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Active Lifestyle

Health + Wellness

5 Easy Exercises for Busy Moms

Guys!  It’s the beginning of the month and I’ve decided that this month I’m going to focus on being more active on a daily basis.  It’s super hard to juggle mommy-ing, work, household chores, errands, etc.  The to-do lists are endless!

But this month, I’m making myself a priority and taking an hour each day to do something active for me.  Not only will this help me physically, but it will definitely help me mentally as well.

To do this, I reached out to my friend, fellow mom and fitness expert Lara Marq.   Lara is a mom of 2 and specializes in pre and post natal fitness.  We sat down to discuss what it means to get back into working out regularly post-baby and she put together this amazing 5 exercise workout for me!

The beauty of this routine is that it literally takes less than an 30 minutes to complete and requires no gym equipment!  She based on my needs as a mom, cleared of any pelvic floor dysfunction and/or abdominal separation.  It also has a modified version for anyone getting back into working out after baby.  Check out the video below!

** Remember to always check with your health care practitioner before starting any new exercise routine, especially post-baby**

Health + Wellness

The Do’s and Don’ts of Foam Rolling

You’ve just finished your workout and as you make your way over to the stretching area you notice a woman moving her entire body over cylindrical piece of foam. She’s writhing over it, using several expletives and you wonder what the heck is she doing?! And more importantly, why?!?

Welcome to foam rolling my friend.

Foam rolling became trendy years ago when athletes used to roll out tight muscles and fascia (more on fascia here). It’s a form of myofasical release (like a massage), you do to yourself – call it self-massage.   Basically by using the foam roller and your own bodyweight you are releasing tight muscles via trigger points and increasing circulation and blood to that particular area of your body.

Here are a few do’s and don’ts that will have you foam rolling like a pro in no time!

DO pick a foam roller that’s right for you! Foam rollers come in all sorts of shapes and sizes, some with knobs for added torture….I mean, relief.   To be honest, I always suggest a longer foam roller so it’s easier to use to roll out your glutes, ITB and back. Of course, if you are traveling, you may want to get a shorter one as well for ease of packing!

DON’T roll directly on a joint or bone.  Ouchy!

DO roll slowly and with even pressure, spending a few seconds on each area of the body.  Enjoy each and every sensation!

DON’T overdo it!  It is not an exercise in pain tolerance. Placing too much sustained pressure on one body part can result in damage.

DO expect a little bit of discomfort.  It should be a “good” hurt, but never unbearable. If an area is too sore or tender, try rolling on surrounding muscles first to help loosen things up.

DON’T try to foam roll your neck. It’s awkward for a reason. The neck is a very sensitive part of the body and a difficult area to position your foam roller. If you are suffering from neck pain, seek the help of a health professional (like your chiropractor, wink wink).

DO it often. Being consistent with rolling is key. It’s not enough to just roll when you are in acute pain. Try rolling every other day! You will notice a difference!

What is your favourite body part to foam roll?  Let me know!

Happy Rolling everyone!

xo

Dr Aliya

 

 

 

Health + Wellness

What to Expect during a Chiropractic Treatment

New to chiropractic?  Ever wonder what to expect during chiropractic treatment and initial consultation?

You’re in luck!

Recently, I had the pleasure of meeting Tina (@mombossof3) – she’s a busy mama of 3, daily vlogger and youtube sensation!  She’s also a typical mama with typical mom posture – or “Mom – sture” (copyright pending lol).

She came into the Toronto  Yoga Mamas studio and wellness centre for her first EVER chiropractic treatment and she graciously agreed to having us film it!  Thank you, Tina!

So in case you ever thought – “gee, I wonder what happens during a chiropractic consult and treatment?” I’ve got you covered!

Check out our video below.  (it’s also got a few out-takes as well…for your viewing pleasure) 

PS Don’t forget to “like” and “subscribe” for more videos!   (pretty please!)

Hope you enjoyed this video!

Visit Tina’s channel at @mombossof3 for her hilarious daily VLOGs.

xo

Dr Aliya

Babies + Kids

Things I Never Leave Home Without

Going from a designer bag to a diaper bag was not an easy transition for me – I’m sure a lot of mamas can relate. Trading cute style for multiple storage compartments and an easy to pack diaper pad was not my idea of staying on trend.

