How to Feed a Healthy Immune System

 

vegtables

 

A strong immunity system is essential to staying healthy.

Lucky for us, we can boost ours by taking basic steps in a healthy lifestyle. Those include exercising regularly; limiting our alcohol; avoiding too much sun; losing extra weight; and not smoking.

The disease-fighting benefits come from maintaining healthy habits over a period of time. A glass of OJ this morning isn’t going to jumpstart your immune system into the stratosphere by the afternoon.

An immune-healthy diet includes a rich range of food choices. In fact, that variety is part of what makes it so effective – including fruits and vegetables of every colour. So, load up with all the colours of the rainbow.

The Cleveland Clinic advocates for the power of three vitamins – C, B and E. That means, citrus, strawberries, spinach and broccoli; plus chicken, salmon, tuna and green vegetables; and nuts, seeds and spinach.

  • WebMD adds button mushrooms, oysters, watermelon, low-fat yogurt, tea (white, green or black, regular or decaf), garlic, miso, ginger and – seriously – chicken soup
  • And AARP encourages us to eat lean beef, legumes and pumpkin, as well.

Remember to drink plenty of water every day and always get enough rest.

Then you’ll be giving your immune system everything you can to protect you from invaders new and old.

 

 

Monday Motivation – COVID and Exercise, Why it Matters More Now than Ever

Monday workout | Athletic Performance Training Center

Need some Monday Motivation to get yourself up off the couch or away from your screen and off to move your body?

Here is some amazing research on the benefits of exercise and reducing the risk of Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome, which is a major cause of death in patients with the COVID-19 virus.

Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome or ARDS is a complication that my develop in patients who contract the COVID-19 virus.  This complication may become quite serious for some and research suggest that 45% of patients who develop ARDS will die.

Current research is showing that exercise produces an amazing antioxidant known as “extracellular superoxide dismutase” (EcSOD) and this powerful little antioxidant hunts down harmful free radicals, protecting our tissues and helping to prevent disease.  Our muscles naturally make this and a single session of exercise can increase our production of this antioxidant.  The best part in the COVID situation is that it helps protect against ARDS.

An interesting point also is that a decrease in EcSOD is also associated with chronic conditions such as osteoarthritis.

So what are you waiting for – go make yourself some EcSD and get up and get your workout done!

For the full article click here

 

Is your health and fitness routine broken?

What to do when staying in shape feels harder than ever.

How to build a “system” that helps you get back on track.

Original Article By Jason Bonn, MS, Pn2 and Alisa Bowman

Adapted for Older Adults by Bonnie Campbell

  

A healthy lifestyle is never effortless.

Only for many of us, it feels unusually hard right now, despite all this new found time!

The pandemic just broke your “system.”

We have all lost something and are grieving that loss.  Our life, our lifestyle, our freedoms have all been completely undone.  We are scared and experiencing trauma to some extent, but have not been able to articulate what it is that we are feeling and experiencing.  

It’s also okay to grieve for what you’ve lost.  That is part of the process we are all going through.  

You have lots of systems already.

We use systems to organize just about every part of our life.  Systems help us prioritize what to do and when to do it—so we can complete the actions efficiently and effectively.

Take grocery shopping.

We all do it our own way, but most of us have a method—such as planning meals, compiling a list, shopping on a certain day, or navigating the aisles in a specific order.

And that structured step-by-step process? It ensures we don’t run out of essential items when we need them. Like, say, toilet paper.

Before COVID-19 turned our lives upside down, these systems helped many of us fit workouts and nutritious meals into our busy schedules.

Then everything changed 

Now maybe you aren’t even going to the grocery store – you give someone a list and they do it for you!

As a result, your system is disrupted.

And that’s causing many of us to struggle to maintain certain actions.

Like exercise.

Like meal prep.

Like sleep hygiene.

Like any semblance of productivity.

The Anatomy of System Disruption

Here is an example of a system that I followed:

Every Sunday I reviewed the week ahead.  I confirmed my calendar with the classes I was teaching and the private clients I had booked.  I checked my husband’s schedule and my boys’ schedules making careful notes of who had to be where and when and who would be home for dinner.  Then I would review the meals I planned to make for the week and when the grocery shopping would take place – I often went 2 or 3 times a week to the grocery store for fresh ingredients!

  • Each night, before bed, I reviewed my schedule for the next day and backed my bag accordingly
  • I would set my alarm for about 1 hour before my kids had to be up to start my morning routine 
  • My routine would vary but usually involved some reading while my coffee kicked in and then a quick weightlifting session or conditioning workout, and then getting my dogs out and fed
  • Then I made sure the kids were up and out the door to school or the ski hill and then off to work for me at the gym.  

