5 Creative Ways to Exercise Outside in the Winter

For outdoor lovers, summer may seem like an easier time to exercise outside.

winter exercise calgary

Although the colder outdoor temperatures may seem daunting, there are various activities that can be fun for the whole family, and get your body temperature up too!

Last year we wrote a post about ways to get exercise in the winter. Our suggestions were skiing and snowboarding, tobogganing and skating.

This year we decided to brainstorm a few more fun activities for the family to do outside.

You’ll be sure to stay warm doing them! Take a look:

Winter exercise calgary

Snowshoeing and Cross Country Skiing

Alberta is full of great pathway systems for hiking and biking in the summer. In the winter these pathways can be used for snowshoeing and cross country-skiing.

These excellent cardio-vascular exercises will get your heart rate up and provide you with necessary fresh air to revitalize. Not-to-mention they are a great way to see some of the beautiful landscape in Alberta.

Rent snow shoes or skis from local outfitters (snow shoe price is around $20/day per pair, skis are roughly the same) or buy pairs new or used if you plan on investing some time into the sport.

The University of Calgary Outdoor Centre has great rates and a load of various rental equipment available.

For trail information visit albertaparks.ca/kananaskis-country/information-facilities/trails.aspx.

Winter Hiking near calgary

Winter Hiking

There are many hikes open throughout the winter that, when hiked in the winter opposed to the summer, provide a totally different experience with breathtaking vistas.

Johnson Canyon Ice Walk outside of Banff, AB is a great example. The frozen waterfall sparkles and glistens.

Grotto Canyon outside of Canmore, AB is another popular winter hike. Crampons are suggested and again, can be rented from outdoor gear stores and rental shops for $10/day.

Calgary winter exercise

Winter Walks

For most of the year Albertans curse at the dry climate that requires us to apply more moisturizer than in any other province. In winter, however the dry climate can be a blessing because it means that despite low freezing temperatures, a few layers of clothes and some bundling up provides necessary warmth to be outside.

Winter walks is one of the easiest and least expensive ways to exercise in the winter. Bundle appropriately and you may find that you actually work up a sweat underneath all the gear as you walk through your neighbourhood or local parks.

Walking is excellent for heart-health, especially when done regularly.

Canmore Dog sledding

Dog Sled Racing

This seems more like a once in a lifetime opportunity kind-of-thing, but if you ever get a chance dog sledding is a fun and exciting activity to treat the adventurous family to.

Didsbury, south of Red Deer, is well known as one of the top dog-sled racing circuits. Take a short road trip to experience it for yourself.

This year mushers will be coming from all over the world to compete in the Rosebud Run Dogsled Classic, on Dec 7 and 8, 2013.

This spectator’s event wouldn’t be much exercise, however take a trip with a touring company and you’ll get your day’s fun outside. Two-hour, half-day or full-day mushing available out of Canmore, AB. Check out snowyowltours.com, howlingdogtours.com or maddogsexpidition.ca.

Snow shovelling calgary exercise

Shovelling Walks

Snow-shovelling is a great work-out! It works the arms and legs and cardio as well just keep good posture remember.

If you are outside shovelling your walk, extend the work-out by shovelling your neighbour’s walk also. Not only will you get in your neighbour’s good-books, you will get some extra exercise in as well.

It is great karma and good for your body!

This is also a great way for kids to make some extra allowance money, or start up a little part-time job. Have them pitch the idea to neighbours for $5-10 a shovel or a fixed rate every month. What a great opportunity to teach them a little entrepreneurship.

Snowball Fight Cat

Do you have any other suggestions on fun winter exercise activities? Share with us your families favourite outdoor activities!

Fast, Fun and Fresh Food Ideas For Back to School

September is upon us! Time to gather our books, sneakers, and back to school outfits.

As we all get back to our September routines and our schedules start to become busier, it is important to ensure we are getting proper nutrients in our diets.

