Personal Training Kelowna

Merry Christmas Kelowna

Merry Christmas Kelowna

Leigh Carter

Personal Trainer Kelowna

Private Gym Training

 

Each country in the world celebrate Christmas with different traditions. Back in England it is tradition for children hang a stocking on the fireplace or at the foot of their bed for Santa Claus to fill. Houses are decorated and presents for the family are placed beneath the Christmas tree and the presents are opened on Christmas Day. Christmas dinner consists traditionally of a roast turkey, goose or chicken with stuffing and roast potatoes, followed by mince pies and Christmas pudding flaming with brandy, which by tradition could contain coins or lucky charms for children. The pudding is usually prepared weeks beforehand and is customarily stirred by each member of the family as a wish is made. Crackers are pulled with dinner, giving everyone a paper hat, a silly riddle and a small toy, then with everyone full to capacity and when they probably should go for a long walk, they sit down to watch the Queen’s Christmas Message to the nation, broadcast on radio and television. The day after Christmas is known as Boxing Day, which takes its name from a former custom of giving a Christmas Box – a gift of money or food inside a box – to the deliverymen and tradespeople who called regularly during the year.

In Poland, families traditionally gather for a meal on Christmas Eve, which is known as Wigilia. They will start eating when they see the first star in the night sky. The meal has 12 courses, which will traditionally include a fish called carp.

Christmas celebrations start early in the Netherlands, and parts of Belgium, as Sinterklaas, their name for St Nicholas, arrives by boat on the last Saturday in November. Sinterklaas doesn’t live at the North Pole like Father Christmas though. For those in the Netherlands, he comes from Spain.

In Spain Christmas starts on 8 December with the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. This marks Mary finding out she was pregnant with the baby Jesus. Children may be given some presents on Christmas Day, but traditionally they are opened on 6 January. This is called Epiphany, when the Three Kings are said to have visited the baby Jesus and given him their gifts.

In Sweden the children open their presents on Christmas Eve. The night before, they are expected to leave a bowl of porridge out for Tomten, their name for Father Christmas, so that he will leave presents for them. Swedish people also have their main meal on Christmas Eve. This tends to be a big buffet called Julbord.

In Italy on 6th January it is Epiphany and children will receive a stocking of sweets if they’ve been good or a stocking full of coal if they haven’t. This is brought by the Italian Christmas witch, who is called La Befana. A bit like people in the UK might leave a carrot for Rudolph and a mince pie for Father Christmas on Christmas Eve, some families will leave a glass of wine and some food for La Befana.

Christmas isn’t a national holiday in Japan but that doesn’t stop a large number of people celebrating the festival. Santa Claus, or Santa Kurohsu, is said to have eyes in the back of his head to keep an eye on naughty children, while Japanese Christmas cake is usually made up of sponge, whipped cream, and strawberries.

In Australia Christmas falls in summer. There tradition has it that Father Christmas swaps his reindeer for ‘six white boomers’ or kangaroos. It’s also traditional to enjoy a barbecue on the beach on the big day.

In India fir trees aren’t common, instead mango trees are often decorated instead and mango leaves used to brighten up homes.

On Christmas Eve in Haiti, children will place their newly cleaned shoes, filled with straw under the tree or in the porch, they hope that Santa will remove the straw and put presents in and around the shoes!

In Norway people hide all the brooms in the house on Christmas Eve to prevent witches from stealing them for a midnight ride. And it’s also a Christmas Eve tradition to leave a bowl of porridge in the barn for the gnome who protects the farm.

In Russia Christmas is celebrated on January 7th, and Babouschka brings gifts to children. Babouschka, meaning old woman or grandmother in Russian, is based on the biblical story of the woman who didn’t give a gift to the baby Jesus and so to repent, she gives gifts to children.

However you choose to celebrate Christmas, whatever traditions you follow, I wish you a very Merry Christmas and and hope to see you for a Healthy Happy New year.

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Christmas Stress

Christmas Stress

Leigh Carter

Personal Trainer Kelowna

Private Gym Training

 

The festive season can be a stressful time, with presents to find and wrap, food to prepare and plans to organise, many people find themselves feeling the strain as Christmas approaches. We all deal with stress in different ways but there’s no doubt it can get in the way of enjoying the holiday, with the pressure starting to mount from the beginning of December. Endless lists of things to do, relatives to visit and work parties loom and all this combined with late nights, rich food and too much alcohol means people tend to burn the candle at both ends, making stress worse.

