Tag Archives: Agnes Ramsay

Coping with stress in troubled times

Coping with stress in troubled times

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Coping with stress in troubled times

Stress. We’re told we can’t live with it, and yet we can’t live without it. It’s impossible to have a stress-free life. Good stress gets the job done. It pushes us forward ensuring that we achieve the day to day tasks in our lives, all the way up to accomplishing the greatest of feats.

So, why does stress get such a bad rap? We’ve all heard it, stress kills. Your doctor tells you that you have high blood pressure. Why? Because of stress. Arthritis flaring up… stress. Obesity, depression, diabetes, asthma and Alzheimer’s disease. Stress.

Photo: iStockPhoto.com
Photo: iStockPhoto.com

In our culture, stress is almost a right of passage. We have told ourselves that it proves you are pushing hard and living life to the fullest.

And now stress is pushing the limits more than ever. Since COVID-19, life as we knew it has changed. It is impossible not to be personally affected in some way.

I watched an elderly woman in the grocery store trying to open a plastic bag without being able to lick her fingers. A frustrating experience and for her even more so as she was trying to also hold on to her walker. (I suggested she use the water from the fresh produce.)

The list of possible stress inducing events due to this pandemic is long: You or your children have lost their jobs, your retirement fund decreased in value, you can’t see your loved ones since you’re considered high risk, you scheduled an elective surgery which has since been postponed.

How do we handle all this additional stress?

First, it’s helpful to identify the stress. Remember, stress can be also caused by good things. Changes in our lives may be good, but stressful just the same. With those types of events, however, when they pass, you carry on with your life.

However, when the stress is without a clearly defined ending, as we are now experiencing during the pandemic, we need to develop better coping mechanisms.

This may seem counter-intuitive, but give yourself permission to have some fear. This is normal, given we are all just learning about this disease.

However, manage how much news you expose yourself to. Make sure the media you watch or listen to is informative rather than sensationalistic and relays credible information. Do not let fear control your life. Be mindful of this and find other things to watch and to discuss with your loved ones.

Remind yourself of the skills you’ve used in the past that have helped you through difficult times (and see below for additional ideas). Be kind to yourself and others. New skills can take time to learn.

And make sure that you contact a professional if you are finding that coping mechanisms are not working, and you are feeling overwhelmed.

Ways to cope with stress:

  • Practice mindfulness: Sit in a quiet room with no distractions, take five to 10 deep, slow breaths. Do this daily.
  • Exercise: Get out for walks as much as you are able, do yoga, stretch. There are several great apps for that!
  • Don’t overindulge: In either food or alcohol. If you have more time, use it to create new, healthy recipes.
  • Pick up a new (old) hobby: Cross-stitching, knitting, woodworking… do something with your hands that keeps your mind busy as well.
  • Get enough rest: Go to bed and get up at the same time. Have a pre-sleep routine: Small herbal tea, read a chapter of a book, brush your teeth, wash your face…
  • And stay connected: Make sure you chat with someone every day.
Agnes Ramsay is a Registered Nurse, Personal Trainer and Wellness Coach who specializes in Electric Muscle Stimulation Training.

agnes.ramsay@xbodyworld.com


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Boost your immune system through exercise

Boost your immune system through exercise

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Boost your immune system through exercise

We are living in a new world where terms such as social distancing, lockdown, shelter in place and flattening the curve are all part of our lexicon. COVID-19 is global, effecting all races, socioeconomic status and mostly all ages. However, the aging population is at higher risk for developing serious complications.

Photo: bigstockphoto.com
Photo: bigstockphoto.com

Your first line of defense

The immune system is an intricate response system that even science is continually studying, as it is not fully understood. Your first line of defense is to follow a healthy lifestyle.

  • Do not smoke
  • Diet high in fruits and vegetables
  • Exercise regularly
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • If you drink alcohol, drink in moderation
  • Get adequate sleep
  • Wash hands frequently
  • Minimize stress

We are living in a stressful time where many of our most common de-stressors have been removed – time with family and community, traditional forms of exercise and spiritual venues. Stay connected through technology or your phone. Schedule regular calls or video chats with loved ones. If you are struggling with anxiety or depression, please go to camh.ca for great advice and resources.