We have compiled some fast and fun food ideas that are nutritious and delicious. Take a peak below:

Cup O’ Veggies

In the bottom of a cup add 2 tbsp of veggie dip. Here is a recipe for a yummy homemade dip:

Herb Yogurt Dip

Herbed Yogurt Dip

Ingredients

  • 1 cup plain yogurt (Greek-style preferred)
  • 1 tbsp green onion (minced, white and light green parts only)
  • 3 tbsps flat leaf parsley (finely chopped)
  • 1 tbsp fresh dill (chopped)
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh chives
  • 1 tbsp fresh basil (thinly-sliced)
  • 1 tsp sherry vinegar
  • 1 tsp fresh lemon juice
  • salt
  • pepper

Mix ingredients together and serve as dip.

Recipe courtesy of http://www.yummly.com/recipe/Herbed-yogurt-dip-361151?columns=4&position=11%2F61

Check out www.yummly.com for more healthy dip ideas.

Cup of Veggies dip

After placing a scoop of dip in the bottom of a cup slice up carrots, cucumber and celery into sticks and place it in the cup, directly in the dip. This way little fingers can grab the clean end of the sticks out and the bottom will already have dip on it.

This minimizes potential messiness.

Ants on a Log

Ants on a log

Cut your celery sticks into 2-3 inches in length. Fill the celery cavity with almond butter or peanut butter. Place raisins in almond/peanut butter as if small ants crawling on a log. (Almond butter is a good alternative to peanut butter to avoid triggering other kids with peanut allergies, and it’s full of protein)

This snack idea stays pretty fresh in a lunch bag throughout the day.

Fruit Skewers

Fruit Skewers

Cut up an array of different fruits strawberries, watermelon cubes, grapes. Stick 3-5 pieces on a skewer to make colourful fruit sticks.

A yogurt fruit dip can be made to accompany the fruit skewers.

Here is a fruit dip recipe:

  • 1 Cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 2 tbsp honey or brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp lime juice
  • Sprinkle with cinnamon

Homemade Potato Chips

Potato Chips

Simply slice a midsize potato thinly the long way into round pieces. Toss lightly in olive oil and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Bake at 425o C for 10-12 minutes or until crispy.

You can make as large a batch as you want and store for lunches throughout the week.

How about Breakfast Ideas?

Do you find that it is hard sometimes to feed your children breakfast before they leave the house? Some people have a lethargic morning appetite.

Send them off to school with Breakfast in a Jar. This can be made the night before and is easy to transport in a bag.

Breakfast in a Jar

BLUEBERRY

  • 1/4 cup rolled oats( not instant, just regular oats)
  • 1/3 cup coconut milk
  • 1/4 cup almond yogurt( or coconut yogurt if nut allergy)
  • 1 tsp chia seeds,1 tsp hemp seeds, 1 tsp buckwheat( or QIA cereal from amaranth
  • or Costco sells it to)
  • 1 tsp organic maple syrup
  • Fill the rest with wild organic blueberries,

Mix all together and refrigerate.

MANGO

  • 1/4 cup rolled oats( gluten free)
  • 1/3 cup coconut milk
  • 1/4 cup almond yogurt- vanilla or plain( I like vanilla)
  • 1.5 tsp chia seeds
  • 1/4 tsp pure almond extract
  • 1 tsp raw honey
  • mangoes- frozen, organic

Mix all together and refrigerate.

CHOCOLATE BANANA

  • 1/4 cup rolled oats
  • 1/3 cup coconut milk
  • 1/4 cup almond yogurt
  • 1.5 tsp chia seeds, 1.5 tsp hemp seeds
  • 1 tbsp raw organic cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp raw honey
  • 1/4 cup diced banana

Mix all together and refrigerate.

You can pretty well substitute your favorite fruit with receipies above. Get creative with ingredients your family enjoys.

Healthy Breakfasts

Another way to help with the morning appetite issue, have your kids sip warm water with lemon in the morning. This kick starts the metabolism.

What are your families favorite fast, fun and fresh snack ideas? We would love to hear!

