September can be a lovely time of year, the days feel cooler and the leaves start to change. As we begin to settle down after the festivities of summer, we are looking to get back into a solid routine. September can also be a hectic time of year as we prepare for the chaos that is the school year. Whether you are struggling to get your children ready every morning, or fighting for a spot in the perfect university course, I think everyone feels the shift in lifestyle once school arrives. Here are a few tips to keep your diet, physical well-being and sanity all in check during this busy transition period.
- Meal Prep!
This task may seem daunting, but it is definitely worth the time it saves when you’re hustling to get out of the door early in the morning. If you’re running behind schedule, you can save the worry about making lunches and avoid potentially caving into those unhealthy options at the cafeteria and save the scratch!
It’s good to keep variety too, especially for the kids! Consider preparing a few meals, two times a week, so it’s not so demanding to be too creative all at once.
A vast majority of jobs today require us to sit at a computer for work or school. Sitting has become an ergonomic epidemic associated with postural problems. Make the effort to move regularly during the day, as it can be beneficial in preventing chronic musculoskeletal pain. (1)
It’s important to know that any exercise is essential to a well-functioning brain and body. Finding the time isn’t always an easy task, if you’re strapped for time, consider trying out High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT). HIIT has impressive research supporting its effectiveness, it has even be observed to improve metabolic health in type 2 diabetics! (2) Other great benefits of HIIT are that it takes a short period of time (10-30 mins) and usually no equipment, so you can skip the expensive gym memberships!
Here are a few links to videos that can help you get acquainted with a HIIT routine that suits you
Those 10-30 pound bags we’re lugging around all day can have a large impact on our postural health. Ideally, we want to be in a position so that there is minimal chronic pressure being applied throughout your back, so life can be a little less painful.
Where we place the loads on our back affects the amount of stress being applied to our erector (spinal) muscles, which are in turn responsible for our posture.
There have been several studies on this matter, here are some of the general conclusions when it comes to carrying weight on your back:
- Holding the load on the low back (closer to the axis of rotation) results in the least amount of postural stress (3) and lessens the load being applied (4)
- Generally, a person can carry approx ⅓ of their body mass
- This also depends on personal stability
- Example, Person A weighs 135 lbs, should carry max 45 lbs
- Have both straps on for symmetrical carrying, this avoids any over compensation in the muscles when carrying an unevenly distributed load
It may feel comfortable to have it strapped tightly to the middle of your back but by placing the bag too high, its placing unnecessary stress on the low back. This positioning causes the muscles to be firing constantly and in turn creates greater tension in the back. Be aware of this especially for long-term carrying!
Work and school are demanding, to avoid a burnout or an unfavourable mental breakdown halfway through the year, try meditation! It has been proven to benefit mental health and even improve the harmful effects of some mental disorders (5). There are many ways to practice meditation for self-care, whichever way you decide to practice, you will certainly feel a difference in mental clarity!
Meditation is done by coming into mindfulness. What happens is your mental attention is brought to things outside your mind, such as your breath, how your muscles feel or how the sounds around you are. Many people achieve this state through traditional mediation which can be done alone or in a class for guidance. A great app you can also use is called Headspace, free and easy for home-use or even mid-day breaks.
Another effective way of coming into mindfulness is done through different types of exercise. Yoga especially comes to mind because of its body-awareness instructing style and notoriously relaxing environment. Meditative exercise is definitely not limited to yoga, mindfulness can be attained through activities such as cycling, running and swimming just to name a few! As long as you are aware of your body and its sensations, while keeping a clear mind, you can feel the positive effects of meditation.
Here are a few online tips and suggestions on how to integrate meditation into your life.
It’s important to make time for yourself to relax and to be able to enjoy the little things! Be present, meet up with friends and family, get outside for a nice walk and eat the chocolate. Life is too precious to be in a worried state and it never usually changes much either. So be a little selfish and block off personal time to do something that gives you joy!
Do your best not to lose made progress on your health, maintain care with your chiropractors while completing prescribed exercises to lead a thriving lifestyle!
- The Back in Balance Team
- Husemann, B., Von Mach, C., Borsotto, D., Zepf, K., & Scharnbacher, J. (2009). Comparisons of musculoskeletal complaints and data entry between a sitting and a sit-stand workstation paradigm. Human Factors: The Journal of Human Factors and Ergonomics Society, 51(3), 310-320.
- Little, J. P., Gillen, J. B., Percival, M. E., Safdar, A., Tarnopolsky, M. A., Punthakee, Z., … & Gibala, M. J. (2011). Low-volume high-intensity interval training reduces hyperglycemia and increases muscle mitochondrial capacity in patients with type 2 diabetes. Journal of applied physiology, 111(6), 1554-1560.
- Soule, R. G., & Goldman, R. F. (1969). Energy cost of loads carried on the head, hands, or feet. Journal of Applied Physiology, 27(5), 687-690.
- Klausen, K. (1965), The Form and Function of the Loaded Human Spine. Acta Physiologica Scandinavica, 65: 176–190.
- Peterson, L. G., & Pbert, L. (1992). Effectiveness of a meditation-based stress reduction program in the treatment of anxiety disorders. Am J Psychiatry, 149(7), 936-943.
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