much more of.

For more about Jennifer and her equine therapy Unbridled Experiences workshops in King City, visit www.jenniferschramm.com.

Paddington

Leave a Comment August 10, 2017

Foodie Swellness: 3 ways I maintain my on-the-go schedule (including Good & Simple Muffins and Bars!)

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When you work freelance like I do, and you make your own schedule, it can be both a blessing and a curse. Sure, if I want to take the afternoon off because it’s a gorgeous sunny day, I can…but it also means I’m always juggling my schedule and fitting in meeting, events, fitness and a social life however/whenever I can.

As much as a 9-to-5 job can be a drag, sometimes I envy the structure it gives your life. Although that does mean you have to cram everything else outside of those hours, doesn’t it? So life can get chaotic for all of us–whether it’s kids, fitness, travel, friends, work–we all have times we feel like we’re just struggling to stay ahead of it all.

How do I juggle my responsibilities and make it work? It’s not rocket science by any means but here are three ways I’ve found have helped make my busy schedule more manageable.

Snack on the go. I try to eat three meals a day, and snack as needed depending on my workouts and how hungry I am. But sometimes i legitimately forget to include time to grab a meal because I’ve scheduled my day to run from one meeting to another. And often, since I’m not a morning person, I’m running out the door trying to get to an early workout or event, and I haven’t eaten a thing. This is why ready-to-go snacks like Good & Simple Muffins and Bars are a staple in my house. I’m partial to the Bars (they’re just easier to eat and I find they taste slightly less sweet than the muffins); Walnut and Grains is my fave but the Blueberry Oatmeal is a close second. Made with real ingredients such as whole grains (in the blueberry oatmeal bar, for example, there’s 13 grams of whole grains in each bar) and no artificial flavours or colours, Good & Simple offers a wholesome and tasty quick way to fuel up quickly and when you’re on the move.

Create some routine to your day to day. While I love making my own schedule (although I do curse that very same thing when I’ve taken a few hours off in the day to go to a sample sale and I’m typing away on my computer at 2 a.m.!) , going through each day with zero structure can be taxing mentally. So I try to have some routine to my day: I try to do a quick journal entry morning and night (this is still a work in progress), and now walking my recently adopted dog, Billie Jean, a minimum of three times a day helps me break up my schedule into distinct chunks of time, which makes managing my time easier to do.

Find a calendar that works for you. My smartphone calendar is my bible. I use the Informant app to keep track of my events, meetings, phone calls, deadlines, workouts, appointments and plans with friends. It’s all colour-coded, and I’m very, very lost without it and refer to it a few times a day. I didn’t find the iCal had all the functionality I wanted, which is why I purchased Informant. Before I bought it, I was forgetting about deadlines from time to time. It remains the most expensive app I’ve ever bought but it was worth it (and that’s even without using it to its full capabilities, I still need to learn how to make use of all of its features).

I’d love to know if you have ways to streamline your busy life! And in the meanwhile, to learn more about Good & Simple, which are now available in Ontario, here.

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Leave a Comment July 27, 2017

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