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Summer Check

Ah, summer … the time for aching backs and bloated bellies?

Man grilling sausages on a grillIt’s the middle of August: How many barbecues have you been to already? Has too much garden and yard work left you sore and stiff?

This is supposed to be that time of year to kick back and relax, to enjoy the great outdoors in a recreational way. But unlike winter, when months of snowy besiegement might in fact encourage some of us to be more consistent with regular exercise and nutrition, summer can throw all that discipline out the window.

Summer road trips. Visits from friends and family. Weekends at a cottage or at a neighbour’s barbecue. Kids out of school who must be kept entertained. Those trips to fairs and festivals with their deep-fried menus – funnel cake, anyone?

Add to this the barbecues with the big cheese burgers and hotdogs, the fatty pulled pork and ribs smeared in sugary sauce. Let’s not forget those high-carb potato salads and pasta salads, fat-enriched with all that white dressing and mayonnaise, or the sugar load that might be present in your typical tub of grocery store coleslaw.

And speaking of sugar, let’s not forget the pies and cobblers when berries and peaches and apples come into season, those frozen treats on blistering muggy days, or those frosty sodas, ice teas and lemonades.

Need we continue?

Despite the fact that summer is supposed to be a time of healthy outdoor activity, the reality is the menu that comes with it can easily win the battle for your waistline.

But, you say, what about that pile of yard work that wasn’t there when snow piled knee deep?

Sure, outdoor work does keep you busy burning calories in place of the gym or that fitness class. General yard work and gardening is going to burn around 300 calories an hour.

Are you consistently doing, say a full hour, three times a week? Even so, how fast is that calorie burn being lost by what you are eating and drinking in between? Like many others have said before us – you can eat your way through any amount of exercise.

It’s not too late to recover by Labour Day

Consider some changes:

  • Skip the fatty cheese on the burger and skip that big white bread bun, too
  • Go for lean grilled chicken
  • Drink more water and fewer sweetened, flavoured drinks
  • Drink less alcohol
  • Eat fresh fruit and berries in season, plain and unadorned, in lieu of other desserts
  • Don’t be fooled by low-fat options, like frozen yogurt or old-fashioned ice cream, that are still loaded with the baddest of the bad – sugar
  • Go for salads made with leafy greens and fresh vegetables, with vinaigrette-style dressings
  • Salty snack foods – just don’t

But what about my aching back?

Yard work and garden work, renovation projects for that new deck or interlock patio – it all tends to leave us stiff and sore the day after.

These activities leave us doing a lot of bending, stretching, lifting, and twisting. Often, it’s under less-than-ideal conditions. We forget whatever we may have learned in the gym or in the workplace about using proper form to protect our back from strain or injury.

Here is a great article that suggests ways to be kind to your back while carrying out these activities. Hitting the gym to ensure you have a strong back and core to begin with is important. Taking the time to warm up and stretch before beginning the activity is a great preventative way to help your body handle whatever you may throw at it, at any time of year.

Here are two of our videos which you may find helpful:

And don’t forget to come see us!

Summer, winter, or the seasons in between – it’s always important to remain consistent with your care. Whether that is by making your appointments here at our Kanata Chiropractic clinic or carrying out whatever exercises we have assigned for you to do at home.

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