Current challenges at the time of writing are that gyms and some outdoor spaces are closed. Even when they reopen, some of us may be understandably nervous to go back to the social life we lived before.

The benefits of exercise

One of the best ways to combat stress is through exercise, as it:

  • Lowers your body’s stress hormones and blood pressure
  • Improves sleep quality, mood, and feelings of well being
  • Increases strength to perform tasks of daily life, thereby increasing confidence and safety
  • Studies support increasing circulation through exercise the immune system functions more readily

When exercising at home, motivation is a challenge:

  • Set a schedule, same time every day
  • List your goals and follow up
  • Have a workout calendar
  • Play upbeat music, no TV
  • Vary between cardiovascular and resistance training
  • Download an app specifically for a mature population or explore YouTube for follow-along videos such as Pocket Yoga, Pilates-Lumowell, Tai Chi for Seniors or Workout Trainer.

Exercise routine

All exercises should be reviewed online for proper form. Never start a new workout routine against your doctor’s advice.

DAY ONE: Cardiovascular focus (go at a pace that gets the heart rate up but allows for you to speak): 20 repetitions x 4 cycles through:

  • Alternating side reaches with squat between
  • Alternating knee to elbow
  • Squat floor-to-ceiling reach
  • High knee standing march
  • Air boxing

DAY TWO: Resistance training focus: Series of the following, 8 to 12 repetitions x 4 cycles

  • Chair squat
  • Wall pushup or floor knee pushup
  • Crunches (not full sit up)
  • Lying hip bridges
  • Side plank
  • Bird dogs
Agnes Ramsay is a Registered Nurse, Personal Trainer and Wellness Coach who specializes in Electric Muscle Stimulation Training.

agnes.ramsay@xbodyworld.com


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BODY & SOUL: Low Intensity - Steady State

BODY & SOUL: Low Intensity – Steady State

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BODY & SOUL: Low Intensity – Steady State

by Agnes Ramsay

Low intensity steady state (LISS) exercises are very effective for those who can’t do high intensity bouts of exercise. It’s low impact, so it’s easy on your joints and it can be done anywhere, at any time. In a previous article, I talked about HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training), which has been trending the last few years. With this form of exercise, you combine periods of high intensity exercises, interspersed with low intensity breaks. While HIIT is extremely effective, it’s not for everyone.

You’re probably quite familiar with the LISS type of work out – walking at a steady cadence, light jogging or swimming. Basically, you can do any type of activity that increases your heart rate by approximately 60 to 80 per cent, for a maximum of 35 to 45 minutes.

Photo, bigstockphoto.com
Photo, bigstockphoto.com

WHO’S IT FOR?

Everyone can use LISS training. For those who are new to fitness, LISS can provide a gateway to getting stronger, and is less intimidating. Someone with no restrictions can do a HIIT training one day, then three days of LISS, and then back to HIIT.

However, if you have restrictions, such as back problems, arthritis, and/ or joint issues, stick to LISS. Your body will eventually adapt, and you won’t reap the benefits, if you do the same exercises over and over. Therefore, ensure that you vary your LISS training with different workouts.

Before you head out, do some dynamic stretching and finish off with some static stretching. For the most effective caloric burn, do it first thing in the morning before you eat. To ensure that you stay on track, schedule it into your day, ask a friend to join you, and switch up your exercises to keep it fun. If timing is an issue, break it up into 15 minute increments – two or three times per day.

TYPES OF LISS TRAINING

  • Fast walk
  • Slow jog
  • Moderate swim
  • Bicycle riding on a flat surface
  • Elliptical/rower at a steady state

WHY DOES IT WORK?

  • LISS can be done on a daily basis, as opposed to HIIT, which requires three to four days of recovery.
  • LISS takes less energy, therefore if you’re on a calorie reduced diet you won’t be starving after a workout.
  • It helps to increase your aerobic health.
  • It’s easier on the joints, which equals fewer injuries.
  • For some, LISS is more agreeable than HIIT, which helps with compliance.

