Book a member of our team to do on-site workshops or fitness in the Ottawa-Gatineau area. A wide range of programs are available to suit the health and wellness needs of staff.
Follow the link to see sample images of stretches from our “Stretches for the Desk Jockey” workshop.
My food mantra: Eat as close to the farm as possible. If it comes from the farm, eat it; as it leaves the farm, judge it!
Helene Charlebois, Registered Dietitian & Nutrition Consultant with Functional Health and Fitness & the O’Connor Health Group
I ask my clients: “Why don’t you eat more vegetables?” The answer is always the same, “They take too much time to prep and cook; when I get home at suppertime I’m tired and pressed for time”.
The key to this dilemma is to pre-prep your veggies. How? Once you get home from the grocery store, don’t put them in the fridge, pre-prep them. Here are my recommendations:
Cauliflower: Cut the foot off, break into 4 pieces and rinse under cold running water. Store.
Broccoli: Cut the ends off, cut into a few large pieces. Store.
Celery: Cut the 2 ends off, place in a colander under cold running water, brush lightly. Store.
Ditto for green onions and lettuce.
Tomatoes: Simply leave these out on the counter.
Cucumbers: Do not clean until ready to eat.
How do you store your veggies?
In the refrigerator, of course, but roll the pre-prepped veggies into a few wet paper towels, place them in a plastic bag and fold the bag over. Do not close the bag tightly as veggies need room to breath so they do not grow mold. They will store in the plastic for up to one week if air circulates in the bag. ENJOY!
Eat Your Veggies – Recipes
Do you have salad dressing in your fridge? Use this as the perfect zip to add to steamed veggies.
Thai Green Beans
1) Use frozen or fresh green beans.
2) Put in the microwave to soften.
3) In a nonstick pan, pour 1 tbsp. Thai Ginger Salad dressing, a splash of canola oil plus 1 tsp. garlic (more fresh ginger can also be added).
4) Toss the softened green beans in the dressing.
5) Add the peelings of a carrot in long thin filaments.
6) Add fresh ground pepper.
7) Toss until tender and ready to serve.
*BBQ bonus: once it is all mixed together in the fry pan, throw the whole veggie mixture in a BBQ veggie basket and grill to perfection.
More Veggie Tips for the fry pan and BBQ basket
Use Sun-dried Tomato Dressing with softened cauliflower; add a sprinkle of feta cheese before serving.
Use Caesar Dressing with softened broccoli; add a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese before serving.
Use Tomato Basil Salad dressing with softener yellow beans; Caesar dressing is great too!
KEEP YOUR BODY HYDRATED: With water, fruit and vegetable juices. Water helps to cleanse the body and allows you to function more efficiently; remember to provide your body with more liquids when participating in fitness activities.
ENJOY THE OUTDOORS: There is so much to do in Ottawa: run or walk by the canal, play Frisbee or soccer in the park, go for a swim at a local outdoor swimming pool. Stay active by enjoying the great outdoors; this city is full of opportunities.
PLAN AHEAD: Join a sport group, fitness class or try a new activity. Scheduling your fitness activities ahead of time or having a commitment to a team is a great way to ensure you stay on track.
HAVE A GOAL: Get a personalized training program made for you by a certified fitness trainer, and dedicate time to work with that trainer to ensure you achieve your goals in a safe and timely manner. Keep track of your achievements and build on the positive improvements you feel.
EAT FRESH: Summer brings us a mountain of colorful fresh vegetables and fruits. Go to the market and “be colorful” with your food. Indulge in the freshness of veggies and fruits.
CHANGE YOUR HABITS: Instead of staying in for lunch hour, bring your lunch outside, go for a walk, bike ride or roller-blading. Get some fresh air and enjoy our short Canadian summer.
BE PATIENT, LOVE YOURSELF: If the weight is not coming off as fast as you would like, remember that your body needs time to re-adjust. Appreciate the efforts you are making and focus on daily fitness accomplishments. Getting fit takes time, and with commitment you’ll reach your goals: love your inner beauty as much as your outer beauty.
REMEMBER TO HAVE FUN: Summer is about letting loose and creating great memories and moments, so get creative, stay active and enjoy every minute of sunshine to the best of your abilities. Make summer 2013 one to remember!