How to Move from Back to School Blues to Back to School Bliss

It doesn’t take long after august long weekend for back to school signs to go up everywhere you look.

Back to School Tips

It seems summer break began only a short time ago and already we are exposed to back to school marketing, and social pressures to get organized for September.

With a full schedule looming for parents and kids, not to mention potential stress around kids changing schools, school transportation, paying for school supplies, etc., how can you make the most out of this time rather than let back to school blues settle in?

The American Psychological Association suggests the following:

Run through the school routine with your family

Set aside some time to talk as a family about the school routine. What time will everyone wake up at? How will kids get to and from school? What kind of lunches would they like that will be kid friendly and nourishing?

Discussing the routine together will ease everyone’s mind, removing fear of the unknown and helping to build a vision.

Get into the habit of going to bed early. Everyone should adjust their sleep schedule back too early to bed, early to rise, making the transition easier when school starts.

Empathize with your kids

Don’t overlook anxiety they might be feeling about change in the school year to come. New friends, potentially new schools; talk with your kids about how they are feeling to ease fear and have a better understanding of where they are at emotionally.

Back to School Advice

Get to know your neighbors and your community

Community can be such an essential support factor. Getting to know the other kids in the neighborhood before school starts is a great way for kids to start to feel comfortable with the people they go to school with. Also, parents can support one another with before and after school care and car-pooling.

Many community associations provide activities for families throughout the summer. Utilize these events as opportunities to get out there and meet people in your neighborhood.

As school gets closer here are some additional tips:

Eat right

Getting into good eating habits can go a long way. Make sure everyone eats a healthy breakfast in the morning and packs a good hearty lunch.

Back to school lunch tips

Pack the night before

Have everyone pack their school bags the night before and put them near the front door. This way there is less running around in the morning and less chance of forgetting something.

Oprah suggests:

Create a back to school tradition that is fun and exciting like a barbeque or an annual visit to the water-slide park, or family game night.

This will build excitement and a sense of celebration for the coming school year.

Seek expert advice if you need help

If, throughout the year you are feeling overwhelmed and need the help of an expert, reach out for professional support. Self-help can be very beneficial from Psychology, to massage therapy. Look for a wellness centre near you.

Logo

Above All

Keep a positive perspective. The new school year holds so many exciting opportunities and experiences. Celebrate with each other every step of the way!

Do you have any tips or suggestions on strategies your family uses for back to school bliss? Share with us!

How to Support your Family’s Health Post-Flood

Now that Calgary is in full-cleanup mode following the flood of a century we would like to offer support in providing information on ways to keep your family healthy post-flood.

Calgary Post flood health

Issues of concern specifically are mosquitos and mold.

We all know the mosquitos were bad to begin with early this season, and now with excessive water levels and water damage those squiters are going to be large and in charge.

Calgary mosquitosHere are a couple natural ways to fend off those pesky biters.

 

  1. Essential Oils – Citronella, lemon, sandalwood, apply to either clothing and/or skin in diluted liquid form, or burn a citronella, lemon or sandalwood candle near where you are sitting.

 

  1. Vitamin B  – Patches and supplementation

 

Vitamin B metabolizes the body which reduces human odors. It’s the way we smell that attracts insects so when we reduce our human odor with Vitamin B and essential oils the mosquitos stay at bay.

Patches can be purchased (we have them at Docere Wellness Centre for $10.95). You simply apply them directly to your skin an hour or two before going outside and you can leave it on all day. Not only will you keep bugs away you will benefit from more vitamin B in your body.

Natural Mosquito repellant

If the mosquito gets the best of you there are a number of natural ways to treat the bite, here are five we like:

  1. Organic Apple Cider Vinegar – apply a small amount to bite
  2. Aloe Vera – a very cool and soothing remedy. Helps ease the itch and heal the bite
  3. Essential Oils – tea tree oil, rosemary, neem, lavender, witch hazel or cedar oil –dilute a small amount with water and dab on bite
  4. Salt Paste – mix himilayan rock salt with water and mix into a paste. Apply to affected area
  5. Lemon Juice – helps to calm the itch and prevent infection

Natural mosquito repellant

Now let’s talk about MOLD! Ick!

