All Posts in Category: Lifestyle

Stand Up For Your Health

Modern life has been developed to put many workers into chairs.  This has led to the ever changing pursuit for the perfect ergonomic chair. If you do an internet search, you will find hundreds of chairs professing to be exactly what you need to improve “insert health condition.” Perspective is important; by reframing, you can actually correct most sitting related health condition. The human body was not made to be seated.  Instead of finding the perfect chair the answer may be found in sitting less.

This might be described as ‘paleo-working’; finding ways to return to a normal body position. Walking, standing, squatting and lying – those are the natural physiological positions for the body. Sitting in a chair does not even come into the equation.  Is sitting making a difference to our collective health?

Connections have been established between the amount of time seated and many chronic health concerns:

  • high blood pressure and heart disease
  • metabolic syndrome and diabetes
  • obesity
  • kidney disease
  • colorectal cancer
  • shortened life span

This list is pretty intangible; on a day to day basis, you don’t notice these things creeping up on you. You do notice the effects of sitting and you may not even realize it. Let me outline some notable daily health effects by way of example.  Recently, we installed an Anthrodesk convertible desk  (allows for standing or sitting) at our front desk for the clinic administrative lead to use.  This a picture of her day; she starts at 7:30 am and works until 4:00 pm, five days a week.  She is busy performing her duties which largely tie her to a computer. Although she gets away from her desk as much as possible, those opportunities amount to only a small portion of her day.

Her convertible work station has been in place for only a couple of weeks and she is so happy with the new ergonomic options it has created.  The desk gives her flexibility; she can raise or lower the desk in under a minute.  This means she can stretch while working. She is not getting up and down throughout the day as much.  She reports less back and neck pain during her work day.  The most notable comment though is an improvement in her sleep. She attributes this to decreased nighttime pain resulting in more restful nights. This also results in improved mood and energy for her.

Couple these experiential results with the above research about the long-term health effects of sitting, makes using a standing or convertible desk a justifiable (even necessary) change that you could easily implement to improve your health and happiness today and in the future. Small changes can make a big difference.


Chronic disease and sitting time in middle-aged Australian males: findings from the 45 and Up Study. George ES et. al. International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity 2013 10:20

Too much sitting – A health hazard. Dunstan, David W. et al. Diabetes Research and Clinical Practice, 97:3 , 368 – 376

Sedentariness at Work: How Much Do We Really Sit? McCrady SK Levine JA. Obesity 2009 17, 2103–2105.

Association of Sitting Time and Physical Activity With CKD: A Cross-sectional Study in Family Practices Bharakhada, Nilesh et al. American Journal of Kidney Diseases, 2012 60:4  583 – 590.

Associations of Recreational Physical Activity and Leisure Time Spent Sitting With Colorectal Cancer Survival. Campbell PT et al. Journal of Clinical Oncology 2013 31:7, 876-885

Sitting Time and All-Cause Mortality Risk in 222 497 Australian Adults. van der Ploeg, HP et al. Arch Intern Med. 2012 172(6):494–500.

Disclosure: The convertible desk mentioned above was provided by Anthrodesk in return for a product review.  The opinions expressed and content is entirely that of the author with complete freedom to provide unbiased feedback. No financial compensation was provided.
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Keeping Yourself Healthy

There are many activities that people recommend. If you are healthy and you would like to stay that way there are a handful of daily activities and nutrients you can make part of your daily routine to ensure on-going high levels of well-being. Go through this list daily and you will be moving toward wellness.


Breathe fully
Breathing with the full volume of your lungs is normal, but most people in western society shallow breathe. The act of breathing deeply has a calming affect by transferring energy away from the sympathetic (fight or flight) nervous system to the parasympathetic nervous system. If you have never learned breathing techniques then you might consider finding someone to coach you through this: a qigong master, a yogi, etc.

Quality Sleep
It is not possible to heal or retain health without deep restful sleep. Sleep disruptions including noise, light, temperature, stress, alcohol, posture (inadequate mattress or pillow support), family relationships (parenting, co-sleeping, primary care giving), medications, poor air quality, pain, food reactions (heartburn, caffeine, etc), shift work, emotional turmoil, and the list goes on. Your pre-bedtime ritual can make a difference too. Looking into a screen (TV, phone, tablet or computer ) prior to turning in gives your primitive brain the idea that you are staring at the sun, and therefore, it is not time to sleep. Your body registers light even if you wear an eye mask. Your bedroom should be free of all light sources, including clocks; if you get up in the night, opt to leave the light off if possible. Just make sure the pathway to the toilet is clear before climbing into bed.

Time spent outdoors helps in several ways. The fresh air invigorates your mind and stimulates your nervous system. Exposure to summer sun promotes Vitamin D production. The bright light, especially in the morning, helps to regulate the circadian rhythm thereby improving sleep.

Promote Digestive Health
We only function well if we are absorbing our food adequately. If you are uncomfortable after eating (bloating, gas, heartburn, cramping) then you are likely not getting the most of the foods that you are eating. If you are not having a well-formed bowel movement 1-3 times daily you are not removing toxins well from your body.

Laugh and Play
These activities improve mood. A strong social network that allows you the opportunity to experience happiness drives away long-standing undesirable moods (depression, anxiety, irritability) from your life.

Sufficient Water
Water is really the elixir of life. Unlike the myth it won’t grant you eternal life, but without it you are decidedly reducing your quality of life. Water is the solvent that our bodies run on. You lose it constantly through your breath, sweat and urine production. This corner of BC has high quality tap water and you should not be afraid to drink it. In many cases, it is better than bottled water which may have extra contaminants from the plastic bottle it comes in. If you are a regular consumer of coffee and/or alcohol then you should at minimum increase your water consumption to compensate for the added requirements these habits contribute.

Regular Movement
Your body was made to move constantly. If you are like many of the worker bees in our society, you will find yourself seated for large sections of your day. Look for opportunities to add more movement. This is part of the detoxification process. It pumps the cellular waste from the extremities and prevents them from damaging your tissues. Lack of movement leads to breakdown of muscle tissue. When you lose muscle, your posture suffers and you will develop health issues as a result.

Complete Diet
A healthy diet consists primarily of whole foods (not packaged or processed). If you prepare them yourself in your home then you have the most important part of a healthy diet in order. The rest is about balance of nutrients and moderating excesses.

At the end of each day if you have taken care of these areas of your life you can expect to be moving your health in a positive direction.  These things underlie all others components of healthy living. If you feel you could use help with any or all of these items or other health challenges please arrange an appointment with me and we will work through your challenges together.


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