- Contributed by FHF Personal Trainer, France Burelle
The Holy Grail of exercise for most of us is the reduction of total body fat, while maintaining, or even building, muscle mass. The road to this goal can be difficult, and require the use of specific exercise strategies to optimize success. While too complicated a topic to go into great detail here, a number of important points are nevertheless worth mentioning:
- The fat burning zone shown on most cardio equipment of 60 to 65% of max. heart rate is a myth, as at higher intensities, you burn more fat, even though the fat/glycogen ratio is lower. Exercise like High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT – 85 to 90% of max. heart rate) burns more fat than longer periods of moderate intensity exercise (60 to 65% of maximum heart rate). HIIT may be incorporated into both resistance and cardio training.
- Fat burning is enhanced by combining strength training with cardio-type exercise, particularly if the cardio directly follows the period of strength training.
- Using free weights to strength train tends to burn more calories and fat than using exercise machines, likely due to the increased demands on stabilizer muscles.
- Studies show that prolonged sitting promotes fat storage, even if exercise was performed earlier in the day. To remedy, try to maintain an active walking routine each day; a pedometer can help keep track/motivate.
- Ensure that you get at least 7 hours of sleep each night – lack of sleep increases cortisol and grehlin levels – two hormones that increase fat storage and increase appetite.
If you would like more information about HIIT training, drop us a note.
- Contributed by Dr. Don Wilson, Medical Director, FHF
The most common injuries for runners include:
1) Patellar femoral pain syndrome
2) Iliotibial band syndrome
3) Plantar fasciitis
4) Achilles tendonitis
5) Patellar tendonitis
6) Tibial stress syndrome
These injuries can be caused by extrinsic or intrinsic factors. Extrinsic factors include; type of terrain, frequency and velocity of activity and/or equipment/footwear. Intrinsic factors include; anatomical disposition of arch height. I would like to speak about the intrinsic factors.
High arches tend to lead to inflexibility and poor shock absorption and thus can sustain increased chances of bone injuries such as stress fractures & lateral leg injuries such as lateral ankle sprains or iliotibial band syndrome.
Low arches tend to lead to excessive pronation which can lead to; metatarsal injuries at the ball of the foot, knee injuries & medial leg injuries such as posterior tibial tendon dysfunctions.
What are the mechanics of these injuries?
|NORMAL||HIGH ARCHED||LOW ARCHED|
|MIDSTANCE||- The heel bone everts (pronates)- The shin bone rotates internally
- The knee flexes
|- Decreased amount of eversion and internal tibial rotation||- Increased amount of eversion and internal tibial rotation|
|PROPULSION||- The heel bone inverts (supinates)- The shin bone rotates externally
- The knee extends
|- Toe off difficult as not enough eversion and internal rotation||- Knee starts to extend as foot and tibial are still in pronation and internal rotation|
If you have pain or concerns about your feet, your ankle or knee joints, please take the time to see a professional. Take our little true or false quiz (no peaking at the answers) to see what you know about orthotic use.
Orthotics and Running True and False
1. Orthotics help those who excessively pronate or those who do not pronate enough.
2. Orthotics can minimize running related injuries
3. Every runner needs an orthotic
4. Barefoot running is for everyone
5. Barefoot running can help strengthen foot muscles
6. Re-learning to run is less important than running shoes and/or orthotics
Answers: True: 1, 2, 5, False: 3, 4, 6
Contributed by Nathalie de Maurivez, D.Pod.M
With spring just starting and the weather getting warmer, it is time to get ready for a new hiking season. Hiking is a great way to stay healthy and also to appreciate some of the beautiful landscape in our region. If you have never tried it before or if you are new to this sport, these few tips will be helpful for you.
- First of all, it’s a good idea to warm up before you hit the trail. Take a few minutes in the parking lot to gently rotate all your joints (ankles, hips, shoulder…). This quick warm up will help you avoid hurting yourself.
- Choose a trail that’s at your level; don’t go on an advanced route if you are a beginner. This is not only to prevent injury, but also for safety reasons.
- If you want to enjoy your walk, it’s important that you have good equipment. One of the most important pieces of equipment is your footwear. Blisters may seem like a small problem, but they can be extremely painful, not to mention problematic later if they become infected. It’s also not a good situation to develop footwear problems when you’re far from the trailhead. So if you’ve bought new hiking shoes or boots, wear them several times to break them in before going for a long hike. Always have a second pair of dry socks and a first aid kit with you.