KNOW YOUR TARGET

With LISS, the pace is steady, but constant. You can use a heart-rate monitor to stay in the moderate range or use the talk test. If you can carry on a conversation at the pace you are exercising, then you are in the moderate range.

HOW TO CALCULATE HEART RATE:

For example; if you are 60 years of age, your maximum heart rate is 220 minus your age (60), which equals 180.

Therefore, your LISS heart rate should be 60 to 80 per cent of that – around 108 to 144.

Don’t underestimate the power of getting outside. With LISS, you can do it anywhere, so take the time to smell the roses.

Agnes Ramsay is a Registered Nurse, Personal Trainer and Wellness Coach specializing in Electric Muscle Stimulation Training.

agnes.ramsay@xbodyworld.com


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BODY & SOUL: Spring K.I.S.S.

BODY & SOUL: Spring K.I.S.S.

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BODY & SOUL: Spring K.I.S.S.

by Agnes Ramsay

Keep It Simple and Safe

The winter season, with its cold, icy days, tends to keep us indoors where its warm and cosy, and away from the gym. Spring is definitely in the air, and it’s time to get outdoors. With a heightened enthusiasm to get moving, be cautious that you don’t overdo it or injure yourself.

When it comes to spring fitness, the K.I.S.S. theory is a good guideline.

Photo, bigstockphoto.com
Photo, bigstockphoto.com

KEEP IT SIMPLE

Fitness is all about compliance, so enjoy it. You don’t need to go out and get extra equipment, and it should fit, seamlessly, into your schedule. Start slow with whatever activity you choose. Make a plan, and write it down. Indicate measurable markers for success, whether it’s by inches, weight or milestones. As an example, you might set a goal of walking three kilometres in 20 minutes by the end of the following month. If you stick to your program, you’re more likely to avoid the dreaded – I’ll start next Monday – as there’s nothing to hold you back.

START SLOW

  • For a jogging plan – start with a walk/jog combination
  • If lifting weights – begin with focusing on your form
  • If cycling is your preference – start with a flat trail that is dedicated to bikes.
Prior to physical activity, warm up your muscles with a set of Dynamic Stretching.

  • Arm swings
  • Alternate knees to chest
  • Swing legs front to back, and side to side
  • Long side reaches

KEEP SAFE

Dress for success. From cool mornings, to spring showers or hot afternoons, the weather conditions can vary greatly this time of year. As the saying goes – there’s no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing.

On a damp, drizzly day, wear a good rain coat with reflective tape, grab an umbrella, and make sure that you have good tread on your footwear. If the temperature is hovering around freezing, you might want to avoid slippery sidewalks, so opt for walking around the mall. Rainy days can be invigorating, but take precautions to prevent a fall.

On those hot spring days, schedule activities early in the morning, or when the sun starts to set in the evening. And as a gentle reminder, if out and about between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m., don’t forget your sunscreen and drink lots of fluids. Your skin will thank you.

If cycling, your bike will need a spring check-up to ensure that it’s safe and operating properly. If you feel a bit unsure, find a safe place to mount your bike so that you’re confident with your balance before going on the road and dealing with traffic. And, of course, don’t forget your helmet.

Agnes Ramsay is a Registered Nurse, Personal Trainer and Wellness Coach specializing in Electric Muscle Stimulation Training.

agnes.ramsay@xbodyworld.com


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Body & Soul: Muscle Mass

Body & Soul: Muscle Mass

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Body & Soul: Muscle Mass

by Agnes Ramsay

Age-appropriate strengthening exercises for vulnerable areas

As we age, downsizing (on all levels) is something that most of us look at quite seriously. We find that we don’t need as much space, or all the stuff that we’ve accumulated. In our decision to downsize, we may factor in the preference for single-level living, as opposed to a two-storey residence. While none of us can predict what our requirements might be in the latter part of our lives, having stairs might not be a bad thing. You might be missing an ideal, stay-fit option by going up and down them everyday. Even in her early 90s, my mother would comment on the fact that running up and down the stairs was great exercise.

