Physical Health and Diet

Staying physically fit and eating nutritious food is important to staying healthy at any age, and decreases our chances of developing serious illnesses. Only 20% of Canadian adults meet the Canadian Physical Activity Guidelines meaning that they engage in 60 minutes of daily activity. This section will share current nutritional expertise and provide information on how you can enhance your physical health and diet to remain productive, healthy and safe at work.

5 Tips for Staying Healthy @ Work as an Older Worker

According to the latest census, for the first time ever, the number of seniors exceeds the number of children aged 14 and under. This means that we are facing a labour shortage as there is less people entering the workforce and more people leaving it. Yet, employment rate for both men and women over 65 is increasing, especially after the end of mandatory retirement in 2006 . Delayed retirement is great for social security and the economy, but it may raise some questions – what about the health of senior workers like you? And are you able to perform well at you job past 65?

5 ways to stay health @ work as an older worker

Although work itself can be a health benefit to the body and mind, working safety is important for health.

 

  • Avoid night shifts. With age, there are changes that happen in the circadian rhythm and as a result you may feel more active in the morning, unlike workers younger in age.
  • Avoid working overtime. Give yourself enough time to rest and recover from the workday.
  • Be in a state of anticipatory care. Learn about controlling pain and fatigue.
  • Take advantage of learning opportunities. Being open to organizational change and willing to learn can lower the risk of stress from dealing with new technologies. Studies show that older workers are able to learn new information well, even if some will require extra time.
  • Take care of your body – avoid smoking, eat well, keep active, and follow the safety procedures and policies in your work place.
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Do you know about your workplace wellness programs?

Wellness programs and initiatives have become a trend among employers in hopes to better the quality of life of their employees, create a healthy culture and save on future health care costs. The benefit of any program however is dependent on employees’ participation, among other things. Research shows that many are not even aware of what their employer offers and the wellness programs available to them, and when they are, not everyone participates. Here is why you should become aware, and participate in your workplace wellness programs and take advantage of what your employer is offering: 

5 reasons to participate in workplace wellness programs

  • Better overall wellbeing – wellness programs have positive affect on physical, social, and mental wellbeing
  • Increased productivity – with better health and work-life balance, employees are shown to miss less days of work due to sickness, and be more productive
  • Better sense of community – when employees participate together 
  • Healthy work culture – your participation and enthusiasm can contribute to better health culture at the workplace 
  • Ownership of your health – say yes to making healthy choices by participating

 

Read more to see what action you can take to get most out of your workplace wellness programs.

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How mindfulness works

Mindfulness is a state that involves the self-regulation of attention, allowing you to focus on the present moment and experience thoughts and sensations objectively, with curiosity, openness and acceptance, with the ultimate goal of controlling your reaction to those thoughts and sensations. The more you practice mindfulness, the better it works, and the greater the benefits.

Principles of good mindfulness practice

  • Paying attention to the moment-to-moment details of experience
  • Paying particular attention to the body and one’s experience of it
  • Recognizing the experience of mind and not getting caught in memories of the past or plans for the future
  • Trying neither too much nor too little
  • Letting go of distractions and paying attention to the present moment
  • Noticing one's experience without judging it
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Are you moving enough at work? Create a Walking Group!

To lead a healthy lifestyle, it is recommended that adults get 150 minutes of heart-pumping action each week. Learn how to take physical activity into your workplace by starting a walking group and adding movement into your workday with these healthy tips.

Build movement into your workday by:

  • Starting a walking group at work
  • Taking stretch breaks throughout the day
  • Have standing, or walking, meetings
  • Take the stairs
  • Build more walking and exercise into your commute
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Why am I so Tired?

We have all seen toddlers cry or melt down for no apparent reason. It is usually a reaction to being tired. The same thing can happen to adults, except that instead of crying, we simply absorb the effects of fatigue, allowing it to severely affect our quality of life.