You get the picture.

I know you can relate because you lived it once yourselves.  Your life has slowed down in some ways compared to mine, but you are all still very busy, engaged and involved in our community

Each day you have at least one anchor activity – maybe it’s a Probus meeting, volunteering for Treasure Tails and the Hospital, GTLLI, Cinema Club, Bridge Groups, Lunch dates, Gardening Club. etc., Hiking groups, skiing with your friends or golf and cycling in the warmer months.  You have committee meetings (some of your are still involved and active board members for various organizations. Many of you help your own children shuttling your grandchildren to all of their activities. Some of you are still working!

Then you add in your exercise classes (maybe it is our Fit for Life class or a Yoga Class) around your schedule and organize your day and week accordingly.  

That system worked for you. Until:

Everything stopped.

The gym closed, and so did everything else.

You were told to stay home.

Now, you actually have more time to exercise.  But maybe you are not or you are finding in hard to sort out your day and get started doing anything.

Maybe you are binge-watching Netflix or Apple TV.  Maybe you are sitting in front of your computer playing endless hours of solitaire, or scrolling through Facebook seeing what everyone else is up to.  Maybe you have fallen into the endless trap of forwarding funny emails to your friends all day long.

Why systems matter now—more than ever

It’s pretty easy to understand the importance of a system during “normal life.” But it may be even more important now, for three reasons.

Reason #1: Stress powers down our “thinking brains.”

These times are stressful, especially if we’re worrying about the unknowns:

  • How can I safely get my groceries
  • When will grocery stores ever restock their empty shelves?
  • How long will this last?
  • When will I get to see my extended family?
  • Will my friends and loved ones survive?
  • What is this doing to my retirement investments?

This stress fires up the emotional fight-flight-freeze part of the brain. But it also simultaneously shuts down the thinking-planning-decision-making prefrontal cortex. All that makes it harder to keep our priorities front of mind. Instead, our emotion-driven reflexes take over. (This doesn’t usually turn out well.)

It can also just make us feel drained.

Reason #2: We can only make so many good decisions in a day.

Think of your prefrontal cortex—your decision-making command center—as the weakest muscle in your body. The more decisions you make, the more fatigued this part of the brain becomes—making each successive decision a little bit harder.

And you’re probably making more decisions these days than you realize.

  • What’s the best way to check in on my friends or kids? Phone? Video chat? Standing outside and yelling through a window? How does this ZOOM thing work?????
  • Should I get out of bed right now? Or just sleep a while longer?
  • I wore this yesterday. Wear it again today? Hmmm.
  • Should I check the news? Or will it make me too anxious?
  • Lunchtime! Should I eat something from the freezer? From the fridge? Or…. from the emergency stash?
  • What should I watch tonight?

After a certain number of decisions, your prefrontal cortex fatigues.

Rather than carefully weighing short-term desires against longer-term priorities, the brain spits out, “I don’t know… whatever.”

And once that happens, short-term desires win.

Reason #3: The pandemic wiped out some of our anchor habits.

An anchor habit is something you do every day—without thinking about it.

For example, brushing your teeth is probably an anchor habit.

For many people, it’s the first step in a bedtime routine. And when they don’t brush their teeth, it feels wrong to go to bed, as if something is missing.

Before the pandemic, many of us had several anchor habits that functioned like the first domino in a series. Once that one domino tipped over, many other dominoes fell right after it, without much effort or thinking.

Let’s say someone—like me— I would set my alarm for 6 a.m. every day (the first domino).

I would get out of bed and…

  • Have a coffee and read for no more than 20 minutes (second domino – now I have no time limit and can read and read and read)…
  • Then go to my garage gym and do a quick workout (third domino – I have all day to workout)…
  • Ensure the kids are up and at it (fourth domino)….
  • Shower (fifth domino)…

But now? There’s no work or school to go to, so I am not setting an alarm. And without that first domino, things just aren’t not happening.

My entire routine is disrupted.  And yours is too.

Build your new health and fitness system

These questions can help you repair old systems and create new ones.

Question #1: What’s important to you right now?

What really matters right now?  Maybe it is connecting with loved ones and friends or doing everything possible to avoid getting sick.

So take a moment to consider: What are your priorities? 

In other words, what’s most important to you? What’s dropped in importance? And what’s so low on the list it’s not worth putting effort into at all?

Also worth mulling: Do your current actions line up with those priorities? Are you putting effort into what you feel is most important?

If everything lines up: You’re doing great.

If not, let’s take a look at what was once working for you (your old system) to see if there’s anything we can use there.

