A Year of Mental Health Awareness
By Carolyn McKeown
Mental health issues have suddenly stepped out of the shadows and into the spotlight throughout this past year. Illnesses including anxiety, depression, bipolar disease, and schizophrenia are no longer marginalized and are slowly being recognized as serious forms of sicknesses. Because of recent current events, from disturbing murders to the fateful suicide of Canada’s 15-year-old, Amanda Todd, mental illness is finally receiving the attention it has so badly required.
The significance of having and understanding healthy mental development cannot be overstated. Many people recognize the importance of maintaining a sound mind, but few understand how critical mental and emotional problems are, and how important and harmful they can be children and adolescents throughout their developmental years. Mental health covers a lifespan, but events in the early years can mould children’s personalities and how they will deal with similar events later on. Generally, mental illness is not recognized until adulthood, but it is evident that mental and emotional troubles in childhood should be taken seriously. Psychiatric disorders can arise and persist from the earliest years, and they develop further into adulthood.
Safety Tips for Jogging Alone
By Jessica Herrington
Spring is (hopefully) coming soon and with summer not too far behind comes the time when many people start taking to the outdoors for their training. While outdoor exercise certainly has its perks—fresh air, warm sun, the peacefulness of nature, to name a few—danger can lurk around the corner if you don’t take some precautions. This is especially true if you’re inclined to run alone. It’s refreshing to clear your head and tune out the world, but unfortunately this can put you at risk. Accidents happen and there’s dangerous people out there. Below is a list of tips to follow that will help ensure a safer run. And a safer run means more peace of mind, which is partly the reason for running in the first place!
1. Always Tell Someone Where You Are
Before you head out, let someone know where you’ll be running, and how long you expect to be. If something goes wrong, they’ll know where to find you.
2. Run With A Dog
One alternative to running alone is to run with a dog. If you don’t have one, borrow one. Not only does having a dog with you make you a less attractive target, but they can also sense danger before we can. However, this only applies if the dog is bigger than a football. Otherwise, you might as well have a small child with you.
The Benefits of Napping
By Jessica Herrington
Remember when you were five-years old and taking a nap was a mandatory part of your day? Adults would exclaim “Nap time!” much to your dismay. If you were at school, teachers would draw the curtains and you’d lie next to your friends on mats; if you were at home, your mom would drag you into your room and tuck you into bed. If you were like me, most of the time you would just lie there, fuming and daydreaming about all the fun things you could be doing instead. At that age, nap-time usually wasn’t a welcomed activity.
Things change as an adult, and nap-time becomes a rare luxury. This hilarious cartoon says it all. Unfortunately, it is not really feasible when you work a regular nine-to-five job (the image of George Costanza sleeping under his desk comes to mind). Some people claim taking a quick “cat-nap” leaves them feeling refreshed; others say instead they’re left feeling groggy. If that’s the case, you’re likely sleep-deprived, meaning you need more solid hours of sleep, and that can’t be solved by a 30-minute nap.
Journaling for Adults
By Jessica Herrington
You might think that writing in a journal is something only 10-year-olds do. I, for one, had several diaries when I was a child: a Minnie Mouse one with a tiny lock; a dark green one that said “Capricorn” across the top, with a picture of the goat in the middle; a light blue one with a picture of a wolf on the cover; and one speckled black and pink with faeries dancing across the front and back.
I recently started writing in a journal for the first time since I was 14. I’m not sure why, because a lot of significant events took place during the past decade, things that I think should have definitely been written about, if not simply for the sake of recording than as a means of working through and making sense of them. Read more
How to Keep a Healthy Mind and Spirit in Face of Life’s Challenges
By Stephanie Chow
Photo by Alexander Lyubavin
Everyone goes through ups and downs, setbacks, and hardships. That’s fact of life. We get dumped, divorced, sick, fired, evicted, rejected, cheated, and bullied; we suffer grief when a loved one dies. Everyone faces personal struggles, and they can have a serious affect on our emotional well-being. So how do we effectively deal with everything that is thrown at us?
It’s important to have a healthy body, but sometimes we forget that it’s just as important to keep a healthy mind. By following these helpful tips, you can begin the healing process by turning negative thoughts and emotions into positive feelings, and hopefully find your happy place along the way! Read more
Tips to Keep Your New Year’s Resolutions
By Jessica Herrington
It’s January… and you know what that means. It means you dig out that old gym bag from the back of your closet; it means you dust off those running shoes and rescue your bike from being used as a clothes hanger; it means you Google “healthy eating” and you resolve to plan out a nutritious meal plan for each week; it means you stock up on fruits, vegetables, lean meats, low-fat dairy products, and a stack of fitness magazines. And although you start off your quest for a “new” you with as much vigour as an Olympic sprinter, towards the end of the month that effort often starts to dissipate. So how can you maintain that enthusiasm and ensure you reach your goals? Make a resolution to stick to your resolution by following these five simple guidelines:
Photos by Jessica Herrington
1. Be specific
It’s easy to say you want to start eating healthier or you want to lose some weight, but being vague makes it easy to stray from your goals by giving you too much leeway. You’ll find yourself justifying eating that plate of nachos because it had tomatoes in it or because you took the stairs instead of the elevator. Try being specific about what you want to achieve, such as saying you want to incorporate vegetables in every meal or you want to be able to run at a steady pace for 30 minutes straight.
