Leading a Healthy Lifestyle: Take Care of the Mind and Body

Exercise and a healthy diet are the initial stepping stones to leading a healthy lifestyle. Most people are unaware of a third vital aspect of maintaining heath. Taking care of your mind is the final piece to Leading a Healthy Lifestyle. This can include everything from visiting the doctor regularly, to developing healthy hobbies and taking time for meditation or reflection. This article will highlight those things you might be missing and discuss some interesting ways to de-stress, and relax that you may be unaware of. Meditate When most people think of meditation they picture someone sitting cross-legged, chanting “om,” and attempting to float in the air. Meditation is often misconstrued as something silly and a waste of time. In reality, there are multiple forms of meditation and its best if you try each one for 10 days before settling on one. All meditation requires is your concentration, therefore, It can be done seated, standing, laying down, or walking. Focus on breathing in and out calmly to allowing your lungs to fully fill with oxygen. Those who want to can take it a step further and repeat a mantra. It doesn’t have to be anything outlandish, but just something that you want to remind yourself. If you prefer to sit or lay down with your eyes closed you could consider the imagery technique. Guided imagery sessions can be downloaded online. They are typically short stories or scenarios meant to conjure positive feelings. Follow this link to learn more about guided imagery and for a sample of a session: http://www.healthjourneys.com/Main/Home/What-Is-Guided-Imagery/. Regular meditation of about 20 minutes a few times per week has proven to help reduce stress, which supports low blood pressure and boosts your immune system. In addition to the physical benefits, meditation helps provide emotional stability, increases happiness and improves concentration. It can be done by yourself or as a group activity, and as noted it comes in different forms. Healthy Hobbies There’s a wide variety of “healthy” hobbies out there for you to pursue as well. Having a hobby, or doing something outside of your normal duties allows you to break away from the monotony of life. Some people consider exercise to be their hobby and that’s great, but it’s important to realize that exercise should be a component of your regular routine. Whereas a hobby will break you away from your regular routine. Hobbies should be a healthy outlet where you can enjoy time by yourself or with others, doing something productive, but fun. Some hobbies to keep you moving could include outdoor activities like hiking, biking, swimming, fishing, surfing, snowboarding, skiing, or even walking. You could also join a local sports team. Sports aren’t just for your kids. Grab a few friends, or do it as a family and create a your own team. The nice thing about recreational leagues is they typically only last for a few weeks and games are once or twice per week. It allows you to try something new without making a long term commitment. For those who spend their days up and about, and just want a hobby where they can sit for a little bit, try to choose activities that challenge the mind. Colouring books have become a new fad. You may have tried to avoid falling into the colouring book trap, but you should give in! Colouring books are therapeutic, in that they have the potential to help reduce anxiety and encourage focus and creativity. The same thing goes for puzzles like Sudoku, jig saw puzzles, and sewing. If you’re ever experiencing a rough time one of these hobbies could help provide you with enough mental clarity to see you through. They can also serve as alternatives to meditation, so if you’re looking to calm your mind but don’t want to meditate one of those activities might be for you. There are so many different productive hobbies out there it might be difficult to decide. If you’re struggling to choose think about your lifestyle. Which activity or activities would be conducive to the time you have? Do you like to be moving or sitting still? Or a combination of both? Do you prefer solitary activities or activities with others? Your hobby should match your personality and interests, otherwise you won’t find it enjoyable. Time with Others Whether you’re an introvert or an extrovert it is essential to spend a balanced amount of time alone and with others. Spending time with friends and family provides support and connectedness that you cannot achieve alone. Time with others can be spent incorporating any of the previously discussed healthy hobbies or yoga, therefore you can have your cake and eat it too. Those that spend regular time with others, even if only for an hour or less, tend to be more at peace with themselves. Being with others allows you to discuss