In Canada, the shortening days are upon us. In the six months between the longest and shortest days of the year, Torontonians, Vancouverites, and Edmontonians lose six and a half, eight, and nine and a half hours of sunlight, respectively.
If you have children, you’ll know that a 9:00 p.m. bedtime, more than reasonable during the summer, means putting a kid down some five hours after the winter sun. Is he getting enough sleep? Who knows? When many Canadian parents factor in the back-to-school routines of dinner, bath, and storytime (and later, after-school activities, homework, and team sports), it’s hard to imagine getting kids to bed much before nine o’clock. READ MORE
|With its surge in popularity over the last year, there’s no avoiding the usefulness of the Fitbit. From the Zip, which tracks your steps, calories, and distance, to the Apple Watch-like Surge, there’s a Fitbit for everyone. The happy medium seems to be the slim and lightweight Flex, which is affordable and functional – it’s even got the sleep tracking capability.|
|Fitbit’s smart scale tracks your weight, body fat percentage, and BMI, and connects to your Fitbit data through the free Fitbit app for iOS and Android. The Aria is available in both black and white for the design-focused fitness buff.|
|The second option for a smart scale is the Taylor Smart Scale. It’s extremely accurate, and connects to your smartphone through Bluetooth to track your weight. It even allows you to set goals and track progress within the scale’s user interface. Or, you can connect the data with our next suggestion.|
|The app that tracks your eating habits and calorie intake also serves as an aggregator of data. It can sync with both your Fitbit and your Taylor Smart Scale to create a cohesive summary of your fitness goals and progress. Accessible from both your smartphone and your desktop computer, My Fitness Pal is easy-to-use and effective in helping you track data and get fit.|
|Once you step up your cardio (gotta put that Fitbit to work!), it might be worth upgrading those old Walkman headphones. The Jabra Sport Plus model is wireless, so there’s no concern about tangled cords. For tunes, you can listen to iTunes or Spotify through Bluetooth from your smartphone, or if you don’t feel like hauling any extra weight along, the headphones can connect to FM radio.|
|If you still haven’t been able to kick the habit, new technology will soon be available to help you out. The Quitbit lighter tracks your cigarettes to help you better understand your habit. The accompanying smartphone app allows you to view your smoking trends and cigarette spending, and lets you share with friends (in case peer pressure helps your efforts!). You can even limit your cigarettes by pre-setting your smoke times – the Quitbit will only allow you to light up at the scheduled time.|
|The Smartmat is the world’s first intelligent yoga mat – or, it will be. Though the exciting new product isn’t available for purchase yet, it is in final stages. Funded through Indiegogo, the mat is intended to teach the user yoga. An accompanying app guides the user through yoga classes, and the responsive mat gives the user verbal instructions on how to improve their form. Namaste, technology.|
|If you’re kicking up your cardio, it’s worth investing in a blood pressure monitor. The QardioArm is compact, easy to use, and dependable. Nothing should stop you from living life to its fullest.|
|The Netatmo allows you to view info about your home’s condition, right on your smartphone. It will tell you what to expect in terms of temperature, humidity, indoor air quality, noise pollution, and monitors CO2. When the air quality deteriorates it chooses the right time for you to ventilate your home or room. Plus, you can personalize the settings to keep you comfortable.|
Don’t we all wish we could have 10 more hours in a day? That’s impossible, of course, but by boosting your brainpower, you can increase your productivity, which will create the illusion of more time. While there exist quick fixes for sharpening your brain (like eating antioxidant-filled blueberries or going for a run to score some endorphins), these three tips work best as habits to develop and maintain over time.
Getting your minimum six hours isn’t even the most important aspect of sleep – what’s really important is getting high quality sleep. Try a sleep-tracking app like Sleepbot or a Fitbit to track your REM cycles. You can also use such apps to set an adjustable alarm that will wake you when your sleep is lightest to increase the quality of your sleep.
You can also unplug before bed to improve your sleep quality. The blue light found on tablets, smartphones, and eReaders actually signals your body to wake up, right before going to bed. Try reading a paper book before bed instead.
Lastly, cutting caffeine (at least in the afternoons, if you can’t live without your morning cuppa) will better the quality of your sleep, among other benefits. Still need a three o’clock pick-me-up? Try an iced herbal tea to give you a boost without the buzz.
Abandon your GPS and calculator in favour of using a map or doing calculations in your head. You can also sign up for a daily-word email to increase your vocabulary. Exercising your brain can also be accomplished by playing Scrabble (or Words with Friends!) instead of just talking or texting. Interestingly, socialization is also hugely beneficial to your brain. By inviting friends over, you reduce your chances of dementia. What better excuse is there to open a bottle of wine?