- Hiking poles can be very helpful. If you choose to use them, make sure they are your size and that the grip is comfortable.
- The wrong clothing can also make a beautiful spring hike into a very uncomfortable experience. Layering is the way to go, so that you can take some clothes off if you’re hot and add a layer if you’re cold. Make sure that your inner layer wicks sweat away from your body and your outer layer is waterproof and breathable.
- Choose the right back pack size for your needs. Make sure it’s big enough to carry extra clothes, sufficient water, a snack and a first aid kit. It should not weigh more than 10% of your weight and it should be comfortable on your back and on your shoulders. Make sure you choose a backpack which has a chest and hip straps.
- Finally, don’t forget to drink often even if you’re not thirsty. A good rule of thumb is to drink about a half a litre of water per hour.
If you “discover muscles you didn’t know you had” for a day or two after a hike, that is likely normal. But if you have aches or specific pains that you don’t feel is normal, either during or after your hike, you should get an evaluation by a professional.
Contributed by Dr. Gabrielle Pomerleau, D.Ch.
Often, one mentally connects exercise with a work out facility, but for many of us, a convincing argument can be made for working out at home instead.
Firstly, home work outs require no travel time and can easily be fit-in to a busy schedule, whether in the morning before work, when arriving at home after work, or in the evening after the kids have gone to bed. Secondly, the ongoing cost of a monthly gym membership far exceeds any cost associated with most home gyms – a basic yet effective home gym could include an 8 x 8 foot room, a floor mat, an exercise stability ball, two or three resistance bands of varying strengths and a foam roller. Estimated price tag: less than $100.00.
The issue of personal hygiene also should be considered. A recent study at the University of Arizona found that 28% of gym surfaces tested positive for viral contamination, and another study showed that up to 63% of gym equipment tested positive for the Rhinovirus, the culprit behind the common cold. Hand contact can easily lead to transmission and infection. Home gyms do not have any such concerns.
Personal training organizations like Functional Health and Fitness specialize in customizing and teaching home exercise programs to the needs of the individual, after a thorough assessment of their level of fitness. Once the individual becomes accustomed to their home program, such items as free weights, kettlebells or even a TRX apparatus can be added to increase the intensity and difficulty of a workout. Supervision by a fitness professional is a key element to learning new exercises and executing them correctly, to get maximum return on one’s time and physical energy investment and to avoid injury.
This March, Dietitians of Canada is asking Canadians to put their ‘Best Food Forward’ and ‘Plan Shop Cook Enjoy!’ – in celebration of Nutrition Month 2013. Nutrition Month is dedicated to serving up practical advice from registered dietitians, the food and nutrition experts, to makeover your grocery cart.
“Healthy eating begins at the grocery store. It’s where most people purchase their food.” says Francy Pillo-Blocka with Dietitians of Canada. According to an Ipsos Reid poll conducted for Dietitians of Canada, 63% of Canadians struggle with making healthier food choices in the grocery store at least half the time when they shop. “This Nutrition Month, dietitians will be focused on providing Canadian consumers with the information they need to put healthier food in their grocery cart and on their tables at home”.
Each day in March, Dietitians of Canada dishes up a new grocery-shopping tip designed to help you makeover your grocery cart. You can access the tips from eaTipster, our new free iPhone and iPad app, or visit our site to view the tips at www.dietitians.ca. Some of the healthy shopping tips include:
· Quality counts! Choose foods based on overall nutrient profile, not just one healthy ingredient.
· Get frozen! For healthy meals in a flash, pack your freezer with nutrient-rich frozen food.
· Skip processed meals. Cooking simple meals is an easy way to save money on your grocery bill.
For the details on the tips and more information about Nutrition Month 2013 – visit www.dietitians.ca/nutritionmonth.
This article is brought to you by the Dietitians of Canada via Helene Charlebois, Registered Dietitian with Functional Health & Fitness and the O’Connor Health Group.