Question #2: What was your old system?

Take a moment to think about how your daily life looked pre-pandemic.

What were you doing consistently to stay healthy? Were you…

  • Exercising?
  • Connecting with others?
  • Eating produce with every meal?
  • Getting seven to nine hours of sleep each night?
  • Other stuff?

What systems once helped make it easier for you to do all of that?

For me it was setting an alarm and committing to my basic morning routine: Coffee read for 20 minutes and workout. The rest of my day flows much better.

Certain steps may seem trivial. But don’t discount them. They might be a critical domino. 

While the example above may not match one of your processes, you can use this approach to troubleshoot any helpful routine, habit, or behavior that’s been disrupted.

Question #3: What systems do you need now?

Now that you’re aware of your old system, you’re ready to think about which parts of that system you want to re-prioritize, what parts you no longer need, and what new habits you might want to add.

What should you hold onto?

How might your old system help you…

  • Feel more secure?
  • Get going in the morning?
  • Make it easier to live a healthy life?

For example, maybe you should still:

  • Lay out your fitness clothes before bed (to prompt you to exercise first thing in the morning)
  • Connect with friends and family over video (since you can’t meet them outside)
  • Create a workout space in your garage, basement, or bedroom—and exercise at the same time you used to go to the gym. (Check out my YouTube Channel to get you started.)

What can you let go of?

Some tasks may not be worth the effort or even make sense anymore.

Maybe you suddenly don’t care as much about certain things in your life right now and the details seem pretty meaningless.  If you simply don’t have the capacity for something, it’s okay to release your grip on it.

What new systems do you need?

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, your days had anchor points in them that helped you organize your time.  Now, without those anchors, you may need new ones. To find one, think about your day from beginning to end.

What would make staying active, eating nutritious foods, restful sleep, and other priorities easier and more automatic?  Consider your:

  • Daily schedule: Could consistent wake times, meal times, exercise times, meditation time, or bedtime help?
  • Surroundings: What changes could you make to your kitchen, workout space, and other aspects of your physical environment?
  • Reminders: How might setting alarms, using a to-do list, or time-blocking make things easier?
  • Planning: Would you benefit from a two-week meal prep and grocery shopping plan?
  • Support: Could you lean on people around you for motivation, accountability, and help? How about trying to exercise with your partner, so you can stay fit together?
  • Routines: How might you stack healthy habits on top of something you already do? For example, could you call friends or family while going for a walk?

Think of your new system as an experiment

The only way to know for sure whether your new system will work?

Try it. Besides helping you get back on track and be more consistent, the structure and familiarity of a routine can help you feel more grounded.

This weird, scary, unprecedented time will eventually come to an end. Hopefully we will all come out the other side of this with some new healthy routines and habits to keep us going through life when things start to pile back on.

How exercise helps (your brain)

img_8914

How exercise helps (your brain)

Apr 9, 2020 Real Estate Magazine online

(Shared by Jane Moysey)

By Ylva Van Buuren

Regular exercise is often associated with physical benefits such as heart health and weight maintenance but did you know that there are different ways it is linked to how your brain operates too?

Here’s how exercise can help everyone have more brain power – and maybe even do a better job.

  1. Work tasks.

Research has shown that exercise can support “executive function”, says Matthew Heath, professor in kinesiology at the University of Western Ontario in London, Ont.  Executive function refers to things like “the ability to remember what it is that you are doing on a moment to moment basis”, “switching between tasks” and “things that keep you on track during the workday.”

“It is thought that when you exercise there’s an increase in blood flow to the region of your brain that supports these executive functions,” says Heath. While you may not notice improvements as you go about your work, “I would think that exercise would have a qualitative benefit in the efficiency of your work.” Resistance training and aerobic training are linked to a post exercise benefit to executive function, says Heath.

  1. Brain fitness.

Award-winning fitness trainer Oonaugh Duncan says having to learn and perform patterns of movement is beneficial for cognitive function. In a dance or aerobics class, for example, the brain has to process and learn different movements. Duncan says it’s also beneficial when you cross the midline of the body with one of your limbs or do different movements with limbs at the same time (raise one arm and kick the opposite leg). This type of movement uses both sides of the brain, says Duncan.

  1. Disease free.

Exercise helps keep your body free of chronic conditions such as diabetes and high blood pressure – and provides a healthy home for a healthy brain, says Teresa Liu-Ambrose, Canada research chair, physical activity, mobility and cognitive neuroscience at the University of British Columbia. “The brain is highly metabolic and requires lots of oxygen and blood supply (which exercise provides). Any level of reduction can, over time, acutely impair brain function,” says Liu-Ambrose.