How to conserve energy to fight fatigue:

  • Organize cupboards, storage areas and work areas so that frequently-used supplies, food items or equipment are always within easy reach.
  • Keep heavy items on a work surface to avoid having to move them when it’s time to use them.
  • Duplicate heavy items: keep a vacuum cleaner both upstairs and downstairs in your house.
  • If you’re working in the garden, use a gardening bench or a padded kneeler to reduce joint stress and conserve energy.
  • Delegate: ask or hire other people to carry out certain tasks that you find tiring.
  • Have groceries and other goods delivered to the home.
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Swim your way to Health

There are many different ways to exercise. Some build muscles in your legs and arms, others strengthen your back or improve flexibility. Most will increase your cardiovascular health, and some even reduce the effects of aging, significantly extending your life. Swimming does all of these things, so you don’t have to pick and choose, and it does it all with less impact on the body than with other sports. Swimming is in fact recommended for people recovering from injuries they may have suffered from over-exerting themselves in other sports. Best of all, anyone can swim, at any age and at any level of intensity. Here’s a closer look at some of the main benefits of swimming.

6 Benefits of Swimming

  • It’s a low impact sport
  • It’s good for the heart and lungs
  • It reduces the effects of aging
  • It works a wide range of muscles
  • It’s good for arthritis
  • It burns calories
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Mother Nature Knows Best – The Importance of Getting Green Exercise

Remember when your mother used to say, “go outside and play in the fresh air. It will do you some good!” She was right. Many of modern society’s most urgent physical health challenges, including obesity and coronary heart disease, are connected to sedentary and indoor lifestyles. Research now confirms that exercise performed in conjunction with exposure to nature, known as green exercise, has been associated with a variety of psychological and physiological benefits. Evidence indicates that exercising in a natural environment improves mood, and attention span, lowers heart rate and blood pressure, and relieves stress. Not only does green exercise have a therapeutic effect, helping us to recover from pre-existing stresses or problems, it can have an immunizing effect, protecting us from future stresses and the diseases caused by stress – particularly from cardiovascular disease.

The Therapeutic Effects of Green Exercise:

  • Relieve stress
  • Improve your mood
  • Help recover from injury or burnout
  • Have an immunizing effect against diseases
  • Prevent cardiovascular disease
  • Reduce blood pressure
  • Improve stamina
  • Prevent obesity
  • Treat depression
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Top Wellness Trends of 2019

There are many ways to stay healthy, from broad categories like managing diet and exercise to niche strategies like “forest-bathing” and brain-boosting. Here are a few of the most popular pathways to well-being for the year ahead.

Pathways to well-being

  • Give Yourself a Break
  • No Overtraining
  • Eating Plant Based Foods
  • Try Mediation
  • Enhance your Financial Wellness
  • Boost Your Brain
  • Unplug
  • Go Alcohol Free
  • Take Part in Green Exercise
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Interpreting the Canada’s Food Guide: How to Eat Your Way to A Better Life

There are so many different foods available to us now that choosing the healthiest options can be confusing. Canada’s Food Guide approaches the goal of eating well regarding daily requirements: it tells us which foods we should eat every day to give us the vitamins, minerals and nutrients our bodies require. Eating these foods can save your life. Here is a quick guide to eating well according to the Canada Food Guide.

Tips for Healthy Eating

  • Choose unprocessed foods
  • Eat breakfast every day
  • Steamed, baked or stir-fried is always better than deep fried
  • Read the Nutrition Facts label
  • Use fresh or dried herbs, spices, flavoured vinegar or lemon juice instead of salt to enhance the flavour of vegetables
  • Make your food a feast for the eyes
  • Keep your skin on your potato
  • Some fat is essential but keeps it in small amounts
  • Trim visible fats from meats
  • Choose dark mixed green salads with vegetables or fruit instead of Ceasar, Taco, Potato or Pasta Salads
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Staying Safe On, During, and After Vacation

If you research top travel destinations for Canadians, you will notice trends of new popular vacation spots. Destinations of travel are changing; more are opting for visiting famous spots in Latin America, Asia, Middle East, and Africa as opposed to an enclosed resort in a heavily explored island. This reflects love and curiosity for new places, but poses a risk of exposure to infectious diseases and other health and safety hazards. It’s no reason to fear however, the threats are preventable. With proper precaution and planning, the risks can be controlled for. Let’s talk about the before, during, and after of how to vacation safe. 

