The Key To Achieving Your Fitness Goals

 

Kettlebells and running shoes

The new year is a time filled with resolutions and goal setting, and no goal is more common than those of the fitness variety. After all, there is a reason gym’s experience an annual influx of new members at this time of year- it’s resolution season! Now, chances are that you, or someone you know, is considering making a fitness change in your life. Before you rush out and sign up for a gym membership, be sure to consider your ultimate goals, fitness personality and preferred exercise style. If you truly want to succeed and make healthy changes this new year, don’t rush into your fitness journey with the masses. Take a moment to reflect and understand what will work best for you.

Determine Your Workout Personality

To achieve your goal, self-reflection is the first step to success. Prior to starting any fitness plan, you should carefully review your strengths and weaknesses. This is not necessarily a physical check, rather it is a mental attitude check to determine which factors related to your goal tend to challenge you the most. The purpose of threat identification is to identify any variables that will compromise your success. This can include bad habits, like a history of being inconsistent with workouts, as well as types of exercises you know you dislike.

Ask yourself the following questions:

1. Can I motivate myself in a gym environment?

2. Do I need instructions, or do I have enough experience to work out on my own?

3. Would I be more consistent participating in a sport or group activity?

4. Is this something I can do from home, or am I more likely to stick with my plan if it is done outside the house?

5. Do I have a reliable friend to go to the gym with?

6. What type of physical activity appeals to me?

7. What type of activity do I dislike?

8. What time of day will work best with my schedule? 9. What is my ultimate goal?

10. How can I break that goal into smaller, manageable pieces?

Pick a Method that Suits your Exercise Style

Some people have the ability to motivate their self to hit the gym regularly, others find it challenging without someone to crack the motivational whip. If you are one of those that struggle with consistency, consider teaming up with a friend to help motivate each other, invest in a personal trainer, or try a group activity.

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If you are new to the exercise scene or are recovering from an injury, consider choosing an option that provides more instruction. If you decide to join a gym, consider facilities that offer group fitness classes and personal training consultations. One on one consultations are beneficial to new members to avoid irritating old injuries or developing new ones. If a team environment is more appealing to you, look for sports or activities being taught at an introductory level. Many recreation centers offer intramural sports or leagues catering to different experience levels.

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If you have prior experience and are self-motivated, consider setting up a small space in your home where you can exercise. January is a great month to pick up exercise equipment, as this is the time of year workout gear goes on sale. Picking up some basic equipment like a set of weights, yoga mat, and a jump rope can go a long way. Equipment doesn’t have to be big to be effective, and some activities require little more than your body to see results.

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For experienced self-motivators who have little space or motivation at home, a well-equipped gym is probably preferred. If you get easily bored, look for a facility that offers more variety, as this will help keep you interested. Another option is to try a challenging activity, like martial arts or a competitive team sport.

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For those that prefer the comfort of home, but still need a little instruction, the digital age has you covered. It is more convenient than ever to stream exercise videos on your television, phone or laptop. There is no shortage of apps, channels, and programs that can be downloaded or streamed from the internet. With an abundance of body-based exercises, you don’t need to break the bank to tone up.

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Set Reasonable Goals

If deciding the best method to achieve your goal is the first step for success, setting up a series of smaller, reasonable goals is the second. Most people start out with high expectations, set unrealistic goals, and expect to achieve them in a short period of time. Unrealistic expectations often lead to decreased morale and goal abandonment. To avoid this, it is beneficial to break your goal into smaller pieces that are more easily achieved. You should also consider the method you will use to measure your success. For instance, if your ultimate goal is to lose 10lbs, breaking this into smaller 2lb intervals over a set period of time will be more motivating. If you exceed your expectations, you will feel better about your long-term success. An alternate goal may be to drop a pant size or two; if this is the case, monitoring your body measurements would be more accurate in judging your progress. Always keep in mind that depending on your ultimate goal, the steps you take to get there will vary, carefully consider what will work best for you, and if needed, talk to a professional. Lastly, if you have any doubt about which options to choose, remember that most gyms offer trial memberships. Try before you buy!