With all the tantalizing items found on restaurant menus, it can be tough to stay on a healthy eating regimen when you go out to eat, but it can be done by following a few simple guidelines. Most restaurants serve meals that include bread with butter, a salad with creamy dressings, large portion main courses, and other high calorie items. If you add an appetizer or a dessert, as well as alcoholic beverages, you can easily top 2000 calories in just one meal. Many people are surprised to learn that 2000 calories is actually a more appropriate number for a full day’s worth of calories! If you love to go out to eat, but want to avoid rich, high calorie foods, here are a few tips:
- Have a small snack before you go; don’t arrive at the restaurant starving – you’ll be more inclined to give in to temptation.
- Choose menu items that are smaller in size. Don’t be afraid to ask for kid’s portions.
- Skip the creamy dressings on a salad – drizzle a bit of olive oil and balsamic vinegar on it instead.
- Order main course items that are grilled or broiled; avoid fried foods.
- Ask for brown or whole wheat breads, pasta, rice and cereal – not white, they’re higher in calories.
- Try to resist those desserts! Consider a plate of fresh fruit as a sweet alternative.
- Instead of having pop at a fast food restaurant, ask if they have fruit or vegetable juices, or milk – they usually do.
- Many people enjoy caffeinated beverages such as coffee, tea or pop with restaurant meals. Be careful to drink no more than 4 cups (1 cup =250 ml or 8 oz) per day in total.
It’s best not to put too many high fat, high sugar, high calorie, high salt foods into your body on a regular basis, but if you do, burn it off. How about completing that nice evening out with a walk after dinner? You don’t have to completely deny yourself the pleasure of going out for dinner if you use a balanced approach – make it a treat, not a regular event. You’ll save money, too! Source: Hélène Charlebois, BSc,RD; Developed by Tamara Sarkisian, Nutrition Student – August 2011 References: My fitnesspal; Understanding Food (3rd Edition); Nutrition: A Functional Approach (2nd Edition)
With winter comes snow, and with snow comes shovelling. Far from being Canada’s favourite sport, it is unfortunately something that most of us have to do at one time or another. It can be a scary thing to face, but with these few tips you’ll be ready to confront the worst winter storm.
First things first: Warm up!
Take 5 to 10 minutes to walk a couple of blocks, or to go up and down the stairs before you start shovelling. This will get your blood flowing which will gently increase your heart rate (thus helping reduce the likelihood of cardiac events!), as well as prepare your muscles for the workout. You should also take the time to gently rotate your joints (wrists, shoulders, waist …) in a circular motion. This will bathe them in the cushioning fluid that helps to prevent injuries.
Use the right shovel for the right job
Make sure you have the right shovel. It should be light and covered with Teflon or other non-stick coating. The handle should be long, without going above your shoulders. Choose a shovel with a curved handle, it’s more ergonomic. Sleigh shovels (the wide ones) should only be used to push snow, never to lift it.
Don’t let snow pile up
It’s better to shovel several times during a storm than to wait until the end. Frequent shovelling will make the job easier and give your body time to relax between each session. (The job won’t seem so overwhelming, either!)
Push: It is always better to push snow than to lift it. If you have to throw it, toss it in front of you, not to the side or behind you. This prevents abrupt twisting of your back.
Throwing: Pick up small amounts of snow each time. Space your feet, bend your knees and use your legs muscles more than your back, as much as possible.
Change Sides: You should alternate sides every 2 or 3 shovelfuls of snow.
Take a break
If you feel tired or short of breath, stop and take a break. Don’t forget to drink water often, even if it’s cold outside. (If it’s really cold outside, try putting warm water in your thermos.) Remember, if you feel thirsty, you’re already dehydrated.
Wear the right clothing
Even if it’s winter, you can still overheat, as well as get a chill from damp clothing. Wear layers of warm, waterproof clothing. It’s also important to have good boots on to prevent slipping and falling.
When you’re done, take the time to cool down. Go for a short walk to gently slow your heart rate and stretch your muscles. If it’s really cold outside, make sure you have a warm drink and change to dry clothing as soon as you go inside.
Backaches and back injuries are often related to shovelling, and are one of the most common reasons we see patients this time of year. If you follow all these instructions but still feel pain after shovelling, don’t wait – consider seeing your chiropractor to address it early. There is still much to enjoy this winter and you don’t want to miss out!
Source: Canadian Chiropractic Association. Provided by: Gabrielle Pomerleau D.C. at the O’Connor Health Group