02 Jan 2019 Health & Wellness Trends
Happy New Year! May 2019 be healthy, happy, peaceful and kind. May today and every day this year also be an opportunity to take better care of ourselves and those we cherish.
Honestly, I’m not big on trends. I’ve always been one to lead, not follow; to do things my own way and at my own pace; and when it comes to my health, to deal with facts, to focus on the things I can control, and to listen carefully to what my body is telling me. For example, when I crave sweets, it’s usually my body asking for protein – a little something I’ve tuned into after being a vegetarian for over 30 years, and now eating an almost exclusively plant-based diet. Listen to your body…. it has a lot to tell you.
There are a number of interesting, if not exciting health and fitness trends emerging this year (and I’m not talking about the return of spandex and leg warmers) — but I always suggest that anyone wanting to make changes to optimize their health, begin with a visit to the doctor. It’s important to determine if the changes you wish to make are advised and even necessary; it’s always nice to have encouragement and support; and it’s ideal to establish some benchmarks to measure your progress against. As examples, we tend to get caught up in the number on the scale, rather than body composition, so instead of losing weight, you may be better off on a training program that will help you build muscle, changing how look and feel, and only just maybe altering with any significance, the number on the scale. You may want to change to a plant-based or vegan diet — but do you know how to do this in such a way that your body will get all the nutrients it needs? Start with a visit to your physician, have a plan to achieve your goals, and be sure to celebrate your successes along the way.
But moving on from here, there are a number of notable emerging trends – I say “notable” because I find some of them quite exciting. For example, there is a growing trend towards a more mindful approach to healthy living — reducing or eliminating alcohol is at the top of this list for a large number of Canadians. There is also a rapidly-growing movement towards plant-based eating with record numbers of people giving up dairy and meat and adopting vegetarian and vegan diets. Our brain health is also taking centre stage as the explosion of new and related research and information continues. If we live to the age of 85, it’s expected that half of us will have Alzheimer’s disease. It’s interesting to note that Pfizer has abandoned its efforts to develop an Alzheimer’s treatment and that according to the Journal of the American Medical Association, the currently available ‘Alzheimer’s drugs’ don’t work and are associated with more rapid decline in brain function. The most promising preventive and treatment options for Alzheimer’s appear to be lifestyle modification and lifestyle medicine. Isn’t it exciting to think that the power of prevention may be within our control? Interested in learning more? Contact DeerFields to ask about the Bredesen Protocal.
High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) will continue to be popular in 2019 with people of all ages (including older adults) incorporating plyometrics into their fitness routines, often in small groups with personal trainers. Small group training is taking off as people reap the benefits of the expertise trainers can offer, and the motivation of working with others with similar goals.
Wearable fitness technology is expected to top the list of trends for the year as Canadians track their sleep, heart rates and daily steps using smartphones, iphones and other gadgets. Do they really make sense? Some people can’t be bothered with them, while for others they serve to remind, motivate and hold us accountable. The thing I like most is using them to compete with myself year over year. I may be getting older, but when I can still perform as well or better than my slightly younger self, I feel pretty good.
There’s another great trend that’s continuing to take hold. Cooking! Many Canadians (myself included) are eating out less and cooking at home more. This isn’t new for me. As a long-time vegetarian turned vegan, I grew tired of being forced to choose from the token vegetarian/vegan selections on menus (eating something I didn’t want at all because I had no choice) and for years, have rarely eaten out. I do have a few vegan hot spots (so nice that we now have so many to choose from!) but healthy cooking has become a pleasurable habit (cleaning up afterwards is another story) that is yet another way I can show my body some love. Perhaps best of all, my two daughters have adopted the practice too, and are keenly aware of the value of making every bite count.
Every day presents us with a new opportunity for a fresh start — and even if you’ve never exercised a day in your life or paid much attention to your diet, it’s never too late to start. In fact, today’s a perfect day to do just one or two little things to boost your health. How about making that call to your doctor or to DeerFields and taking a brisk 20-minute walk? Or how about shopping for the ingredients you’ll need to make a healthy salad to enjoy as a meal for dinner?
You’ve got this. It isn’t rocket science. It’s about living your best life!
Happy New Year!