Surrounded by health and education facilities the value we as a growing community place on wellness fits in perfectly. From the most basic benefits of simple stretches to the challenge of an uphill bike, we believe the foundation of a vibrant, healthy community is where residents are active, happy and engaged.
With that in mind, University District linked up with our valued builder partner and the experts at The Brenda Strafford Foundation for tips on functional fitness exercises and nutrition to help live life with increased energy and strength as we age.
More than a buzzword, functional fitness is about preparing your body for real-life movements and activities. Whether you squat down to pick something off the floor or reach for the cereal box on a high shelf, this type of exercise helps improve quality of life by mimicking everyday actions. And it’s a great way to have some fun!
No matter your age, it’s never too late to get fit. These simple recommendations and movements from Occupational Therapist Peter Fraser will help you capture the vim, vigour and vitality of your youth. But before we get into the nitty-gritty, let’s find out about the new inclusive park coming to The Brenda Strafford Foundation’s Cambridge Manor in U/D.
Image courtesy of Landscape Structures
Public parks look a lot different than they did a few years ago and the future multi-generational park at University District’s Cambridge Manor is no exception.
With something for everyone, park goers can expect a bigger, more colourful play destination with features to attract and delight fun-seekers of all ages and abilities.
“Staying active at any age is important to overall health,” notes Julie Arnold, Communications and Marketing Manager with The Brenda Strafford Foundation. “Using purposeful design elements and engaging play structures to create an environment that promotes wellness, we’re building a park that will be nothing short of a magical experience for kids of all ages, parents and grandparents.”
Image courtesy of Landscape Structures
From mobility ramps to help improve balance and hand cyclers to build muscle strength to Tai Chi wheels for flexibility and range of motion, this playground will help get and keep people moving. Other intriguing features include:
Stay tuned for more exciting details as The Brenda Strafford Foundation prepares to open its doors this summeror meet the team at their newly opened space in the Discovery Centre!
Energize your mood and improve your overall sense of well-being by adding more movement and activity to your life with these easy, everyday exercises. Best part, they can be done from the comfort of your own home!
From getting out of bed, to sitting down in a chair for every day meals, your lower body muscles are responsible for almost every move you make. It’s only fair then to give them a little TLC with a simple sit-to-stand exercise, which helps improve balance and mobility and strengthens lower body muscles.
The move: Begin by sitting down in a chair with armrests. Keeping the back straight and slightly helping yourself with your hands, stand up. Then, sit down while keeping the weight evenly distributed on both legs.
Building upper body strength especially in your arms, shoulders and chest is a gradual process that can take months or years. The efforts however pay off in improved posture and the ability to complete everyday tasks with more ease. The best part, no equipment needed! As long as you’ve got a wall, you can do this exercise.
The move: Stand an arm’s length in front of a wall and place the palms of your hands flat on the wall at the height and width of your shoulders. Keep your feet planted and back straight as you slowly bend your elbows and bring your body towards the wall. Gently push yourself back to your starting position. Remember, the closer you are to the wall, the easier the exercise will be.
Time to march! Leg movements such as marching in one spot, is a great balance exercise that helps increase walking endurance. It also improves your ability to pick up objects off lower surfaces, like your pooches leash or grandkids toys.
The move: Standing straight, lift your right knee as high as you can. Hold for 5-10 seconds. Return to the starting position and repeat with the other side. Life and lower your legs 20 times. To steady your balance, place the tips of your fingers on an object.
Whether you sit at a desk most of the day, spend any time driving in the car or even play stimulating memory games on your tablet, chances are your upper back is paying the price. These everyday activities can contribute to muscle tightness and weakness. But with the right movement you can ease back paint, increase the mobility in the shoulders and help combat poor posture. Lets make some snow angels!
The move: Begin by standing up with your back against a nice, roomy wall space. Elbows start at a 90-degree bend, with the elbows parallel to the ground. Keep your heels as close to the wall as possible, while making sure that your hips and entire spine are pressed into the wall. Once positioned right, gently pull your shoulder blades toward each other and the back of your hands down into the wall. Without letting your shoulders roll forward, slowly slide your arms on the wall to raise them overhead – as high as possible with the good posture and without pain. Remember do not let your shoulders shrug toward your ears.
Giving your body the nutrients it needs to help you stay active and independent is important, especially as you age. But it should also be about enjoying fresh, tasty food and wholesome ingredients. Eating well doesn’t have to be complicated, especially with these simple nutrition recommendations. Let’s take a look!
Creating a balanced meal is where it’s at. Ensure every meal has a lean source of protein, a healthy fat and quality carbs, such as whole grains which are rich in nutrients and fiber.
Don’t forget about those fruits and veggies. Break the apple and banana rut and go for colour-rich pickings like berries and melons and choose antioxidant rich veggies like broccoli and kale.
Pro-tip: Don’t enjoy cooking or lack the energy? Opt for pre-made high quality soups, pre-cut fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables, or pre-cooked proteins. If budget allows, sign up for a grocery or meal delivery service like the one that will be offered at U/D’s Save-on-Foods, which will open its doors to residents and neighbours this summer. This can make food preparation much easier!
Need a bit of a nutrition boost? Protein and green powders, fiber powders, and fish oil can be useful in providing your body with the nutrients it needs.
Going au natural? Kudos to you! But if you are struggling to digest your meal focus on soft, well-cooked, or pureed/blended foods such as scrambled eggs, poached fish, mashed vegetables, avocado, yogurt, smoothies and soups, which are easier to digest.
Pro-tip: Before trying any new supplement, always seek your doctor’s opinion to determine what’s right for you.
Break routine and introduce new foods or new ways of eating the same food to your diet. It can be as simple as replacing canned fruit with freshly sliced ones, or substituting poached eggs with scrambled eggs using this delightful, balanced and tasty recipe from Chef Mauro Martina, founder of OEB Breakfast Co. Eating well is about making meals more enjoyable. Be adventurous and try something new!
Pro-tip: Dessert? Yes please! Smart nutrition does not mean we have to forgo the sweet treasures we often look forward to. Whether it’s a small bowl of your favourite gelato or that sugar cookie you’ve been eyeing for days, enjoy a small treat a couple times of week if desired. It makes life a little more delicious!
For anyone who wants to feel healthier and more energetic, staying active is key. Always start small. Some is better than none and more is better than some. We hope these suggestions leave you feeling energized and help get you moving!
The University District blog is a resource for Calgarians who want to live, work, play, visit or buy in the northwest. We will provide you with information, stories, news and inspiration about the things that matter so you can live a more inspired, active and connected life in NW Calgary at University District… Life works here.