  1. Less stress.

Regular physical activity promotes mental well-being and stress control. Chronic stress, anxiety and depression are associated with poor cognitive function, says Liu-Ambrose. Regular physical activity also promotes better sleep – and good sleep is critical for cognitive performance as well as brain health.

  1. Fitness mindset.

The way you do one thing is the way you do everything, says Duncan. “If you wake up every morning and give yourself a challenging workout, you’re training yourself to meet challenges and exceed them.” But if you’re neglecting your body, says Duncan, it’s more likely that you’re not going to kick butt in other spheres of your life.

  1. Positive attitude.

People often experience an “exercise high” after they exercise and these feelings of exhilaration can translate into a more positive – and winning – attitude. Heath says the euphoric benefit associated with exercising is due to a release of certain bio-molecules. Heath and other experts go so far as to recommend activity (10 jumping jacks, a brisk walk or a workout at the gym) before a meeting or presentation. The activity will increase your ability to pay attention to the situation and help with mood.

Keep in mind that it doesn’t have to be a long workout, says Heath. “A couple of years ago our research showed that exercise done at moderate intensity for as little as 10 minutes can make a difference. Moderate intensity would be as if you’re walking up a slight incline and you notice that you’re beginning to breathe a bit more.”

 

  1. Good thinking.

“I get my best ideas when I’m going for a run or a walk,” says Duncan. She suggests that if you have an issue you are trying to solve, go for a run or walk or ride a stationary bike. There’s so much intuition and information stored in the body and sometimes physically moving your body can help you get unstuck. “Get out of your head and into your physical body – and see what happens.”

According to Canadian Physical Activity Guidelines, adults aged 18-64 should accumulate at least 150 minutes of moderate- to vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity per week, in bouts of 10 minutes or more, to achieve health benefits.

What’s most important is stressing the body with a high-intensity workout, says Heath. “It seems to have the best overall benefit in terms of cardiovascular and brain health.” He recommends exercise performed at a high intensity (it should make you sweat) at least twice a week.

Any activity is better than none, and quick hits of activity (Liu-Ambrose calls them “activity snacks”) are recommended throughout the day. Take the stairs, walk around your office while you are on a call, walk up and down the stairs while you wait for people to come and view the house you are showing, get up from your chair and sit back down.

People who exercise live longer even though they might have an underlying disease.

“There is a neuro-protective effect associated with exercise,” says Heath. “But it’s also systemic and influences all the major organs and protects them from disease and just general wear and tear associated with aging.”

In a study of 55-year-olds, Heath says individuals who had underlying ailments such as cardiac impairment, cancer and other disease and who didn’t exercise died within five years. But individuals who had an underlying ailment and who were committed to regular exercise had a much longer lifespan.

To make exercise a regular part of your life, choose physical activities you like and will continue to do over months. When it’s safe to do so after the COVID-19 threat has passed, consider taking up a new physical activity that requires learning (such as tennis or squash, or a new yoga class) – it will be good for your body and mind.

Keep on Smiling!!

What’s to smile about you ask?!?

It’s April 15

It’s snowing

We are in the middle of a pandemic

Well … I got my daily walk in AND had the trail ALL to MYSELF and my dogs and it was GOOD!

Life is good if we focus on the simple things like moving our bodies everyday.

I hope you got your walk in today!!

Strong at Home Workouts


You are all amazing at making exercise part of your routine while the world is on “Pause”.  I am so proud of all of you and I love getting your report on your workouts and seeing that I am not the only one whose dogs need to join the fun!

Your gym set ups are amazing – you have collected some great things from around your home a created a dedicated space to do your work!

 

 

Finding routine in our days is sometimes a challenge and I love Mary Armstrong’s idea,  she sets an alarm for 10:00am when class time would normally take place and goes to her home gym and gets her workout done!

Most of you have embraced the walking challenge and many of you are now walking almost an hour everyday!!

We have done some serious work and had some fun and it looks like we will continue on this way for another month or so at least.

So remember to “Like and Subscribe” to my YouTube Channel if you have not already done so.  Thank you to everyone who has already done this!! ‘

Feel free to share with your friends as the channel is now public!

I will continue to send you the workout and the YouTube link if you have added your name to my email list – just send me a direct email at  bleithcampbell@gmail.com if you wish to be added to the list.

 

Are you getting your Daily Walk?

File:Woman power walking.jpg - Wikimedia Commons

How are you doing with your Daily Walking Challenge?  Remember our goal is to walk 6 days a week for 20 – 30 minutes.   If that is going well for your and starting to feel easy, time to increase that to 30 – 40 minutes!