EXERCISING WITH LIMITATIONS

Arthritic hips, sore knees and bad backs are definitely deterrents when it comes to exercising, and these conditions limit our ability to do certain types of activities. Still, it’s important that we work our muscles at any given opportunity and keep active. Staying fit requires a positive attitude, along with an understanding of how to make adjustments in order to accommodate life’s changes.

Check with your healthcare provider before doing certain exercises, and never exercise through pain.

BACK TO BACK

Resting isn’t always the answer to back problems. To strengthen the back, the muscles need to be activated.

Photo, bigstockphoto.com
Photo, bigstockphoto.com

PARTIAL CRUNCHES: Lie on your back with your knees bent and your hands behind your head. Gently lift your head and your shoulders towards the ceiling. This is a small move that won’t put excess strain on your lower back or neck. Never do standard sit ups.

BIRD DOGS: To gently work the other side of your core, go on your hands and knees. Tighten the core by lifting one leg straight up behind you, and the opposite arm in front of you. Stabilize. Don’t let your back sag or sway. Hold each side for five seconds, and work up to five rounds.

WALL SITTING: This is a great way to exercise your legs, without stressing the spine. It’s also a suitable pose for those with arthritis. Stand 10 to 12 inches away from the wall, and lean back until your back is flat against it. Your knees should be bent at a 90-degree angle. Hold for a 10 count. Start with five repetitions and work up to 12.

ARTHRITIS-FRIENDLY OPTIONS

  • Walk on a flat surface, preferably in the shallow end of a pool. No running.
  • Ride a stationary bike on the easiest setting, and vary the intensity – slightly.
  • Many yoga poses are helpful when doing strength training for your upper body.
  • If you have arthritis in your hips, do not do exercises that cause you to move your leg away from your body.
  • If you have arthritis in your knees, avoid exercises that require quick, lateral movements, such as jumping and racquet sports.
  • You’ll experience more resistance when you exercise in a pool, as water’s buoyancy virtually eliminates the effects of gravity – supporting 90 per cent of the body’s weight for reduced impact and greater flexibility.
Agnes Ramsay is a Registered Nurse, Personal Trainer and Wellness Coach specializing in Electric Muscle Stimulation Training.

agnes.ramsay@xbodyworld.com


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Body & Soul: Dynamic Duo

Body & Soul: Dynamic Duo

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Body & Soul: Dynamic Duo

by Agnes Ramsay

Exercise + Nutrition = Active Immune Booster

Staying healthy throughout the winter months can be a challenge. Even if you take care to wash your hands, use an antibacterial sanitizer and get the flu shot, your immune system can always use an extra boost.

Source: bigstockphoto.com
Source: bigstockphoto.com

Keeping your body strong with proper nutrition and exercise helps to avoid illness at anytime of the year, but it is especially important during the fluctuation of weather patterns over the next few months when we’re most vulnerable to colds and flus.

EXERCISE WITH CAUTION

Exercise increases the number of white blood cells in your body, which are the body’s natural defence in fighting illness. I’m by no means suggesting strenuous exercises or that you become a marathon runner, but simply by taking a brisk 20- to 30-minute walk each day, can dramatically cut down your risk of catching a cold.

To mix it up (or if the weather isn’t conducive), alternate with going to the gym – but don’t overdo it. If you exercise to the point of exhaustion, without letting your body recover, then it becomes a negative stressor, which can compromise your health.

NUTRITION FACTS

An apple a day keeps the doctor away, is actually quite fitting. Proper nutrition helps to keep your immune system strong. If you eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, you are fuelling your body with disease-fighting vitamins and minerals, such as vitamins A, C, B6, D, Folate Acid, Iron, Selenium and Zinc – all of which are widely considered to help lower the risk of a host of ailments. When you eat a variety of foods throughout the day, you have more energy to engage in physical activity, plus it keeps you in that immune boosting zone.

