Fitness Gadgets to get the most out of your fitness

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.


Dr Art Hister – Exercise makes you better

I know you’re probably sick of hearing by now about how you need to exercise more in order to prevent so many conditions, especially, of course, cardiovascular problems like heart attacks, heart failure, and strokes.

In fact, exercise is such an effective “preventer” of illness, if it came in the form of a pill, everyone would be lining up to get more than their fair share to swallow.

But what’s so amazing about the benefits of exercise to me is that it’s not only the best weapon we have to fight off many conditions, it’s an effective tool to make a person feel better even after they’ve become sick with such conditions, and the latest evidence of that comes from a Spanish study presented at the recent American Stroke Association meeting.

In this study which involved 159 patients, the researchers concluded that the higher the level of fitness in a stroke victim, the better their chances of surviving the stroke with less damage.

That is, if you are unlucky enough to suffer a stroke, the wee bit of good news is that the more fit you were to begin with, the more effectively the anti-clotting drugs that prevent stroke damage if given shortly after a stroke will work on you.


Goal-setting—How to set and reach your goals

A study in 2007 by Richard Wisemen from the University of Bristol showed that 78% of those who set New Year’s resolutions fail, and those who succeed have 5 traits in common.* Men achieved their goal 22% more often when they engaged in goal setting, while women succeeded 10% more when they made their goals public and got support from their friends.

Goals—specifics vs. generalities

Businesses set goals to achieve growth or profitability over time, and competitive athletes set training goals so they’re ready for important competitions. Individuals may have big picture goals, such as eating healthier or becoming more active, but how can you make sure you actually get there?

Setting goals that are specific gives you a long-term vision and short-term motivation. When you set goals that are clearly defined it lets you set milestones and see your progress, giving you the self-confidence to carry on and achieve your objectives.

How to set personal health goals

Think about what your end goal is, and then put it into specific terms. For example, if you want overall health, what does that mean to you? Does it mean you can run five kilometres non-stop, or does it mean you reach a particular measurement such as a lower BMI? Whatever your final goal is, write it down in a journal.

  1. What is a reasonable amount of time to achieve this goal? For health goals, you should check with your doctor or London Drugs personal care pharmacist for guidance. Note in your journal the date by which you want to accomplish your goal.
  2. Set milestones between today (or your start date) and the date you want to achieve the goal. For example, if running five kilometres is your goal, and you’ve given yourself two months to do it, break the five killometres into smaller increments over that time period. That may mean you want to run one kilometre after one and a half weeks, two after three weeks, etc.
  3. There are certain things you know you’ll need to start doing to achieve your goals, and certain things you’ll need to stop doing to be successful. For example, to achieve your five kilometre goal you’ll need to start running on a regular basis. That may mean you’ll need to stop doing other things to make this happen, such as swapping TV watching time in the evening to run. You may also need to change what you’re eating to allow your body to literally fuel your goal. Break down the time between your milestones even further to create a step-by-step blueprint to reach your end goal.
  4. Reward yourself along the way! When you reach milestones, celebrate them. You could buy yourself new running shoes after you run your first full mile, or treat yourself to a deep tissue massage.
  5. Join social groups to help you stay motivated. You could download an app to track and share your results with others who have the same goals. Share your goals with your friends and family and let them know about your success and challenges along the way. Ask their help if you need it—like changing family pizza night to a family swimming night.
  6. Be flexible. Sometimes life can get in the way of achieving your goals. Don’t give up—just re-work your plan to allow for a new schedule. Your goals are important, and worth pursuing. Stay strong and you’ll realize them!

* Blame It on the Brain: The latest neuroscience research suggests spreading resolutions out over time is the best approach, Wall Street Journal, December 26, 2009

How to maintain your diet & exercise regime

So you’ve gone through a London Drugs Nutrition Clinic, and you’re armed with information about your current physical metrics, about healthy nutrition, and about some personal health goals you’d like to achieve. But how do you make sure that you can maintain the enthusiasm you have today and see your goals through? Here are some tips that can help you stay on track.

Steps to Maintaining your Regime

  1. If becoming more active is one of your goals, choose an activity you enjoy. You’re less likely to put off doing something you find fun. Even better—plan the activity with a friend or group. You’re less likely to put off something other people depend on your to participate in.
  2. If eating healthier is part of your health plan, make it easier by preparing meals in advance. If you’re cooking for the entire family, cook in batches and freeze meals.
  3. To keep your new routine top of mind, try to read something about nutrition or fitness every other day. Continuous learning will give your overall goal importance and priority over the long run.
  4. If you’re making many changes at once, try setting reminders on your computer or phone for things like taking a walk or preparing your grocery list. Program a few “way to go” messages for yourself while you’re at it. You deserve the recognition!

Dr Art Hister – Marathon Runners

If you want to run a marathon, get tested first.

For reasons that are not entirely clear to me, so many baby boomers have set themselves a goal of running a marathon (or several) before they pass into older age. Unfortunately, many have set out to do this without first determining if they are fit enough to undergo the load that marathon-running puts on their no-longer-that-young hearts.

So a recent study presented at the Canadian Cardiovascular Congress 2010 should get at least a few marathon-hoping individuals to sit up and take note.

In this study that used MRIs and a sophisticated battery of tests on a group of amateur marathon runners both before and up to 8 weeks after the race, the researchers found that “abnormal heart segments (are) more widespread and significant” in non-fit runners (presumably, more widespread than most people or doctors think).
And the lead researcher concludes that “marathon runners can be a lot less fit than they think” (which if you’ve ever been to a marathon and watched the parade of runners that come by is absolutely no surprise). He goes on to advise that everyone who is thinking of running a marathon should seriously consider getting a test known as Vo2 max, which measures oxygen consumption by the heart while the person is working out.

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