Here is a great reminder from Dr. John Rusin to help motivate you to get up off the coach and go for a walk.

WALKING Is The Best Thing You Can Do For Your MIND,Your BODY, and Your SOUL

Straight up, you need to be walking MORE, here’s why:

One of the most undervalued (and often times disregarded) advantages of daily walking is cognitive enhancement, stress reduction and overall improvement of wellness.

Increased blood flow isn’t just siphoned to the active musculature involved in the movement, it’s also shuttled to the brain.

Increased cerebral blood flow also cuts the risk of vascular and degenerative diseases, but it also boosts creativity and the mental “flow” state.

Some of the most innovative minds the world has ever known, such as Einstein, Da Vinci, and a host of influential thinkers, went for walks. And I’m pretty sure we can all agree, it worked out pretty well for them.

You may be thinking that the reason you train is to gain mental clarity and refreshment, but who couldn’t use more of this? Walking is the key to tapping into your mental muscle while sparing your body the stress of overtraining.

Since walking is extremely low intensity and low impact, it can speed up recovery while mitigating stress in the joints and central nervous system, AKA id helps alleviate chronic stress.

During the active coordinated gait cycle, musculature of the legs, arms, and core become engaged in a reciprocal pattern in an on-and-off nature.

This pattern taps into the oblique slings of the body made up of the glutes, core, lats, and pecs, in conjunction with agonist/antagonist contractions of the extremities in order to move the body forward smoothly.

These synergistic muscle actions place pressure through the lymphatic and venous systems in order to push excess fluid that’s accumulated through local stress back into central circulation. From there, excess fluid will be excreted centrally.

Managing local and systemic inflammation is the name of the game in recovery and stress reduction and walking is the simplest, easiest and most accessible way to do it.

Even short bouts of 10-15 minutes at a time daily can ignite creative juices and stimulate deep thought processes, neural regeneration and boosting of overall wellness throughout the day.

And there’s also the added benefit of not sitting for eight hours, letting your posture melt into your chair, then trying to go perform at a high level later on.

Sorry for the science, but this walking shit is important. Especially today.

So my recommendation to you all? GET WALKING!

-Dr. John Rusin

“We Stay Here for You – You Stay Home for US”

 

 

This is a great message from front line health care workers across the continent.  I personally want to thank all of you who are doing your part and staying home.

Today’s message and the numbers released by our Premier Doug Ford may seem frightening at first, but honestly I choose to look at it from the perspective of how many lives we have saved so far.  This could be much worse than it is and we need to continue to stay the course and Stay Home.

Thank you to all of you for your support of our local health care workers.

“Police, fire, and ambulance vehicles from Collingwood, Clearview, Wasaga Beach, and The Blue Mountains paraded by the Collingwood General and Marine Hospital this evening in a show of support for hospital staff at the frontline of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Fire trucks from Collingwood, Clearview, Wasaga Beach, and The Blue Mountains paraded past the hospital with sirens blaring on April 2 at 7:30 p.m. Erika Engel/CollingwoodToday

Click here to read the article in Collingwood Today.

Strong at Home Video Workouts

Well many of you have signed up to receive my Strong at Home Workouts.  So far I am aiming to send out 3 each week, with an email description of what you are to do in your own home.  Many of you are subscribing to this service and giving me lots of great feedback.  You are also sending me pictures of your workout space and of you getting the workout done.  Some of you call your friends once you have finished the workout for you own accountability and some of you send me a quick not to let me know how it went.  I love hearing from all of you as it inspires me to continue doing this for you.  If you haven’t yet subscribed just send me a direct email (bleithcampbell@gmail.com) and I will add you to my list!

Incase you get tired of my videos, I thought I would share with you 2 pretty amazing videos that have been shared with me.  They will definitely brighten your day!

Video No. 1

https://youtu.be/ZJIA0W_TDVQ

Video No. 2

https://beat102103.com/covid-19/this-hilarious-cork-man-is-the-hero-we-all-need-right-now/

 

Enjoy!

Daily Walking Challenge Check In

When the trails are empty and my dogs can run free, I think that this Social Distancing thing is not so bad!

Getting out my for daily walk with these two (Harry and Aya) are a daily must for me. I am lucky to have them to keep me accountable on my daily walking. Let me tell you, they have no problem reminding me that it is time to go!!!

How is your Daily Walking Challenge going? Remember for the first week our minimum goals are:

Walk 6 days/week

Brisk pace (RPE of 5-8)

Start with 10-15 minutes

Build to 20-30 minutes