Winter is tough for a lot of people – an estimated 1 in 5 (yup, that’s a full 20%) of North Americans suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder, known as SAD.
According to Psychology Today, the symptoms of SAD include sleepiness, carb cravings, difficulty concentrating, feelings of depression, anxiety, irritability, weight gain, lethargy, decreased libido, and hyperphagia (increased consumption of food).
The prevalence of SAD has been linked to the lack of sunshine during the winter months. Depending on the severity of symptoms, there are several treatment options available – including light therapy and, in some cases, medications – and you should absolutely talk to your doctor if you are suffering.
But know this: for minor cases of the ‘winter blues’, exercise can help.
It’s that time of year – people across Toronto and beyond are setting ambitious fitness goals for 2017. If you really want to succeed this year though, you need more than a resolution.
You need a practical plan – and we’ve got one for you. Put these six tips into practice – and use our free habit tracker (which you can download below), and you’ll dramatically increase the chances that you’ll create lasting positive change this year.
Many people find themselves out of synch with their regular fitness habits over the holidays. In addition to missed workouts, there are food treats galore, indulgent office parties, and – often – lots of wine to wash it all down.
Here’s what we tell our personal training clients who are worried about all their hard work going out the window during the month of December.
If you’re like most people, you spend 80% of your time SITTING.
Did you know that doing so it’s wreaking havoc on your body? Humans aren’t built to sit for long periods like we do these days – we’re designed to be standing and moving.
As a result, it causes rounded shoulders and forward head posture (we call this Neanderthal posture here at NF!), and can also affect your breathing (because it compressed your diaphragm) which, in turn, can aggravate stress and even anxiety.
So. What’s an office worker (or driver, or other kind of all-day-sitter) to do? We’ve got three easy tips to help you combat ‘Neanderthal posture’ and feel better…
I’m willing to bet the people you love have enough socks.
And sweaters. And board games probably, too. So, this holiday season, why not give them something truly valuable, that will make them think of you LONG after the decorations have been put away and the holiday leftovers are gone: the gift of fitness.
For many of us - especially the parents, teachers, and professional students among us - September is the true start of a new year. (Forget January!)
It's a time of new beginning, and of return to routine - which makes it an ideal time to establish a new healthy habit. Here are some tips to set you up for success if you plan on setting up a new fitness routine this fall.
Helloooo September! I don't know about you but, after a busy summer, I'm looking forward to getting back into a regular routine next week. For many of us, that means getting back on track nutritionally.
So today, I thought I'd share a Nielsen family favourite breakfast staple - which also makes for a hearty and nutritious snack. We use it as a cereal topper in the morning - it works great on cold cereal, oatmeal, and Greek yogurt - and have also been known to grab a handful to snack on here and there.
This is embarrassing to say but, even though I own a fitness company, I haven’t always been the fittest looking guy.
A decade ago, working out was my life. I dabbled in strongman training and got to a point where I could deadlift 725lbs and held a record in the 800 pound tire flip.
Even after my dreams of being the next Magnus ver Magnusson waned, I remained firmly committed to fitness and strength training. But, as it does for so many people, life got busy. Kids came along, my business grew and demanded more of my time and energy and, somewhere along the way, I stopped prioritizing my own fitness.
The Body Mass Index - or BMI - is an algorithm of weight and height that was created by insurance companies many decades ago to help determine a person's risk for disease or mortality.
Fast forward to the present day and it's commonly used as a measure of health - but it shouldn't be. From a fitness perspective, this simply doesn't make sense because it doesn't factor in muscle mass or bone density. A person who is lean and muscular but has big bones could have a very high BMI. And on the flip side, someone with a healthy BMI can be 'skinny fat' and unhealthy. (Here's a detailed article about its shortcomings, if you're interested in more detail.)
So if the BMI isn't reliable, what IS a good measure?
Poul Nielsen is the owner and operator of Nielsen Fitness, Toronto's leading team of in-home personal trainers. He has 16 years' experience in the fitness industry and has taught courses in Fitness and Lifestyle Management at George Brown College.
In addition to exercise (obviously), he loves spending time with his family, playing the guitar, strong coffee - and dark chocolate!