Key guidelines you should follow when travelling to countries that may have different safety practices and regulations

  • Eat foods that are fully cooked and served hot
  • Eat only fruits and vegetables that you can wash and peel yourself.
  • Eat and drink only dairy products that have been pasteurized.
  • Do not eat food from street vendors.
  • Drink beverages that have been bottled or sealed (water, carbonated drinks, or sports drinks).
  • Do not put ice in drinks.

 

Read more to know about prevention measures you can take to explore new destinations but avoid infectious disease.

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Active Aging and Acting Your Age

Have you ever wondered how some people manage to look ageless? Well into their 80s, they have a youthfulness that belies their age, and still participate in activities that younger adults enjoy. There are many factors affecting how we age, including financial security, but aging well, without mental and physical stress on our bodies, is within the reach of us all. Through a few simple daily practices and preventive measures, we can experience our senior years with a quality of life, rather than simply clinging to life.

Tips for aging successfully:

  • Prevention: Many diseases in later life are preventable through even minor lifestyle changes, even for people with chronic disabilities.
  • Nutrition: Nutrition is an important component of aging well, since it improves physical well-being while regulating stress and promotes social inclusion and participation.
  • Physical activity: Physical activity reduces by about 50% the risk of many disorders related to inactivity, such as heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
  • Mental health: Total health is not merely about the absence of infirmity or disease but a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being.
  • Join a program: In Canada, the New Horizons for Seniors Program is designed to empower seniors, encouraging them to share their knowledge, skills and experience with others in the community and enhance their social well-being.
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Beyond the Wrist Pads: Ergonomics is Everyone’s Concern

When most people hear the word ergonomics, they often think of office environment and equipment, but ergonomics is much more than chairs, computers and keyboards with wrist pads. Ergonomics is the science of fitting the job to the worker, and carries an important role in worker safety and musculoskeletal disorders (MSD) prevention.

Eight MSD Prevention Tips

  • If possible, lower rather than lift
  • Always use the proper lifting technique
  • Push rather than pull
  • Push or pull rather than carry
  • Work within the ‘power zone’
  • Avoid awkward postures
  • Build adjustability in the job
  • Consult with supervision when in doubt
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How to Beat the Burnout Blues

Feeling overextended at work? Burnout is a growing problem among office workers. It results from an accumulative overload of occupational stress, and causes adversarial mental or physical health conditions. When a person’s adaptive capabilities are overextended, repeatedly, burnout can occur. Researcher Evangelia Demerouti, who authored an article in the European Journal of Clinical Investigation identifies burnout as “intensive physical, affective and cognitive strain that is a longterm consequence of adverse working conditions.”

Here are some steps you can take to beat the burnout blues

  • Take Action and try Job Crafting
  • Take Time to Recover
  • Be Positive
  • Make Time for Exercise
  • Eat Well
  • Be Mindful or Spiritual
  • Laugh
  • Nurture Professional Relationships
  • Seek Help
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How Swimming is like Meditation

The physical health benefits of swimming are well known. It improves circulation, works the main muscle groups, lowers cholesterol and boosts cardiovascular health. Exercising in water can also be an important proponent of mental health. The rhythmic breathing and repetitive nature of swimming can have a meditative quality that promotes feelings of well being. Even light exercise in a swimming pool can help to decrease anxiety, heal depression and improve your general mood.

It’s all about the breathing. The rhythmic breathing, synchronized with repetitive strokes and body position in swimming can have a meditative quality. Here is how to make the most of it:

  • Inhale when your head is out of the water and exhale when your head is in the water.
  • We normally inhale and exhale on a one-to-one ratio, but in the pool, it’s better to breathe at a two-to-one ratio, with the exhale lasting twice as long as the inhale.
  • Completely exhale while your face is in the water so that when you come up, you’ll be ready for air intake.
  • Exhale through the nostrils to avoid swallowing water.
  • Establish a rhythm, synchronizing your breathing with the movements of your body.
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Benefits of Practicing Yoga

Stress is a killer. It can cause a variety of musculo-skeletal disorders, from back pain, and carpal tunnel syndrome to shoulder and neck tension. It can cause eye strain, chronic fatigue, gastrointestinal disturbances and headaches, and chronic stress is the leading cause of anxiety and depression.