SOLUBLE FIBRE
oat bran
barley
nuts
seeds
lentils
citrus fruits
apples
strawberries
carrots

Source: bigstockphoto.com
Source: bigstockphoto.com

The down side of using supplements, is that you’re not getting the added benefit of fibre. The fibre content found in whole foods not only helps to keep you ‘regular’, but it also strengthens your immune system.

Insoluble fibres tend to have more-bulky traits (for staying regular), like those found in whole grains and flax, as well as vegetables like celery and tomatoes.

Soluble fibres are found in many fruits, nuts, beans and oats. They not only help to control your blood sugar and serum cholesterol, but they also help to reduce inflammation throughout your body, which helps to support your immune system.

Agnes Ramsay is a Registered Nurse, Personal Trainer and Wellness Coach specializing in Electric Muscle Stimulation Training.

agnes.ramsay@xbodyworld.com



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Body & Soul: Schedule in Fitness

Body & Soul: Schedule in Fitness …

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Body & Soul: Schedule in Fitness …

… For a more productive day

by Agnes Ramsay

It’s the time of year for celebration, and with that comes parties and get-togethers. As the days and nights get cooler, we long for comfort food and good company. It’s also the time of year when our stress levels rise, as we attempt to fit it all in.

Not only can it put a strain on our schedule and our finances, but also on our waistlines. Keeping health and wellness in mind may prove to be difficult, but it’s especially important during this busy time. Reframe your priorities, instead of stressing out and giving up on your fitness pursuits – give yourself the gift of time to do something that you enjoy.

Photo, bigstockphoto.com
Photo, bigstockphoto.com

FIT IN FITNESS

Just like scheduling a meeting or an appointment, make a plan as to when you can fit in fitness. On Sunday, take a few minutes to look at the week ahead, and drop in activities at specific times, so that you’ll stick to it.

Devote certain days to a specific exercise, like a walk in the woods, a Zumba or dance class, a visit to the gym, curling – whatever. On those days – no chores allowed. It may be wishful thinking, but having a timetable is very effective. It’s all about the activity and making the commitment to do it.

On chore and work days, or when at the mall or the grocery store, be conscious of parking further away so that you can add more steps to your day, and, of course, take the stairs when you can. Raking the leaves, and taking your dog for a brisk walk, most definitely count as chore-related activities.

If you find that your energy level has tanked by the end of the day, opt for a stroll around the mall, instead of a workout at the gym. It may be necessary to rework your schedule, if you think that starting your day at the gym (rather than ending it there) would prove to be more beneficial, and something that you’ll commit to.

Be realistic, keep yourself organized, stick to your schedule – and constantly remind yourself that you’re worth it.

FITNESS FUN FACTOR

Fitness compliance is substantially increased when you enjoy what you are doing. Get rid of the ‘shoulds’. If you think that you should go to the gym, because you have a membership, you’re putting more pressure on yourself. Perhaps the gym has other programs, like a dance or yoga class, that you’d like better than the treadmill. Look at other alternatives, and, supplement the ‘shoulds’ with ‘I’d rather.’ To up the fun factor, invite friends and family to join you – they’ll also help you to stick to that schedule.

FITNESS REWARDS

Setting goals, and then rewarding yourself, might be just the motivation that you need. Perhaps you want to lose five pounds by December and fit into that party dress. In order to accomplish goals, write them down, and then have a pre-determined reward in mind, like getting a new pair of shoes to go with that dress. Now shape your schedule in order to achieve your goal. It may require planning an additional fitness date, or changing the three-kilometre walk to a jog.

Of course, the biggest reward of all is how you feel, so give yourself the gift of health and wellness this holiday season.


Agnes Ramsay is a Registered Nurse, Personal Trainer and Wellness Coach specializing in Electric Muscle Stimulation Training.

agnes.ramsay@xbodyworld.com


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Body & Soul: Electric Muscle Stimulation

Body & Soul: Electric Muscle Stimulation

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Body & Soul: Electric Muscle Stimulation

Less stress, more strength

Written & Photography by Agnes Ramsay

Ongoing studies show that building muscle is very important for your overall health and wellness. However, physical limitations, an injury, or the lack of time that it takes to build muscle, may contribute to this practice not being high on your priority list.