It’s green, or black, and fuzzy, and it’s no one’s friend. Especially if you are allergic to it!

With water damage in many homes it’s likely mold will develop until restoration can be underway.

Mold allergies

In the meantime there are naturally remedies for allergy support with mold.

There are homeopathic treatments available for mold allergies as well at acupressure and acupuncture allergy elimination techniques.  NAET is one technique Dr. Meghji practices at Docere Wellness Centre.

Visit our website or NAET Canada for information on NAET.

Mold Allergies

Up your Vitamin D dosage. Spend time outside in the sun. Vitamin D has been found to reduce the production of protein response in the body to mold as well as increase production of proteins that promote tolerance to it.

abflood yycflood

Here at Docere Wellness Centre we send our best wishes to those whose homes and lives have been affected by the flood.

If you have health questions or concerns please contact us via Facebook, twitter or email info@docerewellness.com.

How to Make Good Food Choices When Traveling

Travel is of paramount importance to families during the summer. Finally, time to relax, enjoy each other’s company and take a break from the rigmarole of everyday routine.

Healthy road trip food

No school, no work, just fun in the sun!

Despite the care-free attitude summer holiday and travel gives us, finding healthy food while traveling can prove to be a rigorous task.

You take such care throughout the year to plan healthy eating for your family, so how can you continue the trend when you are on the road?

Healthy food on the go

Start by allowing yourself a bit of guilt-free leeway. You can try your best but do not stress or feel guilty if there are days where fast food and a couple of margaritas by the pool get the best of you. Guilt ads stress to the mixture which attacks your adrenal system and leaves you worse off.

So enjoy!

Healthy travel food

Secondly, do your best. There are easy ways to mitigate the amount of unhealthy food consumed, which not only keeps your body healthy it also helps keep the bank account healthy.

Start by researching ahead of time where the local markets and healthy restaurants are, and plan your routes accordingly. You will probably find some places that inspire you that you are keen to experience!

Healthy picknick ideas

Feel free to ask the locals where the healthy, fresh spots are. They will be able to direct you to places you may otherwise never find, and you will get a real feel of the local culture as well!

If you are traveling by car pack a cooler with snacks; that way you avoid spending so much on the gas station munchies. Pack sandwiches, granola bars, fruit, seeds, nuts, dark chocolate, salads and dried fruit.

Healthy road trip food

Stay hydrated! Drink lots of water while you are driving, flying, hiking, biking, swimming, dancing, however you are moving.

Hydration

Traveling by air? Bring an empty water bottle in your carry-on luggage and fill it at a fountain once you go through security – or have the flight staff fill it for you on the plane. This will be a cost savings as you won’t need to purchase bottled water. Those $3.67 water bottle purchases add up quickly for a single person, not to mention a family. Also you can find water bottles that filter the water for you, which is an added bonus if you want to go the extra step to ensure you are drinking cleaner water.

Last summer Well and Good NYC published an article titled: How to eat healthy on the road, in the airport, and at the beach.

They also had some similar tips. Author Jared Koch from Founder and CEO of Clean Plates mentioned to pack breakfast food as the first meal of the day is so important. He suggested packets of oatmeal, and almonds, which can be made quite easily, even in a hotel room, with hot water and a paper cup (or you can pack dishes if you are really serious).

Travel vitamins

The article also suggested bringing vitamins along. They are easy to pack and will keep everyone’s immune systems strong.

Mostly, don’t be afraid to be curious and explore the environment, not just settle for the first restaurant you set your sights on. By packing small snacks, you can curb the hunger pangs while you hunt for the diamond in the rough!

Happy healthy summer

Enjoy your travels this summer! Be safe and have fun!

10 Quick and Easy Techniques to Reduce Stress and Increase Happiness

Is this your life?