Another way to stimulate your brain is to do something new. This can be as simple as walking somewhere instead of driving, as intense as trying a new sport. Learning a new language or instrument also positively impacts the brain.
First, kick the habit. Cigarettes have been linked to memory deficits, so the sooner you quit, the better it is for your body and brain.
Exercise regularly, even if it’s just a longer walk to your car. Try parking further from work, or getting off the bus earlier than usual to increase your walking distance. Practicing yoga or meditating also works – just 30 minutes a day contributes greatly to mental capacity.
Eating right also has a big impact. That means loading up on superfoods like blueberries, almonds, dark chocolate, and greens to boost your brain, but also making a habit of staying hydrated and eating clean and balanced meals.
Sandcastle building! Cabin time! Water parks! Backyard barbequing!
Also: Sunburns! Bed sheets full of sand! Popsicle stains on the floor! And hours of “are we there yet?”
As much as many parents love summer time fun with the kids, as the season winds down and back to school fast approaches, many moms and dads find themselves looking forward to a little less chaos and a little more Me-time.
If you have started guiltily fantasizing about shipping your little angels back to school, here are four self-care suggestion musts for the fall:
Newfound hours of daytime quiet in the home may seem daunting at first, but fill them with those basics of life that are a little less pleasurable (and sometimes nearly impossible!) when the kids are around. Like eating a meal—even while it’s still hot!
Or go further: use the extra time to enjoy a meal that your kids would never go for.
Turn on some mealtime music and bring a magazine…and while you’re at it, why not add a little fancy? For example, throw a bottle of Chablis in the fridge to accompany lunch…or, maybe keep that part a secret!
Taking a long lingering shower, blow drying your hair and putting on mascara may seem like a stretch when your seven-year-old is banging down the bathroom door.
But having the kids out of the house for a few hours means you can take some time for yourself: relax, put on some makeup, get a mani-pedi or perhaps best of all: take a nap—yes, right in the middle of the afternoon. You deserve it! (Pro-tip: set an alarm….just in case!)
Walk by a pile of toys…and do nothing.
Sure, there may be a few things you have to get done around the house to restore order. But running around obsessively scrubbing and organizing will likely have you burn out faster than you can say “Charlie Sheen”.
Instead, cut yourself some slack: start by walking by a pile of toys, pointing and shrugging like you have no idea who left it there or who should pick it up. The kids will be home soon enough; they can put away their mess.
Use the time instead to throw yourself on the couch, turn on the TV, and turn off your compulsion to clean: the grime will wait.
Get a full body (and brain) work out.
Getting back into an exercise routine may be the last thing you feel like doing once fall starts, but it doesn’t have to be hard.
In fact, you could simply take a few minutes to limber up with some stretching every day. Or, a 30-day stretching challenge for the whole family may be just the thing to inspire some more vigorous exercising.
While you’re getting the body going, don’t forget about kickstarting your brain as well; you’re not just a pretty face after all!
Whatever you choose to do, just make sure you take some time for you: it has been a long hot summer, and you need your rest—remember, next summer is only eight months away!
Have you ever needed that extra little bit of motivation, or a reminder to get active? London Drugs tech expert David Levett sat down with anchor Darrell Rumold on CTV Morning Live in Regina to discuss some of the newest products on the market for monitoring fitness.
For someone looking for something simple, yet effective for fitness tracking, FitBit might be the perfect choice. These activity trackers are a very user-friendly option and are best suited for entry-level to average fitness trackers who want something simple. David showed off the FitBit Charge HR model, capable of tracking essential fitness measures like steps taken, calories burned and active minutes. The charge also acts a watch and is able to sync wireless to any laptop or smartphone. FitBit can also monitor one’s sleep. David explained in the newscast how the FitBit would track sleep and then display on an iPad the amount and quality of sleep he had. Starting as low as $70, FitBit provides an affordable option for users who want effective fitness monitoring without complexities.
This weekend, London Drugs will be part of The Wellness Show taking place in Vancouver at the Vancouver Convention Centre located at 999 Canada Place. This three day health and wellness expo features cooking demonstrations, health related workshops, and fitness information for everyone thinking about improving their health and wellness. From February 13 to 15 we will be offering information regarding diabetes management from our Certified Diabetes Educators and Patient Care Pharmacists. On Friday February 12th Dr. Art Hister will be at our booth from 5:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
Joining us for the weekend are SierraSil and Webber Naturals representatives. The Wellness Show is open on February 13th 12:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., February 14th 10:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. and February 15th 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Looking forward to seeing you at The Wellness Show!