As Rosie got older and became a toddler, the big cumbersome diaper bag filled with baby essentials like extra sleepers, bottles and a supply of diapers was replaced by a cute leather tote with a handful of key items for both of us.

Here’s a list of the things I never leave home without (from left to right):

1. My BKR bottle

A BPA-free glass reusable water bottle that often feels like a cute accessory more than a necessity. The stylish design of this bottle allows it to fit neatly into my tote making it easy to stay hydrated all day long. (find it here shopbeautifully.com)

2. Rosie’s Kleen Kanteen Bottle

I love this super light-weight sippy water bottle for Rose – and it’s drop-proof!   It’s aluminum and BPA free and small enough for her little hands.

3. Love Child Organics Fruit Pouches

By far the best tasting fruit pouches out there – it literally tastes homemade. So easy to pop into my purse and have on hand when Rose gets super hangry. PS the company is Canadian! Love!

4. Robert Munsch’s Mud Puddle

Um who doesn’t love a good Robert Munsch book?! Rosie loves this story and it’s super mini so it goes everywhere!

5. Raisins and Almonds

For mama and baby on the go. A little snack during errands and some play time keeps us going all day long.

6. Burts Bees Beeswax Lip Balm

So nourishing and hydrating for my lips and I love the little zing from the peppermint oil.

7. Aleva Baby Wipes

I never, ever, ever leave home without these wipes. Not just for bums, but for sticky messy fingers and runny noses – they are the best. Super sensitive and not overly fragrant. They are awesome for delicate skin.

8. A Diaper

We are now starting to potty train Rose so I pack at least one diaper when we are on the go!

9. Thomas the Train

Obviously.

10. Dimpleskins Naturals Bum Bum Balm

For those unexpected diaper rashes. It’s zinc-free and made with calendula oil which provides natural healing for rashes. (find it here well.ca)

11. Substance Natural Sun Block Stick

As the weather gets warmer, I always have some sunblock handy for Rosie especially. It goes on super easy and doesn’t leave a filmy residue like most other sunblocks. Plus it’s super natural and safe for babies.

12. Honest Company’s Face + Body Lotion

Travel size lotion for dry skin and not greasy at all.

13. Minions Band Aids

Because sometimes you get a boo-boo and you need a minion band-aid to make it all better (and a mommy kiss of course).

14. KIND Granola Bar

No one likes a hangry mommy.

 

OK, so that seems like a lot – but they are my essentials for a day on the go with a toddler.

I’m curious to know… what are some of your diaper bag essentials?

Health + Wellness

Do your feet need some support?

The AMAZING weather this past weekend had everyone out in their summer apparel –  shorts, tees and the quintessential summer footwear – flip flops!

Despite their cute styles, colours and easy-breezy appeal, flip flop wear for extended periods of time can cause a range of physical ailments from plantar fasciitis and muscle soreness to lower back and knee pain.

The popularity of these no-fuss flats had me thinking of the importance of proper footwear and specifically, orthotic inserts.

Now, I know they sound like something your grandparents wear in their loafers  but custom orthotic inserts are becoming a popular first line therapy for many injuries and conditions.

If you think of your feet as the foundation for your whole body, similar to the foundation of a house, our feet support the weight of everything above them.  If the foundation is cracked or unstable in any way this could affect the structure all the way up!

The primary goal of an orthotic is to help reduce unnecessary stresses and strains in your feet, lower limbs and lower back by re-aligning your lower extremity.

Custom orthotics work on your feet much like glasses work on your eyes – they reduce stress and strain on your body by bringing your feet back into proper alignment. By improving this alignment, the body is able to function more efficiently with less stress on the muscles and ligaments that hold the rest of you together.

A foot orthotic may be effective in helping to actually treat a number of lower limb dysfunctions. In fact, research shows that orthotics can treat and actually prevent mechanically induced foot problems leading to common injuries like knee pain, shin splints, and pain along the bottom of the foot.

Sound familiar?

Many people experience this pain but don’t really know what to do about it!

Custom foot orthotics can also help with pain and complications related to health conditions such as diabetes or arthritis.