Increasingly, medical researchers are studying ways to cope with stress that do not involve medical or pharmacological intervention, and one of these remedies is yoga. Research shows that practicing yoga has the power to beat stress, along with a myriad of health concerns that are caused by stress.

Yoga can:

  • Relieve stress
  • Treat musculo-skeletal disorders, from back pain to neck tension
  • Relax the body and mind
  • Fight pain
  • Relieve tension and reduce the risk of injury
  • Make you a better communicator
  • Promote the act of self-compassion
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How does my back work?

Learn about how your back works and basic body mechanics and safe lifting procedures.

Rules for Safe Lifting

  • Be sure to use your powerful leg muscles and large hip and knee joints while lifting.
  • Tighten your abdominal muscles (to stabilize your spine and pelvis) and tuck your buttocks under; then bend your knees and lift
  • Keep the person or object you are lifting close to your body when lifting.
  • Avoid reaching over your head to lift. Lift only to shoulder level.
  • Place your feet firmly on the floor shoulder width apart (about 30 cm), creating a strong, wide base.
    Place one foot in the direction of the lift and then pivot both feet in this direction while moving.
  • Avoid twisting your back.
  • Grasp the person or object firmly using your full hand.
  • Lift in stages if necessary.
  • If the person or object slips, lower her/him/it gently to the floor while tightening your abdominal muscles and avoiding rotation.
  • Remember that planning, rhythm and timing are important in making a safe lift.
  • Stand upright and bend backwards gently five or six times after lifting.
  • Use mechanical lifting devices whenever possible.
  • Special considerations for when pregnant
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Taking Healthy Eating on the Road: Packing a Lunch

Healthy eating at work has many benefits. It improves your energy level, helps you stay alert, manages stress, and feel better about yourself. So why is it so difficult for us to take healthy eating on the road?

Here are some quick tips to help you deal with some of the barriers to healthy eating at work.

1. Make Healthy Food a Priority
2. Love Your Leftovers
3. Eating Out? Check the Menu Before You Go
4. Have Back Up Staples Ready to Go
5. Beat the Afternoon Snack Attack

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Mind over Matter: how mindfulness can improve your life

The concept of mindfulness once associated with Buddhism, The Beatles and transcendental meditation. Today, mindfulness is a serious topic of research in the medical community, as a mounting body of evidence demonstrates that it can have a powerful effect on healthy living. This includes physical health as well as mental health. From helping people face the challenges of stress reduction to treating individuals with serious mental health issues, mindfulness is proving to be one of the most adaptive remedies for a range of wellness issues. But what is mindfulness, and how does it work?

Benefits of mindfulness

  • Stress management - numerous studies point to meditation to reduce anxiety and increase positive affect.
  • Reduced anxiety – research shows that meditation contributes to faster recovery after a negative provocation.
  • Reduced symptoms of depression – it has been shown to reduce symptoms and recurrence rates in people suffering from depression.
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Retaining your independence – Healthy Aging Formula for Seniors

It is common knowledge that life expectancy in Canada is increasing. Living long however is most desirable when it is accompanied by living well and healthy. According to statistics gathered in Toronto, 74% of seniors describe their general health is good, very good, or excellent, and 93% say that their mental health is good, very good or excellent. And yet, diabetes, dementia, and injuries resulting in emergency visits or hospitalizations are on the rise among those 65 and older (Healthy Aging in Toronto, 2017). Healthy, or successful aging is an outcome of many factors. Some of those factors are beyond our reach, but there is a path you can follow. It is never too late to adopt healthy behaviour or discard unhealthy ones, become more socially engaged, or reap benefits from more supportive environments. Let’s see the formula for healthy aging!