You’re a mom with three kids, who are all involved in extracurricular activities, your husband is chair of the local rotary club and you are working almost full-time on your home-based business, managing everyone’s schedules and the household. Oh and you have a dog, cat, hamster, ferret, and potbelly pig.

Help for a stress

Wow, what a whirlwind!

Let’s face it, we live in an incredible society that allows us to create the lives we truly want to live, careers, families, travel. Yet in the midst of creation is often chaos. As opportunities and commitments in our lives increase often, so too, does stress.

How is it that some people seem to be able to balance it all in this ever changing, fast paced society?

There are quick, simple ways to mitigate stress and increase happiness, which I believe everyone wants. I know I do.

Let’s take a look at a few of them:

Reduce stress

1. Pink Himalayan Rock Salt In Water In the Morning
Ok, I know this is quite an interesting way to start off this list of tips. You are probably already forming an opinion in your mind that this will be some kind of new-aggie, jump on the lasted bandwagon list of tips, however this is truly a great way to start your day.

Mix ½ tsp Pink Himalayan Rock Salt in a large glass of water. Mix it the night before and put it beside your bed. Drink it when you first wake up.

The mixture helps to boost start your adrenals, which over the course of the day reduces adrenal stress. It energizes the body for up to 24 hours, stimulates the metabolism, flushes out heavy metals in the body and helps protein formation, nail and hair growth. It also helps boost concentration and regulate sleep.

Meditation to reduce stress

2. 5, 10 or 15 Minute Meditation
Whether morning, noon or evening, a quick meditation or breathing exercise centres our energy and allows us to take a moment to focus in on what is really important, rather than all the little checklists and details we are trying to accomplish in our day.

Even 5 minutes of stopping, breathing and relaxing can have a momentous impact on our ability to bring more peace and calm into our mindset.

Set up a spot at home or find a comfortable and private area at work, where you can visit daily for a quick meditation or check-in with yourself.

exercise to reduce stress

3. Exercise
Get off the bus two or three stops before your stop, or walk to get those few quick grocery items for dinner rather than driving. Trying to organize time to get together with a friend? Suggest a walk in the park or a yoga class followed by tea. Use 30 minutes of lunch hour to go for a walk or run.

There are lots of ways to incorporate even a little bit more exercise into our routines. Exercise helps increase our metabolic rate and the happy hormones in our bodies.

warm bath to reduce stress

4. Self-care
This is really important, and often as a caregiver, mother, father, partner, business owner, we give, give, give all day long and unless we take time to replenish we can be left feeling like our gas tank is on empty.

Ways to do this are innumerable; have a bath with Epson salts and candles, go for a Reiki or energy work treatment or a massage, take a personal growth class or go see a motivational speaker.

Take time to touch in with your outlet for spirituality, be it church, hiking in the mountains or going on a retreat in Sedona. Do it! Make time for the inner-scrubbing just like we make time for having a shower and brushing our teeth.

reading to reduce stress

5. Recreation
We often spend much of our day working, making an income, taking care of our needs, yet it is just as important to enjoy our lives and have fun!

Take time each week to do something you love. Read, paint, play the piano, knit, go for a hike with the family, go horseback riding, heck … enjoy yourself! And I mean take part in an activity you love, other than drinking a bottle of red wine on the couch while watching The Bachelorette.

affermation to reduce stress

6. Ask For an Affirmation
Feeling like you need a boost in self-worth? Ask someone you trust and love to tell you what they love and appreciate about you. Warm fuzzies boost our endorphins resulting in feelings of positivity and creativity. Sometimes we just need to be seen by someone we love.

journaling to reduce stress

7. Journal
Keep a note book with you or download an app for your iPad or smartphone, and in a moment of stress pull it out and take a few notes about what triggered the stress and what you may be feeling. Patterns will emerge over time and the source of your triggers will become apparent. Carl Jung said “Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves.” From there you can begin to become an observer of your life and objectively stop unhelpful stories you may tell yourself in their tracks.

