In support of February’s Heart Health month our clinic has been doing a ‘Reclaim Your Rhythm’ challenge. The goal is simple – track your daily minutes of movement and report your weekly total. There are no hard rules, just get your body moving. Anything counts – walking, cleaning your house, snowshoeing, yoga, shoveling snow, etc. While the top three winners get bragging rights, the beauty of the challenge is that we are motivating each other to get moving. Winter in Muskoka can be tough, especially when the weather is not conducive for winter activities. It can be challenging to keep yourself active and having this extra motivation can be helpful. If you find yourself struggling to get moving, find a friend to keep you accountable. Making plans to exercise together makes it that much harder to bail and chose to stay on the couch instead. Setting small realistic daily goals can also be helpful. It does not need to be a lot or all at once. Starting slow and making your goals attainable will play a large part in your plan being successful.
This year, my New Years resolution was to watch less TV and read more. In support of Heart Health month and to motivate myself to both read AND move more, I picked up Daniel Levitin’s book ‘Successful Aging.’ Daniel is a neuroscientist from McGill University and while his book is factually heavy, it is a great read, and the perfect motivator to get yourself moving. Daniel talks about how he believes that our ultimate goal should be to focus on improving ‘health span’ over ‘life span’. We should be aiming to maximize the quality of the years we are alive over the number of years we are alive. We can do this by eating well, sleeping well and moving our bodies. While these principles may be obvious, and are definitely, not new, Daniel argues that they are the most important factors in determining successful aging. Despite us knowing these things intuitively, they can often be very challenging in our busy, hectic lives. In his book, Daniel backs up the importance of these factors with scientific research and offers simple easy suggestions as to how to make these things part of our daily lives.
When it comes to exercise, Daniel strongly encourages any activity outdoors. While walking on a trail or on a treadmill may be just as effective on our cardiovascular system, walking in nature provides additional stimulation for our brain that can be hard to match on a treadmill. The constant micro adjustments the brain makes when we hike or walk on uneven ground is very stimulating for the brain. Additionally, the fresh air and relaxation benefits of nature are very therapeutic. Variety is important for the brain, for the body and for the heart. We can take these principles and apply it to all our movement and recreational activities.
If you’re looking for helping ‘Reclaiming Your Rhythm’ and getting back to an active lifestyle our Physiotherapists at ProActive Rehab are happy to help. Please contact us at 705-788-1480 or check us out on our website at www.proactiverehab.com.