Creating a Healthier Lifestyle

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The Covid-19 pandemic has upset the habits and routines of many people.  Staying safe and healthy has become a constant concern. The effects of the pandemic are taking a toll on people’s health, both mental and physical.   It is more important than ever to eat right, stay active, and do things that make you happy. When it comes to creating a healthier lifestyle for yourself, getting started is the hardest part.  Here are a few tips to help you navigate all the information available on diet, hobbies, and fitness!

What You Need to Know

  1. Diets-You Are What You Eat!

Health starts with what you are eating, and it is important to follow evidence-based nutritional sources.  Fad diets are running rampant on the internet and it can be easy to get lost in the promises some of these diets make. Paleo diet, Keto diet, Atkins diet, Raw diet, South Beach diet, to name a few, all make promises of results that may be unrealistic. People are always looking for a quick fix so it can be easy to be swooned by the hype of the diet of the moment.  Do not fall into fad diet traps that promise immediate weight loss with minimal effort. As a rule, you should avoid any of the following:

  • Diets that promise rapid results
  • Diets that claim you can eat whatever you want
  • Diets that cut out specific food groups entirely
  • Diets that require you to skip meals or replace meals with a product

Eating a healthy diet does not need to be complicated or regimented.  Making small and sustainable changes to your eating habits will ensure that you stay on track and meet your goals.  Canada’s Food Guide recommends that you simply choose to eat mostly fresh foods that include plenty of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and protein. 

The internet is overwhelmed with nutritional information.  Make sure that whatever claims a source is making are backed up by science and that the publication is showing the sources they used to compile the information.

Here are a few evidence-based nutrition sources to check out:  Canada Food Guide, Health Canada, Dieticians of Canada, and Nutritional Link Service

  • Hobbies

Spending a lot of time at home can be hard on the head if you do not have a hobby or two to occupy your mind.   Covid-19 restrictions have most of us stuck at home and people have gotten creative about keeping themselves busy.  People have taken to things such as breadmaking, sewing, gardening, learning an instrument, virtual book clubs, and other do-it-from-home activities.

The internet is rich with tutorials and forums that allow you to become a part of vast communities of likeminded people. Looking for something more local?  Most municipalities have a recreation department that are busy keeping people entertained at home; you just must know where to look.   Check out town websites, library websites, and community centers to see what they are offering.  In some regions, there may even be opportunities to gather with others to talk about, work on, or develop new hobbies. 

  • Exercise

Starting a fitness routine may be one of the best things you can do for your health.  Physical activity, even in small amounts, can reduce your risk of disease, help you lose weight, have profound effects on your mental health, and even improve your quality of sleep!  So how do you get started? 

Much like dieting, the internet is teeming with fitness pages, accounts, and how-to’s. It can be hard to know where to begin and it is easy to feel overwhelmed.   The first step is identifying what you think you would enjoy. Below are some of the most popular ways people are working on their fitness:

2. Cross-fit

Cross-fit is a type of High Intensity Interval Training that focuses on performing functional movements at high intensity level.   That may sound intimidating but many of the workouts are group workouts that include people of all abilities. This may a be a great start for many people as it provides an encouraging group of people that will help you stay on track and stay committed.

  • Yoga

Yoga has been popular for a very long time and is a great low impact activity.  Yoga focuses on body and mind, with lots of emphasis on breathing and stretching.  Yoga is something that you can do at home easily as there is very little, if any, equipment needed!

  • Spin

Spin classes are huge right now and do not seem to be going anywhere any time soon.   Usually, spin is taught at a facility in a group setting with an instructor to encourage and lead the class.    If you are unable to attend a spin class due to Covid-19 restrictions, there are stationary bikes on the market now that have spin classes built right into them. 

  • Running

Running communities are present almost everywhere.   This makes a great starter activity.  It is easy to find running groups near you that offer learn-to-run programs to help get you started.  Running can be a very social sport which is great for both your physical and mental health.

Bottom Line

Sometimes organized sport and fitness can be a little intense and that is okay, because there are so many ways to get active without having to commit to one thing.  Walking, hiking, skating, intermural sports, pickup leagues, tennis… these are all fantastic ways to start moving in a way that is fun and less intimidating.  Regardless of what you choose to do, always remember to work within your limits and listen to your body.  If you have health concerns, it is a good idea to talk to your doctor before engaging in a new fitness regime.

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Disclaimer

This information is designed to educate and inform you of financial strategies and products currently available. As each individual’s circumstances differ, it is important to review the suitability of these concepts for your particular needs with a Qualified Financial Advisor.