things going on in your life and can provide a distraction to concerns you think about all day long. It can help break your routine, which for some is a refreshing change of pace to a stale day or week. Spending time with friends can help you stay on track with weight loss goals, keep you socially connected and happier overall. Loneliness is a leading factor in depression, which can lead to other preventable illnesses. Take some time out to be with others, just as you would carve the time out for yourself. Restorative Yoga One of the more common ways people like to wind down is through Yoga. There are many different forms of yoga including “Anusara” (for the beginner), “Ashtanga” (more rigorous), “Bikram” (follows a series of 26 poses throughout the entire class), “Hatha” (gentle version of pose sequences you might experience in “Ashtanga” or “Bikram”), “Vinyasa” (more common and refers to a flowing movement of pre-choreographed classes), “Iyengar” (closer attention to alignment and use of props), and finally Restorative Yoga (yoga without exertion). Restorative Yoga is believed to be more rejuvenating than taking a nap. While you may like your normal yoga class which most likely features movements from “Ashtanga” or “Vinyasa”, mix up the routine a bit with some Restorative Yoga. Not only do you feel rejuvenated after the class, but it allows you to slow down and add pace to your life. Without the focus on poses and sequences, Restorative Yoga really allows the participant to relax, which slows down the nervous system to help alleviate stress. In addition, it allows for some self-reflect and mindfulness. During a class you have the ability to create awareness of yourself and your body, which could lead to the discovery of unnoticed injuries or pain that you ignored throughout your busy week. Not sure which type of yoga is for you? Check out Giam’s guide to the different styles of yoga here. Select the one that will enjoy the most and don’t be afraid to try them all! Counselling Just like spending time with others is important because it allows you to communicate thoughts and feelings, sometimes you need to take it a step further. Counselling is a good way to process those emotions that could be contributing to stress, high blood pressure, and other preventable illnesses. Although it is good to spend time with friends and family discussing what’s going on in your life and sharing your feelings, constant communication of a negative kind can wear on your relationships. This is why counselling is a good option for some to maintain better mental, and physical health. Counselling isn’t necessarily therapy, it can include seeking advice, a sounding board or even pursuing a life coach to guide you through some difficult decision making. Stress isn’t always brought on by huge life decisions. Those little every day pains can add up and make a larger impact on people. Counselling can assist in processing those emotions, and help to work through them in a productive way. Your counsellor can also help hold you accountable for goals and help you find your purpose. If you just need someone to talk to they are there for that too. Counselling is a way to maintain good mental and spiritual health. See the Doctor Finally, as important as it is to spend time doing things you enjoy like spending time with family and friends, attending yoga classes, or participating in any of your healthy hobbies, it is equally as important to visit the doctor regularly. Be proactive about your health! Have annual checkups to ensure that your body is responding to the exercise, healthy eating and additional techniques you utilize to de-stress and take care of yourself. At a certain age it is crucial to also go through preventative screenings that can detect diseases. Some examples include: mammograms, colonoscopies, etc. that detect cancer and other abnormalities. Annual visits to the doctor go much more smoothly if you know what to expect. Make sure to arrive prepared. This means that you should jot down and discuss any and all questions or concerns you have to your doctor. It’s better to get it all out in one appointment than have to make another one later. Finally, if you know of family history illnesses make sure to get yourself checked out for symptoms. Act before and not after to ensure that you are taking proper care of your body. Your mind controls your body, emotions, and ultimately your health. There are many healthy ways to spend your time that increase your mental health. Bring together all three aspects of Leading a Healthy Lifestyle and you will see a major difference in your overall health. The right amount of regular exercise, a proper diet, and attention to the health of your mind will assist in longevity and the ability to live the life you want to live as you age. Do it and see for yourself!