When my doctor informed me that I have degeneration in my neck and lower back, she added, “you aren’t getting any younger.” I’ve lifted weights for most of my life, but I was now experiencing pain and numbness in my hands. And, to be honest, I was getting somewhat tired of it. As my doctor so succinctly pointed out to me, my chronological age was increasing, which meant that my body wasn’t responding like it used to.

I was introduced to whole body Electric Muscle Stimulation training (EMS) through a client of mine. I learned that EMS was often used for rehabilitation purposes in physiotherapy in the prevention of disuse muscle atrophy, which can occur after musculo-skeletal injuries, such as damage to bones, joints, muscles, ligaments and tendons.

The technology for EMS has been fine-tuned over the years, and is now safe, comfortable and user-friendly. When you think about it, our own nervous systems run on electrical impulses. EMS is something that most people can utilize, and it doesn’t put any stress on the joints or the spine. The practice has been more widely used in Europe over the past 10 years, and they are reporting wonderful success stories.

HOW IT WORKS

EMS, or electromyostimulation, is the elicitation of muscle contraction using electric impulses. In the 70s, the Russians used EMS technology on their athletes to help them to achieve enhanced strength and endurance. Athletes around the world often use EMS for training.

The training that I took involves wearing an ‘esuit’, which looks like something between a swat jacket and a paratrooper outfit. The esuit is then connected to the main ‘brain’, and an experienced trainer titrates all the individual muscle levels. I started with a 20-minute, full body workout once a week. It didn’t take long before I felt, and saw, results. Now more than two years later, the excruciating pain that I used to have in my lower back is a distant memory. I now do it once or twice a week, and at 56 years old, I feel amazing.

STRENGTH TRAINING BENEFITS

  • More muscle is equated with a higher metabolism, which helps to burn more calories, even at rest.
  • Increased muscle, increases bone density.
  • Strong muscles make it easier to perform daily tasks.
  • Overall muscle tone helps to prevent injuries by improving the mechanics of the body.
  • Weight training is a mood elevator.
  • More muscle increases the human growth hormone, which helps to keep you feeling younger.

 

Agnes Ramsay is a Registered Nurse, Personal Trainer and Wellness Coach specializing in Electric Muscle Stimulation Training.

agnesfitness@gmail.com


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Body & Soul: Warm Weather Workouts

Body & Soul: Warm Weather Workouts

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Body & Soul: Warm Weather Workouts

by Agnes Ramsay

Hoping to have more time in July and August to get into shape is often the plan, but the reality of barbecues, day trips and the hot, lazy days of summer has those days, weeks and months flying by. The bike is primed and ready to go and those sneakers are at the ready by the back door for an early morning walk, but once the ‘too’s’ set in, the best of intentions fly out the window – it’s too hot, it’s too humid, it’s too boring or you’re too busy.

Three years ago, I got a spring tune-up on my bike, but after riding it once, it was too much effort to get it down from its hook in the garage. The more I thought about it, I realized that I was headed down the wrong path – figuratively and literally. It wouldn’t make sense for me to advise you to take up skateboarding as a fitness activity if you’re not going to be compliant – as compliance is the key to any fitness regime.

It’s important to find new ways to motivate ourselves. The latest rage is fitness trackers. Most of us love to receive feedback (how many steps?) and incentive (you win virtual rewards and can compete against others). Use these devices if they work for you, but it’s important to add in the fun factor, as that’s what’s going to keep you going. Often it’s the tried and true activities that are the most enjoyable.

Photo, bigstockphoto.com
Photo, bigstockphoto.com

WALKING

Starting with your own neighbourhood, figure out several routes with varying distances. Write them down across the top of a page with the directions and distance. Each time you do one, record the date and how long it took. You can then track your improvement over time.

HIKING

Pick a predetermined series of Ontario hikes. There are so many choices, so pick several that are appropriate to your skill level to do over the course of the summer. Write them down, and preplan your days to revolve around the hike.

