Besides being a full time physical education student, I also work as the Wellness Assistant in the University’s Human Resources department. In celebration of the University of Lethbridge’s 50th Anniversary, my department is writing and promoting “50 Ways to Stay Well in 2017.” I’ve been having a blast researching stats and articles on all these different aspects of wellness and it occurred to me, I should share this info with my readers too!
Every Sunday, I’ll post the new way to stay well for that week complete with local resources and articles to learn more.
Today, I’ll be posting numbers 1-4 to catch up on the January tips and challenges.
Mindfulness is defined as a mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations, used as a therapeutic technique. In today’s busy world, we are constantly multi-tasking and focusing on many things at once.
Your challenge is to spend a week in January training yourself to focus on one task at a time.
- 6 Mindfulness Exercises You Can Try Today (Pocket Mindfulness)
- Mindfulness Exercises (Living Well)
- 10 Ways to be Mindful at Work (Mindful.org)
Music has many health benefits; it improves visual & verbal skill, keeps an aging brain healthy, makes you happier, improves sleep quality, and reduces depression & anxiety.
Your challenge for this week is to find a playlist for every mood. Instead of getting ready in the morning listening to the news or TV, find an energizing playlist. During the work day, find a classical playlist that helps you focus and relax at the same time. After work, find a playlist that will help you wind down after a long day. In your car? Sing along to boost your mood!
Spotify is great free app that allows you to find music based on your mood.
- The Power of Music, Tapped in a Cubicle (New York Times)
- 5 Ways Music Improves Our Health (Huffington Post)
- Therapeutic benefits of music being used to treat Alzheimer’s, addiction, and depression (The Globe and Mail)
#3) Cross Country Skiing
Don’t let the cold keep you indoors! We’re fortunate here in Lethbridge to live so close to the Rocky Mountains and have access to a myriad of winter activities. The wind just makes it a little more interesting!
Cross Country skiing is a low-impact activity that is an excellent aerobic workout, and because no single muscle group is overstressed, the activity can be sustained for hours on end. Maintaining an elevated heart rate during exercise can strengthen and improve your heart’s capacity to pump blood efficiently and effectively. Studies also show that being outside, despite the temperature, helps improve happiness.
Your challenge this is to hit the trails with skis!
- You can head to Waterton Lakes National Park and rent cross country skiis from the Waterton lakes Lodge and ski to Cameron Lake on a flat and groomed trail. And all National Parks are FREE in 2017!
- Rent from Lethbridge’s Alpenland and hit the 30km of ski trails in Crowsnest Pass (download map here) or 17km of trails on the Syncline Cross Country Ski Trail nears Castle Mountain Resort
- 5 Reasons to Spend More Time Outside—Even When It’s Cold (TIME magazine)
- The jaw-dropping benefits of cross-country skiing (The Globe and Mail)
- Cross-Country Skiing: The Winter Workout You Should Be Doing (Men’s Fitness)
#4) Happy Heart – February is Heart Month!
More than 1.6 million Canadians report having heart disease. It is also the second leading cause of death in Canada, claiming more than 48,000 lives in 2012. You can reduce your risk of heart disease by understanding the risk factors that cause it, and making changes to your lifestyle.
- Heart-healthy diet: 8 steps to prevent heart disease (Mayo Clinic)
- 9 Great Heart-Friendly Exercises (Everyday Health)
- 5 Signs Your Heart Isn’t Working As Well As It Should (Prevention magazine)