Be Consistent

Whichever method you decide to use, remember to be consistent. Some people find it useful to schedule exercise time into their day, making preplanned appointments with themselves. Others prefer a bit more wiggle room and choose to set a general exercise rule. For instance, if you plan on working out 3 to 4 times a week, a possible rule would be to try to exercise every other day and never let more than two inactive days happen in a row.

Happy 2018, and all the best with your new year goals!

Experience Local Nature Sites in Durham Region

Getting out and enjoying nature is one of life’s greatest pleasures. A pleasure for which there are many health-associated benefits. Simply taking a leisurely stroll amongst the trees has been known to decrease stress, improve mood and increase happiness. After all, nature has a healing touch.

As we approach the tail end of summer, there is no time like the present to get out and enjoy our natural surroundings. Although this list is not comprehensive, here are some local wonders that showcase Durham Region’s beauty.

 

Beach, waves and stone on the Waterfront Trail
After a scenic nature walk through the fields and forest of Lynde Shore, the Waterfront Trail ends at the Lake Ontario shoreline. Photo Credit: Britney O’Brien, 2017

 

“Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves.”

—John Muir, Our National Parks

 

Lynde Shore Conservation Area, Whitby Ontario

Lynde Shore is a popular destination for young families, birdwatchers and photography buffs living in Durham Region and neighbouring communities. This 272-hectare conservation area includes Lynde Creek Marsh, The Waterfront Trail, Chickadee Trail and the Cranberry Marsh.

When you visit this conservation area the first thing you will probably notice is the abundance of wildlife. Common critters seen here include raccoons, squirrels, chipmunks, bunnies, deer, waterfowl and a variety of local and migratory birds. As wildlife in this part of town is not especially people shy, so long as you are respectful, you can get up close and personal with the wildlife. Placing some seeds in the palm of your hand will soon have you feeling like a Disney character with Chickadees perching on your outstretched fingers for an afternoon snack.

 

Durham Region Spring
Spring buds at Heber Down Conservation Area. Photo Credit: Britney O’Brien, 2017

Heber Down Conservation Area, Whitby Ontario

Heber Downs is a popular place for dog walkers, hikers, fishing and family picnics in Durham Region. Ranked number 2 on Trip Advisors “Things to do in Whitby” list, Heber Down makes a great day trip. This local 284-hectare beauty contains multiple walking trails, Devil’s Den Pond and a variety of greenery. Where Lynde Shore tends to be bustling with activity, Heber Down has a calm and serene feeling. If you are feeling leisurely, it is definitely the spot you want to be.

 

Darlington Provincial Park, Bowmanville Ontario

Despite living in Oshawa for just over 24 years, I had never ventured to our local Provincial Park until very recently. Now that I have finally seen it, I can’t say enough about this hidden gem! Darlington Provincial Park has 208.82 hectares of land for public enjoyment. It features trails, picnic tables, camping zones, fishing areas and a spacious beach where you can lounge, swim or stack stones. With a Park Store that sells ice cream and other nature necessities, this is a great family friendly location and is perfect for those of you looking for a longer excursion. With so much to do in one location, I guarantee you will want to spend some quality time exploring this park.

Stephen’s Gulch Conservation Area, Bowmanville Ontario 

Marshy waters in nature
View from the nature observation platform, Lynde Shore. Photo Credit Britney O’Brien, 2017

This conservation area bordering Stoper Creek offers 345 acres of picturesque scenery. Visitors can often be found biking or hiking Stephen’s Mill Trail, which winds through the conservation area. With a blend of deciduous and coniferous trees, the forest is a diverse piece of nature that is a treat to look at. The conservation area is open year round, though trails are not maintained during winter months.


