fitness corner golf   As I write this the Olympics have started and Canada is at top of the list with the most medals!! I love the Olympics! So exciting and so inspiring! Hopefully watching those young, fit athletes has inspired you to leave the television for a bit to improve your own fitness. I’m betting that all the beautiful snow has not left yet as you read this so a chance to enjoy winter sports is still available. Grab that opportunity or, now is also the time to start getting fit for golf.
    Core strengthening is the best thing you can do for your golf game. The second best thing you can do is improving flexibility. A strong core powers the swing. A strong core can save your shoulders from injury. Flexibility in the spine and shoulders will improve your range of motion and therefore your swing. Programs such as pilates and yoga will be very beneficial for you as a golfer. Instructors should have a wide variety of core strengthening exercises. You won’t have to do the brain work. Don’t like classes or can’t fit them into your schedule?  Hire a personal trainer to give you a core strengthening program to workout in a weight room or at home. The few exercises following here, done regularly, will be very beneficial to your golf game come spring. Which might take awhile this year.   Continue reading
Healthy eating womanWorld Diabetes Day falls in November each year. This is one day dedicated to raising awareness of the disease considered to be a global epidemic. Diabetes affects more than 250 million people world wide. If this disease is mismanaged or left untreated it will eventually cause complications in all areas of the body. Blindness, heart and kidney disease and amputations due to circulation problems are all complications of diabetes. It is now also thought of as a contributor to Alzheimer’s disease. Not good.
    While type I or juvenile diabetes is non-preventable, type II (non-insulin dependent) which makes up 90% of all diabetes cases, is very preventable and even reversible through maintaining a healthy diet and regular exercise schedule. If your physician has ever told you that your blood sugar levels are elevated or that you are a “borderline diabetic” there is much you can do to lower those levels and therefore lessen the associated health risks. Simply by keeping meal portion sizes small to moderate, consuming healthy, quality calorie foods and participating in moderate level activity on a regular basis you can control type II diabetes. Continue reading

terry fox 3Sunday September 15th is the 33rd annual Terry Fox Run. I’m sure many of you already know that Terry Fox was a very determined, young, man who having lost his leg to cancer, set out to run across our entire country to raise funds for awareness and research into that, often, devastating disease. Do you know all of his story?

Following a minor car accident in November 1976, Terry was left with a sore right knee. He mostly ignored the pain, since he was an athlete he was used to it, but when it continued into February of the next year he sought treatment and received painkillers. When the pain became debilitating in March of 1977 he again visited his family doctor who quickly diagnosed osteosarcoma. This is a cancer of the connective tissue and is the most common primary cancer of the bone. On March 9th, when he was only 18, Terry’s right leg was amputated just above the knee. The night before his surgery, Terry’s high school basketball coach visited him and not knowing what to say, he showed Terry an article about an amputee runner who had participated in the New York marathon. This planted the seed for Terry’s idea to run across Canada. Continue reading

weight loss fitness cornerHormones could be hindering your weight loss plan. Cortisol, the primary stress hormone is normally high in the morning and naturally declines throughout the day.  When we were hunters and gatherers cortisol was the hormone that signaled the body to slow down and store fat in stressful times of famine. Today’s stress usually has nothing to do with famine but the body’s response is the same. Cortisol is released and fat storage is encouraged. Since we are not in famine and continue to eat, perhaps high calorie foods, weight gain is the result. When cortisol levels are chronically elevated due to constant stress, health problems can arise. The weight gain due to this is most often around the body’s mid-section. This type of fat is known as visceral fat. It doesn’t lie beneath the surface of the skin but surrounds the abdominal organs and is strongly correlated to heart disease. Stress that is not managed keeps cortisol high. Excess cortisol also causes lack of sleep. Poor sleep also throws off two key appetite regulating hormones called leptin and ghrelin. When one is sleep derived the body decreases leptin, which is an appetite suppressant that tells us when we are full and increases ghrelin which is an appetite stimulant that tells us when to eat. Therefore when one is sleep deprived the body is signalling to eat even when it is not necessary. Managing stress can help balance cortisol, leptin and ghrelin levels and help you maintain a healthy weight. Exercise can help manage stress. Aerobic activities such as running, swimming or cycling help prevent heart disease and they tire you out therefore promoting better sleep habits. Mind/ body activities such as yoga and meditation teach methods to calm the mind, reduce anxiety and manage modern day stress. Continue reading