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5 Tips to Keep you Active and Healthy this Winter

  • EAT REAL FOOD!

When you eat food, ensure that it’s not just empty calories but nutritious, whole foods that will support your immune system. Include garlic, ginger and onion to warm foods and make sure you include lots of fresh, organic produce. Stews, casseroles, curries and soups are the obvious winners for winter.

I found this awesome new product from Brio Emporium which is a sure fire winner for my busy family. It’s Mead & Marrow Bone Broth Concentrate which you mix up in a cup of hot water – instant broth! How amazing is that? It’s made from grass fed beef, made here on the Gold Coast and comes in a couple of flavours.

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  • KEEP YOUR WORKOUT ROUTINE GOING!

Yes, it’s cold – especially this week! Getting up at 5:30am to get your workout in before work feels insane when it looks like nighttime outside, right? If you stick to your consistent workout routine, your body will love you for it. Getting your body moving early in the morning will kick start a cold, drab day and keep your motivation up. If you can move your schedule back an hour, awesome, otherwise consider working out in the evening if you think it will be more achievable to stick to your workout routine.

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  • MAKE THE MOST OF THE SUNSHINE!

Catch some winter sun rays whenever you get the chance to boost your vitamin D levels. Winter sun on the Gold Coast is pretty glorious so soak it up! You’ll not only build up your immune system but also increase the oxygenation of your blood cells and tissues, lower blood pressure and lift your mood.

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  • DRY BRUSHING!

Tried dry brushing? Before you shower, right before you step in, take a medium bristle shower brush and vigorously brush your skin starting from your feet, up to your heart. Our skin is the largest organ of the body and it’s continuously shedding (bleh!). A regular 5 minute dry brush removes these dead layers of skin effectively leaving your skin fresh and vibrant, plus it helps to improve your circulation, warming your body all over. It’ll also stimulate your lymphatic system which helps eliminate toxins from your body!

Spa bath setting –brush ,towel and nature soap

  • STAY SOCIAL!

Avoid hibernation this winter by making regular meet ups with friends and family. Happy humans socialise, so take turns of catching up at a warm home – around a fire preferably. Socialisation helps to keep your mood elevated and has been proven to improve mental vigour and longevity.

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Good to the Bone

The thing I’ve come to learn is that the majority of us all have injuries. From issues that might cause infrequent discomfort to injuries that are a constant pain in the neck. Many of you love Pilates because of the support it offers, strengthening the small stabilising muscles and the bigger supporting muscles allowing greater movement, strength and flexibility.

Along with Pilates, another amazing modality to assist in pain relief and assisting you on the road to recovery is Osteopathy. One of the best Osteopaths around is Tracey Spruyt from Osteozone. We asked Tracey about what it is that she does and how she does it.

P&C: What does an Osteopath do? 
Tracey: An Osteopath specialises in musculoskeletal medicine and treats a range of conditions and injuries through manual treatment and exercise.  The key complaints I see in practice are chronic lower back pain with sciatic symptoms, neck pain, headaches and migraines, sporting injuries including rotator cuff and shoulder impingements, tennis elbow, ankle sprains and knee pain due to muscle instability and weakness.

P&C: What would a general appointment with you entail?
Tracey: The Osteopathic appointment (45min consult) includes a brief discussion of the patients presenting injury or condition, including the patients history and other pre-existing conditions.  The majority of the consultation is comprised of manual therapy to alleviate the patients pain symptoms, and prescription of simple exercises and advice such as ergonomics to prevent further injury.

P&C: Who can benefit from seeing an osteopath?
Tracey: Those who suffer from acute or chronic musculoskeletal pain as a result of sporting injuries, poor posture or ergonomics, pregnancy or post pregnancy, overuse injuries, or stress and anxiety.  People of all ages can benefit from Osteopathic treatment, particularly those with a sports background or those wishing to increase or return to an active lifestyle.

P&C: How hands on are you with clients? 
Tracey: As an Osteopath, manual therapy is the key component of the treatment which is individualised to the patient’s specific injury or condition. The types of hands on techniques include soft tissue manipulation, articular mobilisation, stretching, balancing, dry needling and sports kinesio taping.

P&C: How do you feel Pilates and Osteopathy work together?
Tracey: I believe that Pilates is an amazing adjunct to Osteopathic treatment as it addresses many of the muscle imbalances and weakness (especially core stability) which I see in practice every day.  Osteopathy can also benefit those who practice Pilates by addressing muscle tension and articular restrictions which may cause pain or repetitive strains.

Sweet Dreams…

So, how’s your sleep, are you getting enough? Studies show that a good night’s sleep improves learning, preparing your brain for the next day and forming new neural pathways to allow you to learn new stuff and remember it! I for one am a huge lover of sleep and have no issues popping right off, but I know a staggering amount of people who suffer from insomnia or who have kids that wake them continuously through the night.