Plus, orthotics can help with these very common complaints:

  • Plantar fasciitis (pain in the sole of the foot)
  • Knee Pain
  • Metatarsalgia
  • Bunions and Neuromas
  • Achilles tendonopathy
  • Shin splints
  • Iliotibial pain syndrome
  • Low back pain
  • Hip Pain
  • Sacroilliac (SI) Joint pain

Although orthotics are a great option for many people and help improve biomechanics of various injuries and complaints, they may not be ideal for everyone!

Talk to your chiropractor or other health care provider to discuss if they are a right fit for you!

Women experience foot problems 4 times more often than men

Health + Wellness

Post Baby Running – Do’s and Don’ts

As an avid runner for a better portion of my adult life, I was itching to get back to hitting the pavement post-baby. It was March and running season was just starting.  The weather was perfect for running outside and I couldn’t wait to go for a run with Rosie in tow!

Now if only I could find the perfect running stroller.

Thankfully, there are some amazing jogging strollers on the market today making it simple to take the little one along for the ride!

Finding a jogging stroller that’s right for you and your baby is the first step. Consider what type of terrain you will be running on—flat, smooth surfaces or hillier, more varied terrain? In either case, a three-wheeled stroller works best.

The front wheel should be fixed or lockable and the larger wheels generally make running smoother while giving you more control.

The safest strollers come with a wrist strap that is connected to the handlebar and should be used at all times especially downhill.

Other things to keep in mind include making sure the stroller has enough room for water bottles, blankets and baby gear and is it easy to store in your house or car. Things like quick-release wheels and one-step folding make going for a run less cumbersome.

For safety, it is recommended that babies have full head and neck control (approx 6 months old) before going along on runs with you.

Once you’ve found that perfect jogging stroller, here are a few tips to keep you running in top form:

  • Remember to push the stroller with alternate hands. Pushing with one hand, while pumping with the other arm will keep you as close to proper running form as possible.
  • Don’t forget to switch arms every so often to keep the movement balanced and the core engaged.
  • Avoid leaning into the stroller during a run, especially at the end when the body is fatigued. Try to maintain a neutral upright position with elbows slightly bent.
  • Keep your stride as natural as possible. Often running with a stroller in front of you may shorten or even alter your stride. Before purchasing a stroller, try taking it out for a spin first to make sure your gait isn’t compromised.
  • Don’t forget your post-run stretch to keep running injury free. Include stretches for the pectoralis (chest) muscle and the hip flexors, which tend tighten easily when jogging with a stroller.
  • Most importantly, enjoy this time bonding with baby and getting your running fix at the same time!

Happy Running, Mama!

 

Read my Q&A expert column and get amazing pregnancy, post-pregnancy and baby advice & resources atBabyPost.com.

(Original post at babypost.com)

(Photo credit babypost.com)

Babies + Kids

YOGA: Not just for grown ups anymore!

 

The benefits of yoga for grown ups are well documented- helping with things like stress reduction, increased physical strength and flexibility, mental clarity…the list goes on.

But I bet you didn’t know that yoga for babies and children is also super beneficial giving kids increased emotional awareness and boosting their self-esteem and confidence!

Recently, a study published in the Journal of Child and Family Studies found that gentle mindfulness-based yoga helped children regulate their emotions (bye, bye tantrums). Children’s ability to stay focused and attentive was also noted after yoga.

Exposing your kids to yoga at a young age helps them to learn about themselves and empowers them to be in charge of their emotions.   Our daughter, Rose goes to a daycare centre that incorporates yoga into their weekly routine and she absolutely loves it!

We’ll do a yoga session together and she’ll be the teacher, showing us all the poses. It allows us to take some time out of our crazy hectic schedules and find some calm and peacefulness together as a family.

Here are a few ways you can practice yoga at home with your child:

  • Be the example. One of the most important things is for parents to do yoga while their kids are present. Modeling poses or lying still in Savasana will peak your child’s interest and curiosity and they will definitely ask what you are doing.
  • Create a warm yoga space. Lie out mats, use cushions and pillows and choose a space clear of furniture and toys to eliminate distractions.
  • Get creative. Encourage your children to use their own creativity and invent their own poses. Children will love playing animals, trees, flowers and warriors. Barking in dog pose, hiss in cobra pose and meow in cat stretch!
  • Make it a ritual. Similar to brushing teeth, your family yoga practice can be included in a daily or weekly routine. It could be a few minutes of quiet breathing or a 20 minute yoga practice with posture. Our daughter knows that “yoga time” means bringing out her little yoga mat and towel.