The Five Factors of Healthy Aging

1) Social Connectedness
2) Physical activities
3) Healthy eating for mature bodies
4) Injury prevention
5) Putting down risky habits

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Men, let’s talk about your health

You may have heard that men live shorter lives than women. Men are live less healthy lives. According to Men’s Health Resource Center this is in part because they are more likely to go long periods of time without going to the doctor and less likely to adopt preventative health measures. For some, the only time they step into a clinic is when their health has severely declined, making the prognoses bleaker, all the while their condition was preventable. Visiting a physician is a sign of caring for your health, not a sign of weakness. Changing your health patterns can prolong your life, and improve its quality. It’s time to take care of your health. Let’s look at three health issues that are prevalent in men and four things you can do to prevent them.

If any of the following statements apply to you, it’s time to visit a physician:

  • You have found something on your body or have a symptom and it doesn’t go away after 2 weeks
  • You’ve heard people saying “you should get that checked out…”
  • You keep trying to self-diagnose by Googling the same symptoms for some time now
  • You don’t remember the last time you’ve stepped into a doctor’s office. It’s time for a physical
  • You are at a high risk for a serious health issue due to family history or other factors and you do not monitor your symptoms
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How to Cope with Burnout

Work-related burnout is the inability to manage work demands that exceed your ability to cope – is often due to diminished resources: diminishing time, mental and energetic resources, and often a consequent diminishment in the willingness to invest the effort needed to complete work tasks.

How to Cope with Burnout

Researchers developed a new model called SOC: a combined use of Selection, Optimization and Compensation. These strategies, alone or in combination, were found to buffer the unfavorable effects of burnout. The SOC model was developed partly to explain how individuals might deal with diminishing resources that come with illness or physical deterioration – conditions that are especially applicable to aging workers. It consists of the following management strategies:

  • Selection: This involves selecting the goals to pursue – acknowledging that you can’t accomplish everything – and then setting goal priorities. It may involve abandoning nonimportant or less important goals.
  • Optimization: This is about optimizing and using goal-relevant means. For example, it may mean learning new procedures for performing certain tasks, or making other attempts at adaptation.
  • Compensation: This involves using compensatory means to maintain goal attainment when previously employed resources are no longer available or blocked. It might entail using external aid.
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How Happy are You?

In the movies, existential anguish is considered heroic and deep. In real life, the goal is to experience as much happiness as possible, to be at peace with the world and grateful for what we have. But how does one define happiness? What are the basic principles of living a happy life. Here is a look at how researchers define happiness.

The word happiness is synonymous with quality of life or well-being. It denotes that a life is good – but what is good about that life? According to research published recently in the International Journal of Psychology, there are certain elements conducive to happiness:

Research has shown that, among populations, the following elements contribute to life’s happiness:

  • Wealth
  • Freedom of Choice
  • Equality
  • Security
  • Institutional Quality
  • Modernity
  • Education
  • Occupation
  • Social Participation
  • Intimate Ties
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What does it take to be Happy? It’s a Simple Formula!

Happiness may be elusive, but there is one thing we know for sure: being healthy makes you happy, and being happy makes you healthy. Being happy and healthy propels you to face the world in a positive way, every day. Just having a reason to smile lowers your blood pressure, combats stress and boosts your immune system. It builds confidence, and that helps you to achieve your goals. Best of all, it’s contagious: being happy makes other people happy. So how do you get there?

Here are seven behaviours that make up the happiness formula:

  • Letting Go
  • Staying Connected
  • Getting Involved
  • Being a Kid Again
  • Buying Time, Not Things
  • Getting Some Exercise
  • Finding Meaningful Work
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External Links

Australian Government Healthy Workers Initiative

This website is designed for employers and includes a range of information and resources to assist with making workplaces healthier. It has information for both employers and employees.

You may find this site useful if you want to learn more about

  • Moving more
  • Eating well
  • Maintaining healthy weight
  • Alcohol use
  • Being smoke free
  • How to create a healthy workplace
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Sex and U

SexandU.ca takes a real-life approach to the questions and issues around sex and sexuality that matter most to Canadians. From talking about sex, to lifestyle choices, to contraception awareness and sexually transmitted infections, SexandU.ca provides accurate, credible, and up-to-date information and education on topics related to sexual and reproductive health. SexandU.ca is an initiative of the Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada, Canada’s leading authority on sexual and reproductive health.

On the site you will find information about:

  • Your body and sex
  • LGBTTQ+
  • Sexually Transmitted Infections
  • Contraception
  • Pregnancy
  • Consent
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What is Brain Health?