We’ve all had a crappy nights sleep before and we all know that foggy brain next day feeling. The effects of sleep deprivation are pretty startling and effect us both mentally and physically.

Mental effects of sleep deficiency –

  • you may have trouble making decisions
  • you may have trouble solving problems
  • you may have issues controlling your emotions and behaviour
  • you may have trouble coping with change

Sleep deficiency also has been linked to depression, suicide, and risk-taking behavior.

Physical effects of sleep deficiency –

  • ongoing sleep deprivation is linked to heart disease. Your blood vessels and heart undergo healing and repair during sleep!
  • increased risk of obesity
  • lack of sleep causes hormonal imbalance. The hormone in charge of making you feel full (leptin) drops with lack of sleep and the hormone in charge of making you feel hungry (ghrelin) goes up!
  • changes how your body reacts to insulin
  • deep sleep supports healthy and normal growth and development in children and teens
  • deep sleep also helps to repair cells and tissues and build muscle mass
  • our immune system is compromised by lack of sleep

Here are some achievable tips on how to get (you and your kids) to sleep and stay there –

  1. Keep to a sleep schedule. Go to bed and rise at the same time, every day of the week
  2. Put down those laptops, phones and iPads a good hour (at least!) before your bedtime and make sure they are at least 2 metres away from your bed while you sleep
  3. Don’t have any caffeine after lunch time
  4. Take part in regular exercise. Pilates anyone?
  5. Use essential oils to help create a peaceful and relaxed state of mind. Lavender, ylang-ylang and chamomile activate the alpha wave activity in the brain. Try a roller with some diluted essential oil in carrier oil on your temples, the back of the neck or diffuse it in your bedroom.
  6. Make sure your bed and pillow are top notch. You spend a lot of time in your life in bed (hopefully) so get the best you can afford.

How much sleep should you be getting? Generally for adults, 7 – 9 hours is recommended. For teens, 8 – 10 hours and children age 6 – 13, 9 – 11 hours is recommended.

Spiced Lentil Soup

This delicious and nutritious lentil soup will satisfy even the fussiest in the family. It’s quick and easy to prepare and make ticking all my boxes!

Here’s what you’ll need –

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil or ghee
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon ginger, finely sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped or crushed
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 3 cups vegetable or chicken stock
  • 1 cup dried red lentils (or puy lentils if not pureeing soup)
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon himalayan or sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons fresh coriander, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped

Here’s what to do –

  1. Heat oil or ghee in large saucepan over a medium heat. Add onions and cook until translucent, then add ginger, garlic and spices. Cook for one minute, stirring constantly.
  2. Add stock and lentils and bring to the boil. Cover pan and bring to simmer for approximately 20 minutes or until lentils are tender.
  3. Remove from heat. This is where you have the option to blend to a smooth soup (kids will prefer this option 98% of the time). Blend mixture (1/2 at a time) in your blender or use a stick mixer until smooth. If using a blender, remove the centre piece in the lid to allow steam to escape and place a piece of paper towel over the hole. Once you have blended your soup, pour mixture back into a clean pan.
  4. Stir in remaining ingredients over a low heat
  5. Serve and enjoy!

Stay Hydrated – even in winter

We all know that drinking adequate amounts of pure water is crucial for good health and that it’s important to increase our intake in the hotter months due to extra losses through perspiration.  We still need around 2L/8 glasses of water every day – even in winter.

Did you know that if you are only 2% dehydrated, your bodies physical performance can be affected due to the many processes that water is involved in? Even if you are slightly dehydrated, the activity of enzymes in the body can slow down which can lower metabolism and reduce your ability to exercise efficiently. Every cell in our bodies require water to function. It helps circulate nutrients around the body, regulates our body temperature, helps to improve our skins texture and colour, flushes toxins from the body and it keeps our joints healthy by hydrating cartilage. Research even shows that being dehydrated can make you grumpy and confused so drink up the good stuff!

Here’s our tips for keeping hydrated and staying hydrated:

  • Start your day with hot water and lemon juice or a herbal tea
  • Take a drink bottle with you everywhere you go
  • Try to drink a litre of water before 10am. Remember – by the time you feel dehydrated, you already are!
  • Drink water at room temperature if possible to help absorption
  • Use good quality salt (sea salt or himalayan salt) as they are rich in trace elements that are the foundation for optimum cell health and hydration
  • Reduce your caffeine consumption
  • If you need some flavour in your water, try a few drops of essential oils, an infuser with fresh fruit or Intra Strength
  • Mix it up with some coconut water which is rich in potassium, sodium and electrolytes

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