Candace’s Tips for Staying Healthy this Winter!
Candace Kakowchyk, D.O.M.P., D.Sc.O.
Every year ends the same way as it starts: with lofty goals of staying on track with our health and fitness goals. That is, until the reality of life sets in. With the busy holiday and dreaded cold/flu, season upon us, there are several ways we can work towards maintaining our health without spending hours at the gym. Yes, you heard that right. These tips won’t solve your poor cardiovascular endurance or build that amazing booty, but they’ll help minimize the effects of too much to do with not enough time to do it.
First up: Sleep!!! This can’t be stressed enough. If you don’t get proper amounts of sleep, not only will your body be unable to recuperate and recover from work, kids, and life, but it will affect your immune system. Sleep is when the body regenerates itself, and the hours of 11pm through 7am are when the organs of elimination are functioning at their best, so be in bed ready to sleep before 11pm. Turning off all screens and bright lights at least 90 minutes before bed will allow your body to create melatonin, the chemical responsible for helping you sleep. And if this doesn’t work, before you reach for that sleeping pill you keep in the bathroom cupboard, why not try a melatonin supplement? There are various types and dosages, based on your own personal needs, and stores like Finlandia have knowledgeable staff to help you decide which one to try if you haven’t already spoken with your Naturopath. Plus, the added bonus is it’s cheaper than sleeping pills and it won’t leave you with that sleep hangover.
Second on the list: Proper Nutrition!!! If all you do is eat processed junk food and wash it down with massive amounts of caffeine or alcohol, you’re lowering your immune system and slowing down the functioning of the body. Kicking inflammatory, and addictive, foods, such as gluten, dairy, refined sugar, and all alcohol (yes, you read that right….please don’t hate me!) will help your body recover from any type of illness that may come across your path. The reason behind this is viruses and bacteria feed on the sugar in your body. So if you starve them off, while offering your body the much needed nutrients it needs, you’re already ahead of the game! And even if you are able to find time to work out regularly, just remember: you can’t out exercise a bad diet. There you go: something to think about.
Third up: Supplements. There are many different options out there ranging from homeopathics to professional label supplements. And depending what your needs are, your supplements will change. However, most people have heard of the benefits of oil of oregano. Taking a couple of drops orally in some water a few times a day when starting to get sick or as a preventative measure can help ward off colds. Some people even put a drop on their toothbrush with their toothpaste when brushing their teeth. But it can be hard on the gums, stomach and esophagus, so tread lightly and follow the directions. There’s also great tinctures, such as Deep Immune by St. Francis, which is taken in the same manner as oil of oregano, and is this Osteopathic Practitioner’s go to!
Fourth, and this one should go without saying but I’ll say it anyway: Wash. Your. Hands!!!!! With soap!!!! This simple act can save all of us the headache of spreading not just your germs, but the germs you pick up on public transit and in the office. Need I say more?
Fifth: Get outside. Being locked inside the office or your home all day and night is a breeding ground for inhaling and passing around germs. Being outside not only allows fresh air to get inside your lungs, but it will wake you up and help you reconnect. Go out for a hike, snowshoeing, or walk around Granville Island with a tea. Just get outside! Go play Ultimate! Wow! That really segways into my final point!
Finally: Have fun!!! This one’s really important because who doesn’t like having fun??? Plus, it helps relieve stress when you get together with people you enjoy spending time with and laughing until your stomach hurts. Decreased stress means a stronger immune system. So put up your Christmas tree, go skiing, or go play Ultimate where you’ll kill two birds with one stone!!! And spending time with your loved ones always makes the holiday season more enjoyable!
See? I promised you wouldn’t have to spend hours at the gym!