Second Marsh Wildlife Area, Oshawa Ontario

The Second Marsh is connected to the Lake Ontario Waterfront trail and is comprised of several boardwalks, viewing platforms and trail systems. As its name suggests, this location does contain marshland and supports a diverse eco-system throughout the 400-hectare plot of land. The marked trails and informational signs that explain local species and their habitat make this a great location for education and outings with children. A popular stopover for migratory birds, birders can often be found enjoying the viewing platforms during migration seasons.

 

McLaughlin Bay Wildlife Reserve, Oshawa Ontario

McLaughlin Bay Wildlife Reserve is made up of a series of 11 trails that connect to the Second Marsh and Darlington Provincial Park. The 41 hectares of trails and viewing platforms are another popular destination for local bird watchers. This site hosts a wide variety of local plants and animals. Free to the public, this reserve is an ideal location for taking a relaxing walk or bike ride. With a rule that encourages you to avoid making excessive noise this seriesof trails is great if you simply want to listen, and enjoy, nature.

Whether you decide on a leisurely stroll, a bike ride or picnic under the trees there is no better time than now to get out and enjoy the outdoors. Before summer is over, I encourage all of you to take some time to enjoy some of Earth’s innate aesthetics. When planning your adventure, be sure to check out the locations’ website before visiting. This will give you an idea of what to expect, including any guidelines you need to follow, fees for entry or parking, and if there are any seasonal events or activities going on.

 

And above all else, enjoy it!

 

5 Things to Look For in a Wellness Chiropractor

 

Choosing a Health Care professional is an incredibly personal decision, and there are many things to consider. If you are ready to start chiropractic care, but are unsure if the chiropractor you have found is right for you and your family, this list is for you. Here are the top 5 things to consider when searching for your dream Wellness Chiropractor!

1. Full Assessment

When the chiropractor you choose does their initial assessment, you should not be expecting to get an adjustment on the same day as your initial visit. If your chiropractor took X-rays or did any other tests such as a full computerized thermal scan, they will need time to mark your X-rays, analyze your case and develop a suitable treatment plan for you. For a wellness chiropractor, the goal is always to find and treat the underlying causes, not just the symptoms you experience as a result.

2. Patient Education

The Latin translation of Doctor is “to teach,” and your Chiropractic Doctor should be educating you on chiropractic care and your health. From explaining their approach, philosophy, and methods, to answering any of your questions in regards to your case; your Chiropractor should be your guide to wellness, teaching you how they can help you achieve and maintain all of your health goals.

3. Lifestyle Approach

Your chiropractor should discuss a lifestyle approach to care, often involving: stretches to build up the muscles supporting your spine, supplements and basic nutritional changes you can make to improve your health, and educating you on the importance of implementing a wellness treatment plan that will optimize your spinal health. A great wellness chiropractor will always discuss anything pertinent to your care that will help you improve your lifestyle and longevity throughout your lifetime.

4. Family Care

A wellness chiropractor should be open to providing care for your entire family, from infants to the elderly, and should encourage you to share the wellness philosophy with your loved ones. Wellness is something that should be enjoyed by everyone from the day they are born, and throughout their lives.

5. Trust

When it comes to putting your health in someone’s hands, the most important deciding factor is simple: trust. Do you trust this person with your care? Can you work with them to improve your lifestyle? Do you understand their philosophy and is it something you would like to bring into your own life? Did you connect with the Doctor you met? If you answered no to most of these questions, then this practitioner may not be for you, and that is ok. Consider the points listed above and use them as a guide to help find the chiropractor that you need.

 

Chiropractic care is a great preventative medicine. You do not necessarily need to be hurting to benefit from Wellness Care. Regular appointments help prevent illness, alleviate stress and optimize the immune system. To find a chiropractor that is right for you, check out The Canadian Chiropractic Associations Find a Chiro App or use Google to find a reputable chiropractor close to home.

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