Leading a Healthy Lifestyle: Making Exercise Important

There are three key components of living an overall healthy life: an exercise regimen, proper diet and nutrition intake, and mental and physical well-being. This initial article on the trilogy of Leading a Healthy Lifestyle will focus on your exercise regime. Whether you are a veteran exercise enthusiast or new to an exercise program there are a few comfortable and motivational options to stay current in your exercise routine. Routine is the most important part of exercise. There are many of us out there that are really great about exercising three to four days per week for a while and then life happens. Things get in the way that interrupt your ability to make time for yourself. You have kids, a new puppy, a job, friends and family, you want to have a life! How is it even possible to fit exercise in? It’s definitely possible! Even more so it’s about making that little bit of time you are able to carve out for exercise count. Here are three effective methods of getting your exercise into your schedule: Personal Training Personal training as a form of routine exercise has a few positive attributes. First, you are held accountable. Your trainer will hold you accountable for showing up to workout. Most likely, you’ve also paid for training upfront. If you have already paid for a program then you want to get what you’ve paid for, right? In addition, they are typically more flexible to your schedule. They are likely to be able to meet with you early in the morning before work or at night after work. Personal trainers are knowledgeable and understand specific needs of individuals. This means your workout will be tailored to your needs without having to do your own research. Personal trainers can take away much of the added stress many experience in planning their own workouts. The downside to personal training is that personal trainers typically work out of fitness centers. If working out in the gym is not your scene personal training could make you feel even more uncomfortable and less motivated. They typically don’t bring training outdoors, which is unfortunate particularly in the spring and summer when the weather is nice enough to be outside. While a trainer is meant to hold you accountable, personal training could actually inhibit you from exercising. Although they are more flexible in their scheduling they probably have additional clients with similar schedules to yours. If you cancel a session it may prove difficult to reschedule due to conflicts with other clients, thus acting as a barrier to exercise. You are working one-on-one, this is considered a con as much as it is a pro. While you will have tailored workouts working on-on-one can be uncomfortable for some people. The focus is on you and you alone. If you don’t like “small talk” or someone hovering over you then personal training may not be for you. The “At Home Gym” These days there exist a plethora of ways to exercise from home. From workout DVD’s, to YouTube channels, quick posts on Instagram, blogs and Facebook pages, trainers and exercise fanatics alike are finding ways to reach out to you. The ability to work out from home is a positive choice in a few of ways. First, it’s the epitome of convenience. If you can make some space in your living room, or go outside why not bring exercise to your home? It also makes exercising regularly a bit more attainable especially when you have very little time to get a workout in. Finally, you can choose your entire workout. You can tailor it to what you prefer to do rather than forcing yourself to complete something you don’t enjoy. In this way you know the workout will be something you will like. While exercising at home offers you a way to workout in your spare time from the comfort of home there are a few things to be aware of. There is no one guiding you through a workout to help make adjustments as you go or offer you encouragement in person. Many people need someone next to them to push them along in the workout. Otherwise you can quit and who would know? You also have to be careful with the outlets you trust. Some people who post their workouts on social media don’t explain to you proper form, modifications, or understand what type of workout is best for you. While exercising from home is a great alternative when you cannot get to a gym and only have 30 minutes to exercise, it’s important to keep the following in mind:
  • Exercise to your level only! Just because you see someone in a video doing it doesn’t mean you can do it to.
  • Try to choose workouts with examples proper form and modifications.
  • Make sure the instructor you’re following is certified through an accredited association.
In addition to potentially being unsafe, there is a lack of the accountability that you find when exercising with others. When exercising at home the free (or paid for) workout plans through social media may not be very effective either. In which case, you might as well have paid for professionally guided training sessions. Group Training The benefits of group training greatly align with the benefits associated with personal training, but there are even more advantages. You are held accountable by your instructor, or trainer. It may not seem like they notice you working out in the back of the group, but they do. In addition to the instructor you will meet people in the group training environment who will hold you accountable for coming to class. If you’ve ever missed a group session then you’ve heard the questions: “where were you last week?” “Is everything okay? You missed class last week.” “Are you sick because you weren’t here last time?” While your training mates will never judge you for missing class they will express concern and make sure you show up in the future. Comradery becomes the new normal. Group training creates a bond between participants that cannot be broken. And although group training session times are typically set in stone, meaning they cannot be adjusted to your schedule, they are offered at a variety of times