BIKING

There are some great old railway trails in Ontario. If you haven’t biked in years, this is a safe way to get back into it. Remember, you never forget how to ride a bike. Plan a weekly ride by checking out the following: ontariobiketrails.com/rail-trails/ and webhome.idirect.com/~brown/

ONTARIO HIKES

◆ Rideau Canal Trail, Ottawa

◆ Bruce Trail (choose sections from
800 kilometres of trails)

◆ Niagara Parks Trail, Niagara-onthe-
Lake

◆ Bluff Trail, Awenda Provincial Park

◆ Durham Forest, York Region

SHAKE IT UP

◆ Play tennis on a deserted court

◆ Pick fresh berries

◆ Rent a kayak on a local lake

◆ Volunteer to do tree planting

◆ Go bowling in an air conditioned alley

HOT WEATHER TIPS

◆ Avoid the mid-day heat and do
activities early or later in the day

◆ Drink lots of water

◆ Wear sunblock and a hat

◆ Dress in light clothing

◆ Rest in a shaded or air conditioned
area if you have any heat-related
symptoms, such as dizziness,
headache, nausea or muscle cramps.

 

Agnes Ramsay is a Registered Nurse, Personal Trainer and Wellness Coach specializing in Electric Muscle Stimulation Training.

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Body & Soul: A Healthy Pleasure - Stay fit while travelling

Body & Soul: A Healthy Pleasure

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Body & Soul: A Healthy Pleasure

by Agnes Ramsay

Photo, (top) bigstock.com

Stay fit while travelling

Virtual Reality Technology is very realistic. I was amazed by its capabilities as it looked, and felt, like I was wandering around a beautiful vineyard in France. However, as good as the technology is, it still isn’t anywhere close to the real deal. Even when interacting with business colleagues, nothing, yet, has truly replaced real face time. And while the virtual vineyard looked lovely, I’d prefer to actually experience it, so that all my senses are stimulated.

FIND SOLUTIONS

I’m a big fan of travelling, but it can wreak havoc on your daily fitness routine. If you are traveling for pleasure, try to build your holiday around activities. For the more active, this may include hiking excursions, or simply walking around the cities that you’re visiting. Exploring different cultures is always best on foot. I’m never concerned when my clients go on this type of vacation as they don’t need to make an additional effort to exercise – it’s built into the trip by seeing the sights.

Pack your pedometer of choice and delight in all the steps that you’re taking. Make sure that you pack good walking shoes – heels are never your friend on cobblestone streets. And don’t forget the walking poles.

If you are going south for a much-needed R&R holiday, ensure that walking becomes part of your daily routine. Get up early for a brisk walk on the beach before it gets too hot. Don’t forget to take a bottle of water, and wear a hat and sunblock. Most resorts offer other activities like kayaking, beach volleyball and swimming. And many are so large that simply walking everywhere will give you a daily workout.

Personally, I tend to avoid the gyms when travelling south, because I’d prefer to be outdoors. However, if the heat is a concern, a short gym visit is a great option – you are on holidays, after all.

PLAN A HITT

HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) is another possibilty. Dr. Martin Gibala, a professor of kinesiology at McMaster University, has done many studies on HIIT. She’s found that short bursts of high intensity exercise, followed by periods of moderate intensity, is remarkably effective – 10 to 15 minutes is enough.

When on business, HIIT training is highly recommended. Time is often at a premium, and you may not be booked into a hotel with a gym. Nor may you be in an area that’s conducive to walking. HIIT training can be done in your room.

HIIT TRAINING

  • Two- to three-minute warm up (light jogging on the spot).
  • High intensity activity for 20 seconds, then stepping on the spot for 40 seconds. Repeat circuit four to eight times.
  • Two- to three-minute cool down (stepping on the spot).

HIGH INTENSITY ACTIVITIES*

  • Jumping jacks
  • Mountain climbers
  • Squat jumps
  • Running man
  • Spider man
  • Burpees
  • Reverse lunges
  • High knee raise

*Check online videos for proper form.


Agnes Ramsay is a Registered Nurse, Personal Trainer and Wellness Coach specializing in Electric Muscle Stimulation Training.

agnesfitness.com


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