Photo courtesy of Davina Choy Credits: Photo courtesy of Davina Choy
©Thinkstockphotos.ca Credits: ©Thinkstockphotos.ca
Running might seem like an easy way to burn calories, but it's not for everyone. Find out why it might be time to take up a walking regime.
A brisk walk is a great low-impact way to get your heart pumping. And while you'll have to walk longer to get the same cardiovascular benefits as you would running for less time, studies continue to show that walking is on par, if not slightly more beneficial, than running. With the help of Dr. Diane Bedrossian, MD, a family physician with Downtown Toronto Doctors by day and fitness instructor by night, we've separated fact from fiction to help choose the right pace for you.
1. Running can lead to more injuries than walking.
This, Dr. Bedrossian states, is true. "About half of regular runners report an injury each year," she says. "Some injuries are traumatic, however, most are related to overuse and many involve the knee. The most common running-related injuries running-related injuries include: patellofemoral knee pain syndrome, shin splints, Achilles' tendonitis, iliotibial bad syndrome, plantar fasciitis and stress fractures of the metatarsals and tibia." She points out there are a number of variables influencing these injuries, such as miles logged and the intensity at which they are run, wearing appropriate footwear and even an individual's biomechanics.
2. Walking is more sustainable long-term.
When our bodies are younger and more agile, walking may seem the less obvious choice in terms of maximum gains—in the short term. But due to the risk of injury and the downtime required for rehabilitating running-related injuries, as well as factors such as inclement weather, walking is more sustainable yearlong as we move through different phases of life. There is also the possibility that due to downtime required post-injury, running can actually lead to less weight loss in the long run, especially if you don't turn to other forms of exercise during that period, says Dr. Bedrossian. Establishing a walking routine now can ensure it becomes an integral part of maintaining a healthy lifestyle well into the later years of life, when higher-impact exercise can be difficult.
3. Walking improves mental health.
While there is no shortage of devoted runners who will tell you that running comes close to a spiritual experience, walking has been proven to elicit mental and emotional benefits that some experts liken to being in a meditative state. Especially if you can do it in nature. In his most recent study, Marc Berman at Baycrest's Rotman Research Institute in Toronto found that participants displayed a "16 percent increase in attention and working memory" after an hour spent walking in nature as opposed to a bustling urban environment. Regardless of where you do it, walking is a great way to boost levels of serotonin and other neurotransmitters that help improve our mood and put an extra hop in our step.
4. Running causes you to eat more.
While further research needs to be done to confirm whether running in and of itself causes one to eat more, current studies do show that while type of exercise might not necessarily cause excessive hunger, the length of time spent doing it, can. "The duration of exercise may be the most important factor in controlling an increased appetite induced by exercise," says Dr. Bedrossian. Bursts of short, intense exercise such as running, or low-intensity exercises like walking, seem to help control eating compensation, whereas exercising too much or too long can hinder weight loss efforts by patients increasing how much they eat and their food choices. Simply put, unless you're an athlete in training, there are drawbacks to overdoing it, one of which could be eating in excess. In this case, more is not necessarily better, whether you are walking or running.
5. Walking actually wards off disease.
Dr. Bedrossian expounds the benefits of walking as a means of preventing and managing osteoporosis. It works as a weight-bearing exercise, which describes any exercise done on your feet that works your bones and muscles against gravity. But the list of disease and chronic illnesses that walking helps prevent doesn't stop there, going on to include the treatment of anxiety and fatigue, prevention of Alzheimer's, and an overall improvement to quality of life. A recent study conducted by the Journal of the American Heart Association also found that walking lowers the risk of high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes, with results being marginally better among walkers versus runners.
Thai Chicken Noodle Bowl</br>Photography by Jeff Coulson Credits: Thai Chicken Noodle Bowl</br>Photography by Jeff Coulson
©iStockphoto.com/slidezero_com Credits: ©iStockphoto.com/slidezero_com
Learn how feng shui techniques can declutter your home and create positive space in your life.
Do you want to bring happiness, good fortune and wellness into your life this year? Turn to the positive energies of feng shui as your guide. The ancient Chinese art of living in harmony with your environment can help spruce up your home and simultaneously create balance and joy.
Bridget Saraka, the Saskatoon-based owner of Feng Shui by Bridget, says the practice offers life-changing benefits. "Feng shui is about creating a space that's not only pleasing to your eye, but also pleasing to all your senses, so that your home supports and enriches your life," she says. "How we live has a profound impact on what our experiences will be. When you apply feng shui principles to your home, you can attract a great new year."
If your home is cluttered, dimly lit and has poorly arranged furniture, feng shui principles state that your life will be filled with obstacles and present few opportunities for growth. As a result, your job, relationships, finances and health can become stagnant. By making a few small changes, you can revitalize your space and your life. Here are six simple tips to get started:
1. Make your front door visible to receive blessings
In feng shui, a hard-to-read house number or a blocked walkway to a door will prevent positive energy from entering the home. "Have an address that's easy to see from the street and a path from your front door into your home that isn't cluttered with obstacles," says Saraka. "If the universe can't find you, how can fortunate blessings find you?"
2. Add colour for good health
Taupes and other neutral colours are popular in home decor, but they might contribute to low moods and energy levels during Canada's long, dark winters. "They're the wrong colour palate for Canadians because many of us suffer from seasonal affective disorder," says Saraka. From a feng shui perspective, these colours absorb the winter light, leaving Canadians feeling depressed and directionless.
To boost health and energy, start by painting your walls. "Choose a colour that's warm yet still reflects light – soft yellows, soft greens – colours that give a feeling of the sun and nature," says Saraka. "Green makes all colours pop, plus it's about life, vitality, growth and new vibrations." If you can't afford to paint, use colourful accessories—accent pillows, throws, live flowers, lighting in dark corners—to ignite powerful energy shifts in your home. "It's the easiest and most affordable way to do it," says Saraka.
3. Edit your belongings
Clear the bad vibes that accompany clutter. "Go through your home with a keen eye to what no longer serves you. If you haven't worn or used it within a year, donate it," says Saraka. "If it's broken and you're not going to repair it, remove it from the space. This editing practice opens up your home so you have room to experience a new chapter." Items that hold upsetting memories should be removed, too.
4. Let indoor plants and water bring prosperity
¨Want to attract wealth this year? Bring plants and a water fountain into your home. "Jade plants and fountains are symbols that represent wealth and finance in feng shui," says Saraka. Your health may also benefit from plants and flowers inside the home. "They purify the air," says Saraka, "And as you nurture the plant, you're nurturing yourself."
5. Position furniture for safety
If you don't feel safe and comfortable in your home, your furniture placement might be to blame. "Feng shui is first and foremost about comfort and safety," says Saraka. "Make sure that the largest piece of furniture in any room is in a position where you can see the door. If the sofa or head of the bed is against the same wall as the door, you can't see who is coming in. This creates a sense of vulnerability."
6. Use essential oils to attain happiness
Essential oils can help clear negative energy and add happy vibes to your home. "Put distilled water in a spritzer bottle, add three to six droplets of oil, and then spritz the air," says Saraka. If someone has been ill, Saraka recommends a blend of frankincense and cinnamon. ¨"To infuse a space with joy, use rose and orange essential oils. Rose is about love. Orange is about joy. So you're infusing joyful love into your space." Essential oils can be purchased from most health-food stores.
For more feng shui tips, check out how you can declutter your car.