during the day before and after work. Warrior Packs makes Believe, Instinct, and Excel classes available before and after work, and also during the lunch hour. Although you don’t get to create your own workout and it may not be tailored to you specifically, group fitness classes are adjusted for everyone in the class. Modifications and safety cues are provided by trainers to provide you with a safe and effective workout. Warrior Packs trainers do an exceptional job of ensuring every participant receives the attention they need to have a fun and effective workout experience. Just like you have to pay for a trainer, you also pay for group fitness sessions. However, they are typically more realistic in price and you won’t run the risk of paying for sessions that may never happen. Warrior Packs classes are offered at a variety of times during the day year round. The sessions occur on a regularly scheduled basis for your convenience. Most likely group fitness classes are held in a fitness center. If you are intimidated by fitness centers and gyms group training can be a daunting idea. Warrior Packs group training classes are also held outside of the fitness center. These group training classes teach participants how to exercise beyond the walls of the gym. Forget About Weight Loss Those who intentionally lead healthy lifestyles incorporating regular exercise aren’t trying to lose those last 15 pounds. They simply want to be healthy. Research shows that a regular exercise regimen has proven to reduce cancer, improve digestive health, prevent and/or manage Type 2 Diabetes, build healthy bones and maintain organs, and keep a sharper mind. Exercise has also proven to reduce stress and anger, contribute to better interpersonal relationships, help with sleep, and develop your ability to think more clearly. Forget about losing weight! Think of the additional benefits of exercise for your body. What most people don’t realize is that leading a healthy lifestyle is less about losing weight and appearance and more about being able to live. What does it mean “able to live?” The ability to live is doing things you want to do and being able to do them for as longs as you can. As you age your body will let you know that you can’t go running anymore, or that you can no longer enjoy those long hikes or working in the garden. Those things are important. Maintaining an exercise regimen will assist in disciplining your mind and body to condition for age. Treat your body well by moving and your body will allow you to live a full, happy and healthy life in return. Stay tuned for part two of Leading a Healthy Lifestyle, which will discuss the healthy eating habits and offer great alternatives to “healthify” some of your favorite recipes!

The Workout That Makes a Warrior: How Teamwork is Crucial to Reaching your Fitness Goals



Teamwork has been crucial to human success since the beginning of time. From Cavemen thousands of years ago to the 2014 Canadian Men’s hockey team, teams get results. That shared motivation, that shared aim – and that shared willingness to endure a challenge together – has an amazing capacity for unlocking reserves in your mind you may have not otherwise knew existed.
Great teamwork has a prominent example in the most recent championship dynasty of the NBA.  Though in 2010 it hurt hearts in Ohio to learn their native son and Cleveland Cavalier Lebron James would sign with the Miami Heat, it was blockbuster news the game’s most famous player would join friend and fellow superstar Dwyane Wade who had played for Miami since 2003. News the duo would also be joined by another superstar Chris Bosh from Toronto affirmed it would be a star-studded line up, but many questioned how well three icons of the sport could work together given they were largely the sole superstars of each team they played for prior.
Yet, the seasons to follow illustrated critics had no reason to fear the capacity of individuals to come together and work to a shared team goal – with Miami taking 4 straight trips to the NBA finals between 2011 and 2014, and two back-to-back championships in 2012 and 2013 won. Alone they’d not have won championships; together they won 2. So, just like our Warrior Packs workouts, the story of the Miami Heat’s championship era shows individuals can still be true superstars; while also advancing towards the greater feats that are achieved together in a team.
Yet, the seasons to follow illustrated critics had no reason to fear the capacity of individuals to come together and work to a shared team goal – with Miami taking 4 straight trips to the NBA finals between 2011 and 2014, and two back-to-back championships in 2012 and 2013 won. Alone they’d not have won championships; together they won 2. So, just like our Warrior Packs workouts, the story of the Miami Heat’s championship era shows individuals can still be true superstars; while also advancing towards the greater feats that are achieved together in a team.
What’s more, we at Warrior Packs recognize each of our team have their own goals and challenges to face. Accordingly, though our workouts are built on fun and enjoyment over pain and discomfort – so you’ll never need sail the Southern ocean or scale Latin American mountains with us! –  We pride ourselves on working towards our team goals together, knowing that the success of one of our Warriors is only as good as the success of all of our warriors. That is the goal we as work towards both as individuals and a team each and every day of our Warrior life.
Through its founder Arlene Reid and the wider team of Warrior Packs a fitness workout program has been created that represents a truly new ethos in the world of health and fitness.  Warrior Packs welcomes hearing from all future Warriors in the Calgary area keen to start training with us and encourages all fans of the Warrior Packs fitness movement (whether near or far) to keep an eye for our forthcoming eBook “The Warrior Packs Way: a journey towards greater fitness”;  it will provide you with a new platform for true Warrior living.