An important rule to remember is that it’s ok to say NO, with pressure coming from all angles it is important to remember that you don’t have to say yes to everything. Saying no doesn’t make you selfish, it ok to turn down yet another night out when you really feel like a night in chilling on the sofa or having a relaxing bath. Saying no can be a great way to reduce your stress levels, and it means is that you will really enjoy the things you say yes to. Remember rather than trying to please everyone all the time, try to reclaim some time for yourself to do the things you enjoy, read a book, have a bath and spend time with different people.

Some people work really well under pressure but if you don’t, start your shopping as soon as possible so you can take your time. This will prevent “panic–buying” and it doesn’t matter if you come home empty handed because you’ll still have lots of time to go again. It will also stop you worrying about how much money you’ve spent out of sheer panic. By buying your gifts in advance you have time to wrap them up without rushing or adding extra stress to your schedule.

You can get stressed when you take on too many responsibilities and feel as though you cannot cope. Try to recognise when things are getting too much and don’t be afraid to ask for help. For example, if you have the whole family coming over for Christmas dinner, try sharing responsibility between family members rather than taking on everything yourself. If everyone has a job, (even the children) they are responsible for, no one family member will carry the whole burden and stress levels should be reduced for everyone.

On Christmas Day it can help to have a plan prepared. Agree the plan beforehand with input from everyone, then letting the whole family know rough timings of what is happening to make sure you all enjoy the day.

One of the main causes of stress is the feeling that you cannot control a particular situation. Try to identify what you can and cannot change and be realistic in what you have real power over. Learning to accept what you don’t have control over will mean you are less stressed in the long run. There are some things you simply cannot change, other people’s behaviour, for example, is hard to control and so, where you can, when irritations arise try to let them go.

It’s a well documented fact that exercise can help lower stress levels as it burns off hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline and helps produce mood-enhancing endorphins, so even if you have no time for it, try to get out for a brisk walk, a quick bike ride or a run to give you some time to clear your head. Or pop in and see your personal trainer who will find you a program that will fit in with your busy schedule. Fresh air and sunlight are also important so go outside at lunchtime or on your way home from work, the exercise will lift your mood and make you feel and help reduce stress levels.

Many of us tend to overeat at Christmas with lots of rich food and drink on offer, then get stressed in January when we have tight waistbands and don’t feel so great. So while it’s fine to indulge now and then, try to plan some healthy meals to counteract the effects of this and make sure you still get your daily allowance of healthy vegetables and fruit, and again this is where the exercise comes in, you’ll feel better for it once the festive season is over.

The circumstances that cause stress will vary for everyone so it’s important to recognise what your triggers are. Over the festive period there are more stress triggers than usual so identify what can turn into an issue and plan how to manage it accordingly.

Try to avoid excessive alcohol as it dehydrates your body and makes your liver work overtime to process it. Drink as much water or juice as alcohol as this will help you to stay hydrated, feel better and therefore cope better with stressful situations.

Finally, decide when you will stop your Christmas preparations and start to relax and enjoy the holiday. Work towards and try to stick to this goal, even if it is in the late afternoon on Christmas Eve. Remember that Christmas is your holiday too, enjoy.

 

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Beat the cold

Beat The Cold

Leigh Carter

Personal Trainer Kelowna

Private Gym Training

 

Did you know that regular moderate exercise will cut down the number of colds you get by strengthening your immune system. Don’t underestimate the importance of regular activity, especially in winter. Apart from keeping our circulation going, regular moderate exercise increases the number of natural killer cells in our bodies. These lymphocytes in the bloodstream and the mucosal layer of the nose and airways travel around our bodies scavenging foreign invaders such as bacteria and viruses. When you exercise, natural killer cell levels go up and stay elevated for about 36 hours afterwards. In one study women who walked for 30 minutes a day caught half the number of colds as those who didn’t exercise. Get talking to your personal trainer who can design an exercise programme that’s just right for you. This is just one way to ward off those colds this winter.

A study reported that adults who sleep less than five hours a night were four times more likely to catch colds than those who slept for seven or more hours.

Stress also had a negative effect on your immune system, again making you more susceptible to colds, the stress hormones lower the production of white blood cells. Try to have more time to yourself and do some workout and exercise to get rid of the stress you might have at work or at home. A study showed that mindfulness meditation reduced the incidence of a cold be 35 – 60%.

Apparently shivering depresses the immune system and again makes us more likely to catch cold. So wrap up when you go out in the cold and don’t forget the hat as we lose 30% of our body heat through our heads. Also, lower levels of sunlight and altered levels of hormones such as melatonin and serotonin negatively affect how the immune system performs.