Hug to reduce stress

8. Ask for a Hug
This one is similar to # 6. Have you ever read the book The Five Love Languages? Author Gary Chapman writes that people express love in five ways; Physical touch, acts of service, gifts, words of affirmation and quality time.

The first one, physical touch can sometimes lack throughout our day. Feeling like boosting your love engine? Ask for a hug, a real long, lingering hug from your kids, your partner or your friend. The sensory stimulation can sometimes be all we need to melt any tension and help us feel relaxed in our own skin.

Eating to reduce stress

9. Eat Nuts
I have a friend who becomes extremely grumpy when she is hungry. I am sure you know someone like that, maybe it’s you!

Hunger can cause emotional fluctuations and perceived stress.

One way to avoid this is to carry a quick snack or simple protein such as Spiced Almonds in your purse. Throughout the day, when you feel the hunger urge arising, stop and have a handful of nuts.

This will keep your body’s sugar levels more steady, avoiding the spikes and dips, resulting in a more even-tempered day.

dream to reduce stress

10. Dream
“A dream is a wish your heart makes” – When I was growing up this was the message Cinderella told my generation … Dream!

A dream is a wish your heart makes … FOR A REASON! It’s because there was a seed of longing placed in your heart. Nurture it, let it flourish and grow.

Make a game of it; at family dinner share a dream with each other, let it be outrageous. Encourage each other to go for your dreams.

Dreams and goals help us move closer to the lives we truly want and they give us hope and inspiration.

Above all … Be kind to yourself. If you are trying out any number of these tips be sure to do them with a mindset of kindness and gratitude. Our perspective can be the sole catalyst to the change we want to see!


Do you have a tip you want to share about how to reduce stress and increase happiness? Please do tell! Also let us know if you try any of these and how they are working for you.

For more information on a holistic approach to wellness visit our Facebook and Twitter accounts!

Health Fusion 2013

The Canadian Association of Naturopathic Doctors presents Health Fusion 2013.

From June 7-9, 2013, in Ottawa, Canada, CAND presents Doctors Connect: The Integrative Treatment of Chronic Inflammatory Conditions.

Canada Health Fusion 2013

The conference will host licensed health care professionals and students as they come together to explore key research and findings on the topic of assessment, diagnosis and treatment options for chronic inflammatory conditions.

Interactive breakout sessions will take place over the three-day conference outlining topics such as, Exploring the Frontiers of Inflammation: newly discovered triggers of the inflammatory response, presented by Dr. David Lescheid, PhD, ND, The Role of Herbs in Pain Management for Common Chronic Disorders, presented by Kerry Bone, B.Sc, Dip Phyto, and An Integrative Solution to Inflammatory Bowel Disease, presented by Dr. Neil McKinney, ND, among many other presentations.

Inflammation

In accordance with the conference, Dr. Brian Goldman, M.D. will be presenting at a public event Friday evening called Your Body Your Choice, on the topic of becoming an informed healthcare consumer.
Dr. Goldman, MD, Mount Sinai ER Doctor, Medical Watchdog, Author and CBC Radio Host, with “The Straight Goods on Your Health Care”, will discuss chronic conditions and the challenges the current health care system has in dealing with chronic disease.

Your Body Your Choice

He will address a preventative approach to wellness, highlighting how to personalize care and engage in disease prevention, discussing how Naturopathic Doctors are improving the health of Canadians and providing support educating and maintaining health and wellness.

While the conference and aforementioned public event takes place in Ottawa, we are writing about it to highlight the national scope of education and practice of Naturopathic Medicine.

Naturopathic Doctors Medicine

Having just seen the completion of Naturopathic Medicine week May 6-12, 2013, Health Fusion 2013 is timely in supporting the momentum of Naturopathic treatment education.

Naturopathic medicine Canada

We believe in wellness education and empowering families to take action and prevention in their wellness, living long, happy healthy lives.

For more information on the issues facing Canada’s medical profession read Dr. Brian Goldman’s book, The Night Shift.

For more information on Naturopathic Medicine and a holistic approach to wellness visit our Facebook and Twitter accounts!