2. Be realistic
One surefire way to fall short of your goals is to make them unattainable. Are you really going to give up eating all your favourite foods? Are you really going to lose 20 pounds in a month? Be honest with yourself when setting your goals, otherwise you’ll end up feeling discouraged, deprived, and resentful.
How Interval Training Can Re-energize Your Workout
By Reiko Milley
Regular exercise is a sure-fire way to maintain your health and mood, but it’s easy to succumb to fitness fatigue. It’s hard to stay motivated when you’re cooped up in a gym, slogging away on a treadmill for what seems like ages. It’s even harder to keep going if you hit a plateau: when you don’t seem to be getting stronger or leaner. High intensity interval training (HIIT) provides an ideal solution for people short on time or frustrated with their results. Because even though it seems counter-intuitive, HIIT can make your workout shorter and more effective.
After research studies at McMaster University revealed HIIT’s significant benefits for cardiovascular health and fat loss, The New York Times and major fitness magazines started to test out and support the method. HIIT involves short bursts of intense activity—imagine an eight on a 10-point physical exertion scale—followed by short periods of recovery doing low-intensity exercise.
After warming up for 3–5 minutes, try alternating one-minute bursts with two-minutes of rest for a total of just 10–20 minutes. This can be done on a treadmill, bicycle, elliptical machine, or at your local running path. HIIT kick-starts your heart rate, revs your metabolism, and challenges your muscles to keep up, making for a highly challenging and efficient workout.
Playlists to Keep Your Legs Moving
By Jessica Herrington
Whether you’re a seasoned runner or an eager beginner, you might need a little boost here and there when it comes to giving it your all in a run. Winter is a time I find it especially hard to get moving. Thankfully, music can be a powerful motivator and performance enhancer; the right tune can be just what I need to push myself hard for those last 60 seconds. I’ve included two playlists—one for those who are partial to pop, dance, or hip-hop (provided by fellow runner Stephanie Chow), and one for those (like me) who like metal, rock and alternative. These are our go-to songs for a powerful run.
The ordering of songs is crucial. I put those with a slightly slower tempo at the beginning for warm-up, those that are faster make up the bulk of the list for higher-intensity running, and I again put a couple of slower ones at the end to cool down. Use one of these playlists to get your blood pumping and kick your run into high gear.
Why swimming is the best exercise for anyone and everyone
by Christie Belfiore
Swimming is a form of aerobic exercise that is stimulating, refreshing, and suitable for anyone. Whether you are trying to lose weight, be active, or just want something to do, swimming provides a perfect workout and leaves behind the stress and agony of sore muscles and bodily strains and pains. Not only that, but the Danforth area can provide the pool for you, such as the Main Square Community Recreational Centre (Danforth and Main), so grab your bathing suit and goggles and take a dip. Swimming can be anyone’s key to implementing a healthy lifestyle this season.
Besides the fact that swimming increases muscle tone and works to strengthen the body, it also stretches every limb to their greatest lengths, thus loosening any tight muscles and ligaments while increasing flexibility. Through the four most common strokes, including front crawl, back crawl, breaststroke, and elementary backstroke, swimmers endure a broad range of motion as they work every muscle simultaneously. Although it may not feel as though this is occurring because water is twelve times denser than air, it is one of the great things about swimming, This means that activities such as running or skipping don’t require as much force because air doesn’t provide as much resistance as water does. Another great benefit of swimming is that it makes the heart stronger without straining it, therefore allowing for better blood flow and, in turn, a healthier individual.
photo by PLRANG images for design, January 2009.
Add some musical life to your workout with a carefully crafted music playlist
by Delaney Caulfield and Amy Postma
Whether your workout resolution is starting to wear thin, or you are simply getting antsy for spring, add our playlist recommendation to your current workout and jazz up your routine! From stretching, getting your blood pumping, to your final wind down, our hour-long selected eclectic musical pairings will get you through it.
Stretch and Warm Up
Tim Armstrong-Into Action
Michael Franti and Spearhead-Say Hey
DJ Otzi-Hey Baby Read more