What is Brain Health? is a national campaign to help raise awareness about brain health while empowering older adults to make the most of their brains as they age.

At this site you can access information about:

  • How your brain changes as you age
  • Tips on how to engage your brain
  • Other resources and information about brain health
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10 Ted Talks for When You are Feeling Burned out

As the TED Talk summary says these talks are for when you are feeling worn out, exhausted and bleary-eyed… they are a little something to ease your frustration and get you feeling better.

Topics covered include:

  • 10 minutes of mindfulness – Andy Puddicombe
  • How to make stress your friend – Kelly McGonigal
  • The power of time off – Stefan Sagmeister
  • Flow, the secret to happiness – Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi
  • The Art of Stillness – Pico Iyer
  • Wait it Out – Imogen Heap
  • Your elusive creative genius – Elizabeth Gilbert
  • Are you Human – Ze Frank
  • How to Succeed? Get More sleep – Arianna Huffington
  • The happy secret to better work – Shawn Achor
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My Health Matters

My Health Matters delivers health information based on your personal health priorities and your individual life stage. Our articles, videos, recipes and interactive tools will help you manage and improve your health. All the content is developed and written specifically for women by the experts at Women's College Hospital.

You may find this site useful if you want:

  • Search health related content by your age
  • Identify health priorities
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Canadian Physical Activity and 24-Hour Movement guidelines

Just 2 in 10 Canadians meet the Canadian Physical Activity and 24-Hour Movement guidelines. This site shares important information to help you maximize the health benefits of physical activity.

This site contains:

  • Guidelines for Early Years age 0-4 - Infants, toddlers and preschoolers need to Move, Sleep and Sit the right amounts.
  • Guidelines for Children and Youth age 5-17 - Guidelines encourage kids to Sweat, Step, Sleep and Sit the right amounts each day.
  • Guidelines for Adults age 18-64 - Guidelines to help maximize the health benefits of physical activity for adults.
  • Guidelines for Older Adults age 65+ - Physical activity recommendations to maintain health and quality of life
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Optimal Aging – McMaster University Creates Evidenced Based Site for Healthy Aging

This website provides evidence based information about healthy aging. The this site and its social media network will  brings you the best available related research evidence at the McMaster Optimal Aging Portal

This site contains content on:

  • Women’s Health
  • Men’s Health
  • Mental Health
  • Cancer
  • Exercise
  • Nutrition
  • Consumer Protection
  • Arthritis
  • Transportation
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Dietitians of Canada

Dietitians of Canada (DC) is the professional association whose purpose is to advance health through food and nutrition, They provide evidenced based food and nutrition information, support easier access to adequate safe and healthy food, promote best practices and advocate for access to dietitians. The site provides lots of great information from finding a dietitian to planning meals and eating while you are breastfeeding.

On the site you will find:

  • A database to search for a dietitian
  • Tools to assess your BMI, eating and recipes
  • Tools to help you plan meals, shop and cook, and
  • Nutrition information
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ParticipACTION

ParticipACTION is a national non-profit organization whose mission is to help Canadians sit less and move more. Originally established in 1971, ParticipACTION works with its partners, which include sport, physical activity, recreation organizations, government and corporate sponsors, to make physical activity a vital part of everyday life.

This site contains:

  • A Get Started program which  introduces all the info and tools you need to work toward your health and fitness goals
  • Other programs designed to help Canadians of all ages move their bodies more at work, school and play such as the Canada 150, Sneak it in a Week, RBC Lear to Play  and Make Room for Play
  • Research, featured articles and a blog
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Health Report: Duration and quality of sleep among Canadians aged 18 to 79

Insufficient sleep (short duration and poor quality) is associated with a range of adverse health outcomes, including obesity, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, injuries, all-cause mortality, depression, irritability, and reduced well-being.(1) In today’s 24/7 world, insufficient sleep is common.(2)(3)

This site provides information about

  • How many Canadians are meeting sleep duration recommendations
  • Male vs. female sleep duration
  • Percentage of seniors meeting sleep duration recommendations
  • Sleep Quality
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