Healthy Lifestyle Guide
EDMONTON AMONG CANADA'S MOST UNHEALTHY CITIES!
In 2016, Edmonton ranked in the bottom of the 10 major Canadian cities for overall health ranking. Edmonton finished last and second last for population health and healthy life styles which include highest incidents of stroke, heart disease and cancer among Canadian metropolitan population.
City Health Grade - Overall Ranking (2016)
4. Quebec City
ENTER OPERATION 'HEALTH CITY'
Later on in 2016, the City of Edmonton launched the Health City proposal to reroute the course. Health City’s role is to help pave the way for the transformation of our health economy. This will drive improved health outcomes and economic development for our region that can be scaled globally. Information on this project can be found here:
MOVING FORWARD ON HOW TO LIVE A HEALTHY LIFESTYLE:
1) Physical Activity: Keep Moving Forward
Active adults are less likely to suffer from:
- High blood pressure
- type II diabetes
- coronary heart diseases
Regular Physical Activity Helps to maintain a healthy body. Ideally, 150 minutes is the amount of moderate exercise required to significantly reduce the risk of deathly disease. A supportive environment and community help people to be physically active.
2) Portion Control: Forget Calorie Counting
60-70% of your ability to achieve results come down to what you are putting into your body. Good nutrition is often the missing building block when it comes to achieving your health goals.
Try this Method Instead:
Most People think controlling portions means counting calories, but can be time consuming. Try this simple, short method for measuring food portions.
Hand Measure System:
1 Serving of Protein = 1 palm.
1 Serving of Vegetables = 1 fist.
1 Serving of Carbs = 1 cupped hand.
1 Serving of Fats = 1 thumb.
What does a healthy meal looks like?
Before mastering meal prep, learn what, and how much, to eat.
Lean Proteins: 1-2 Palms
Vegetables: 1-2 Fists
Carbs: 1-2 Cupped Hands
Fats: 1-2 Thumbs
3) 4 Types of Physical Activity.
An everyday walk of the dog and weekend bike rides are nice, but they are not enough to maintain the way you want to look and feel. While these types of activities are important to our overall calorie expenditure, we often overestimate how active we are since much of our day involves sitting. Heres the thing, we know that while everyday activity is great, our bodies simply need more to stave off chronic conditions and diseases.
WHAT DO WE NEED TO DO DIFFERENTLY?
To truly understand the context of where your everyday activity sits in the spectrum of energy burn, there are 4 main concepts that affect energy burn in the body:
STATE 1 - NEAT
Non-exercise activity thermogenesis is the energy expended for everything we do that is not sleeping, eating or sports-like exercise. It includes the energy expended walking to work, typing, performing yard work, and fidgeting. While NEAT plays a role in our overall energy expenditure, it won't necessarily have enough of an impact to result in positive changes in your body composition or stave off chronic diseases - overtime, our body adapts tour current level of movement.
STATE 2 - High INTENSITY EXERCISE
High intensity exercise could be considered anything above normal everyday level of exertion. This feels like you are out of breath, your body starts to fatigue, and your heart is pumping at a rate higher than normal.
During this type of exercise, you will burn calories at a rate 2-4 times faster then during NEAT. In addition, accelerating your heart rate and breathing has numerous health benefits including strengthening organs like your heart and lungs, increasing blood flow, and releasing essential hormones that help drive normal bodily functions. It is recommended that people should try to achieve a minimum of 15 minutes of this type of activity 3-4 times per week.
State 3 - EPOC
Your body is more effective at burning calories after an exercise session. the after burn effect can be likened to a cars engine remaining warm after being turned off. Once a workout is over and your back in your daily routine, your body metabolism can continue to burn more calories at rest. this is called excess post-exercise oxygen consumption, or EPOC, which is the amount of oxygen required to restore your body to its normal resting level of metabolic function.
State 4 - Progressive Overload
This principle states that it is necessary to create a stimulus to your body that exceeds the stimulus it receives on a regular basis. You can achieve this by increasing volume, intensity, frequency, or time in order to achieve your targeted goal. Simply, put, it means consistently challenging yourself to do a little more or a little better.
When we overload our muscles we force our body to add more of it, muscle is a funny thing though - the more of it you have, the more calories are required to maintain it. That mens that the more muscles you cary on your body, the more calories you burn at rest. for this reason, including resistance training 3-5x a week is necessary to maintain a higher metabolic rate at rest.
Not to discredit your every day movement (NEAT), but the reality is it will not be enough to see any type of favourable changes to your aesthetics and overall health. To see true changes, we need to initiate the high intensity exercise, EPOC and progressive overload.
5) FIVE CHALLENGES TO HEALTHY LIVING
Living an active lifestyle and making healthy nutritional choices is not easy. Challenges arise daily that ultimately prevent you from making good choices. The first step in facing these challenges is to identify them. By understanding what these are, you can then begin to consciously plan your day around making better choices. Here are some of the challenges and some basic approaches to addressing them.
1. Knowledge and Complexity
Healthy lifestyles are complex and require knowledge about your body that you need to apply almost every moment of every day. To combat this challenge, educate yourself on basic physical activity and nutritional requirements of the body. Ultimately, you need to find ways to work this knowledge into your everyday decisions.
Even if you know what to do, many times you don't have the time, organization or energy at the end of the day to complete the following:
Proper Food Preparation:
- meal plan, shop, prep, weighing food, cooking, packaging, cleanup.
Planning Exercise Activities:
- Packing a gym bag and change of clothes, booking a time to workout during the day, figuring out what activity or exercise to do, coordinating a trainer/workout partner.
For most of the adult population, its about prioritization and planning. putting together a daily plan for these two functions is imperative, it can be done the night before by simply taking 20 minutes and thinking through your next days meals and activities.
Once you have a certain behaviour that makes your life easier or simpler, it is difficult to change - no matter how hard you try or how important the goal is. in order to change a habit, it takes 21 days for the mind to adjust and accept a new habit. That means once you make a decision to start planning proper activities, you need to commit, no matter how hard it is, to a full three weeks of the same routine.
Eating Healthy is typically more expensive. However, think about the cost of not taking care of yourself and not just in terms of dollars. We mean in terms of time: years of your life can be lost altogether or worse, spent in pain, misery, and suffering. Compare this to the money you spend on not being healthy today and think how much you spend on: alcohol, tobacco, fast food, and junk food. At the end of the day, it comes down to a decision of how you want to live your life.
5. Travel & On the Road
If your job or lifestyle requires you to be in your car everyday, you need to get into the habit of pre-prepared meals and planning your activity. Travel by plan can be even more difficult when you can't take your food with you, or are stuck in airports. However, that is where a knowledge of portions control and macro nutrient make up, and timing is required to make the best of the situation.
In addition, if you know it will be difficult to make it to the gym, ensuring you maximize your available movement is highly advised (this means walking as much as possible and avoiding moving walkways and escalators).