There are particular foods that are very helpful to prevent a cold. Mushrooms have immune-upping characteristics and help the body be prepared against infections. Fish such as tuna and salmon are a good recipe to avoid getting a cold, tuna having a source of selenium which protects cells and boosts the immune system and salmon is really rich in proteins and a great source of omega-3 fatty acid which activates the cells. Sweet potatoes are rich in vitamin A and carbohydrates which are great to improve cell functioning because they contain antioxidants. By eating live yoghurts daily, we are boosting the immunity enhancing bacteria in our gut and a study showed that probiotics shortened the duration of a cold and made the symptoms less severe.

People become infected by picking up the virus on their hands from contaminated objects, such as doors handles and then touching vulnerable parts like eyes, nose or mouth. So ensure you wash your hands regularly and thoroughly, or use antibacterial gel if you cannot wash them.

Because people are much closer together physically during winter, this makes it easier for infections to pass between people. Crowded areas with little ventilation, department stores bustling with shoppers, and people gathering for parties all make catching a cold more likely. Central heating reduces our defences and affects the respiratory system by drying out the protective mucous in our nasal passages. The dry, stuffy air of central heating can also lead to sore throats and aggravate chest complaints like asthma. A humidifier can help.

Garlic’s active ingredient, allicin, is a powerful infection fighter and in a British study garlic takers had fewer colds, took fewer sick days and recovered faster.

If you do catch a cold, make sure you use tissues then throw them away. Around 19,500 viruses are expelled in a single cough, so don’t spread it, and wash your hands.

Green tea is said to be beneficial when you’re suffering, it is rich in antioxidants, just inhaling the steam can help to ease breathing. Fruits and vegetables also contain also a lot of antioxidants which are important for cell repair and, therefore, to strengthen the immune system.

If you have a cold, being dehydrated makes your mucus drier and thicker and less able to cope against invading bacteria and viruses, drinking plenty of fluids will help flush out the infection.
Doctors recommend we drink about eight glasses of water a day to stay healthy, water helps the kidneys function properly and flushes out the toxins that accumulate in our bodies.

Try doing some of these things and maybe you’ll ward off all those unwelcome and inconvenient cold this winter.

 

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Small Changes for fitness

Small Changes For Fitness

Leigh Carter

Personal Trainer Kelowna

Private Gym Training

 

How about making some small changes to your life that could make some big differences to your health and well being. Sometimes it doesn’t take much to make a difference.

Walking, power-walking or even jogging to work can make a big difference to your overall health and wellbeing. Walking at a leisurely pace for an hour can burn around 250 calories on average. When you’re carrying shopping bags, try to keep the weight even in each hand, your back straight, shoulders back and chest up for the best results. Try walking back home, or parking the car further away to ensure you get the most out of the mini workout. When you jog in cold weather, your body works hard to regulate its core temperature, meaning you use up more calories. Avoid the treadmill and head outdoors, wearing an extra layer instead.

Certain workouts and stretches are easy to do at your desk and can be done without your colleagues even noticing. So if you’re inactive for most of the day do try to have some kind of desk workout. Your personal trainer can help your with the best kind of workout for you.

Taking a lunch break will help you to unwind during work and reduces stress levels, boosting your productivity in the afternoon, and making it easier to sleep at night. If you’re able to get out into the fresh air and have a short walk, it will make all the difference. Just taking yourself away from your workstation for a short while will improve your state of mind.

Stretching improves blood circulation, increases your flexibility, improves your posture, reduces and prevents lower back pain, and can relieve stress. A simple five-minute routine every morning will wake your muscles up and prepare you for the day.

Instead of sitting through a five-minute commercial break on the TV, flicking through the channels, why not exercise through them. Try a quick high intensity circuit around your living room, which could include jump squats, crunches, leg raises, and step ups. Spend 30 seconds doing each circuit, with a 10 second rest in between, and you’ll be done by the time the commercials are done.

Cleaning and tidying has been proven to relieve stress as it acts as a form of meditation. It can also be a form of exercise, depending on what you’re doing and for how long.

Remember when you work out, you burn fat and gain muscle. Muscle weighs more than fat, which the scales do not show, so use your clothes as a guide instead, if they feel looser then you know you’ve made a difference, keep on working out.

Breakfast should be the largest meal to get your metabolism going and fuel you for the day, followed by a light, medium-sized lunch to keep you energised until evening, then a small dinner in the evening to just fill you with enough calories until bedtime.

Did you know it takes your brain around 20 minutes to register that your body is full? So give yourself time to enjoy the food and notice when you’re full. A number of studies have even found that you can lose weight just by eating slowly.

Small changes to your diet can make a big difference to your health and fitness. For example, try swapping mince beef for mince turkey to make a saving of roughly 125 calories per 100g, and maybe changing your plate size to a slightly smaller one, so that your portions are smaller.

Start writing out everything you’ve eaten and how much you exercise during the day. If you’ve skipped a day of exercise or binged on unhealthy snacks, writing it out can motivate you to stay on course and stop you from slipping back into old routines.

Save money and calories by making your snacks from scratch. Soup, crisps, bread and hummus can all be made at home using leftovers or store cupboard ingredients, you will know exactly what goes into your food. Homemade baked crisps using leftover vegetables like beetroot, turnips, or kale are far healthier than fried potato crisps. Adding nutritious grains, beans or pulses to stews, casseroles or soups will bulk them out giving you additional portions for lunches or dinner. It’ll keep you fuller for longer, too.

Healthy eating doesn’t have to be bland – in fact, adding spices to your meals can aid in weight loss. Hot peppers contain capsaicin, which has been found to boost metabolism and curb cravings. If you can’t handle too much spice, you can use milder spices like turmeric, ginger and cinnamon, which also have health benefits.

Sugar is what what nutritionists call ‘empty calories’ – they contain no value or benefits. If you cut out one sugary drink a day, it could save 51,100 calories per year, which is the equivalent to losing almost 7 kilos in a year. Try replacing your sugary drink with hot water and a squeeze of lemon for a much healthier and cleansing alternative.

Fresh fruit juices and smoothies are delicious, but try not to drink your way to a full stomach. Chewing satisfies your stomach and allows you to get all the nutrients and fibres your juicer may have juiced out.

Prepare all your meals for the week on a Sunday evening, and divide them up into containers for each day of the working week. This way you will have a ready prepared lunch everyday, and you will have control of the food you are eating, you’ll probably be saving some money too.

 

Contact Leigh Carter Personal Trainer Kelowna today for your free consultation

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Winter walking

Winter Walking

Leigh Carter

Personal Trainer Kelowna

Private Gym Training

 

With the cold and busy period ahead it may become difficult to fit in your usual exercise regimen. Walking may just be the simplest way to stay active, as it improves circulation, mobility and balance, helps you lose weight, and even works to prevent osteoporosis. Don’t be put off by the cold weather just because it’s not sunny and warm outside doesn’t mean you should hibernate inside all winter or even restrict your exercise to the gym, walking outdoors in winter is extremely invigorating and almost meditative. Your personal trainer can help you to include some beneficial walking into your exercise regimen.

By walking regularly you can reduce your risk of heart disease and stroke. It’s great cardio exercise, lowering levels of LDL (bad) cholesterol while increasing levels of HDL (good) cholesterol. A brisk 30-minute walk every day could help to prevent and control the high blood pressure that causes strokes. Also a regular walking habit can help to lower the risk of type 2 diabetes.

Walking helps you lose weight. Work that short walk into your daily routine and you’ll shed the pounds in no time. And while you are walking you are giving definition to calves, quads and hamstrings and by adding hill walking into the mix, it’s even more effective. Pay attention to your posture and you’ll also tone your abs and waist. Power-walking, keeping a brisk pace at moderate to high intensity, can burn the same amount of calories as jogging or running, so it is useful for helping with weight loss and as it is low impact, it does not have the same potential for injury as jogging and it can offer all the benefits.

Walking is also better for the spine than running, as it puts less stress on the discs. We are designed for constant movement, not sitting in cars or in front of computers, which causes negative pressures on our spinal cord. Regular walking is excellent for spinal discs, which receive minerals and vitamins through the pumping action it causes.

It is said that older people who walk six miles or more per week are more likely to avoid brain shrinkage and preserve memory as the years pass. Since dementia affects one in 14 people over 65 and one in six over 80, this makes good sense.

By being outside we are getting our Vitamin D fix which we need for bone health and immune systems.

A brisk walk is one of the best natural energisers, it boosts circulation and increases oxygen supply to every cell in your body, helping you to feel more alert and alive. Try walking on your lunch break to achieve more in the afternoon.

It also boosts your mood. Studies show that a brisk walk is just as effective as antidepressants in mild to moderate cases of depression, releasing feel-good endorphins while reducing stress and anxiety.

The key players in regular walking are our feet and we don’t always use them in the best way. Our feet were made for walking, it’s the best way of exercising the 50-odd muscles we have in our feet.  Just like any other muscles in the body, you have to exercise them to keep them healthy and able to maintain their function. When you don’t exercise them, the muscles become weaker. The 26 bones within the foot, plus its ligaments, are exercised gently by walking, so they are not in danger of stress.

So do try to fit in some regular walks, especially with all the beautiful countryside we have here, it’s a shame to waste it.

  • Make walking part of your journey to work
  • Try walking to the shops
  • Leave the car behind for short journeys
  • Walk the children to school
  • Try a regular walk with a friend

 

Contact Leigh Carter Personal Trainer Kelowna today for your free consultation

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