Yoga classes for families are a great way to spend some time together. Toronto Yoga Mamas offers weekly weekend family yoga classes. For more information, check their website www.torontoyogamamas.com.

I would love to hear about your family’s yoga time – send me a note at hello@draliya.ca.

Health + Wellness

EASY FAMILY DINNER: Veggie Stir Fry

Mondays are usually my dinner prep days for the rest of the week.  Lately I’ve found that just adding veggies to a skillet and tossing in some simple ingredients made the best stirfry ever!  Sometimes I’ll add chicken or tofu!

Here’s the recipe:

1 red pepper (sliced)

1 yellow pepper (sliced)

1-2 stalks celery (diced)

3 carrots (sliced)

1 head of broccoli (cut into florets)

1 bag of snowpeas

1 onion (diced)

1 cup edamame (boiled)

3 tbsp tamari (or soy sauce)

1 tbsp lemon juice

1/2 tsp ginger

Optional: diced chicken breast (2) or cubed tofu

 

Step 1: Add some olive oil and ginger to a frying pan on medium to high heat

Step 2: Add onions first until translucent

Step 3: Add rest of veggies

Step 4 (optional): Add chicken or tofu

Step 5: Saute veggies and add tamari and lemon juice

Step 6: Let everything saute together on medium to low heat

Voila!  Done!  This takes me about 20 minutes and it’s done!

Pregnancy

3 Awesome Exercises for Pregnancy!

A few weeks ago, I had the absolute pleasure of visiting the lovely Joy McCarthy of Joyous Health at her office in Toronto.   Joy is a holistic nutritionist and author of Joyous Health: Eat & Live Well without Dieting {her book is amazing}!  She’s also a glowing mama-to-be and an awesome patient of mine.

We put together a video for her blog of three amazing pregnancy exercises mamas can do at home. Performing these exercises daily will help maintain mobility and strength in your spine and pelvis during pregnancy and help prepare your body for labour and delivery {in addition to seeing a chiropractor, of course!}.

So grab a fitness ball and watch our video here!  Also check out Joy’s website at joyoushealth.com for loads of other amazing recipes and neat health and wellness tips!

 

{image by joyoushealth.com}

 

 

 

 

 

 

Babies + Kids, Health + Wellness

Top 5 ways to be a healthier, happier mom!

Motherhood. It can have its ups and downs. I know, from experience, that your new role as a mom can be overwhelming and taking care of yourself is not a top priority. But it should be!

Follow these easy steps to a happier, healthier mama.

  1. Take time to recover from labour and delivery

Many new mamas are super eager to get back “at it” following the birth of baby. (Trust me, I was one of those moms). But it’s important to give your body time to heal even before you tackle tasks like laundry or dishes. Even things like standing for long periods or going up/down stairs can affect your recovery. Not overdoing it will actually help you heal more quickly. You will be back in the swing of things faster than if you try to sneak in a quick workout before you are ready. Take some time to let yourself adjust emotionally as well. This is a new role and you’ll need some transition time.

  1. Breastfeed

Yes, breastfeeding provides amazing benefits to your wee one including improved immunity and higher IQ but it’s also great for you too! Moms who nurse their babes have a reduced risk of suffering from postpartum depression. In addition, prolactin, the milk-making hormone, also has a calming effect on mothers. Although I know it can be difficult in the beginning, once you’ve got the hang of it nursing can be efficient. No bottles, no sterilizing and no formula!

  1. Stick with healthy eating habits

If you are a new mom, you may be like me – RAVENOUS! I couldn’t get food into me fast enough. If you’re breastfeeding, it’s especially important to stay fueled up to support your milk supply. But even if you aren’t breastfeeding, eating healthy is important for your well-being as a new mama! Busy days with a new baby aren’t ideal for meal planning and preparing, but try your best to plan ahead and keep your pantry stocked with healthy snacks! Here are a few ideas: nuts & seeds, veggies (baby carrots), fruits (berries, apples, bananas), yogurt, smoothies.

  1. Breathe in the fresh air

I remember going crazy inside the house in early March just after my daughter was born. In Toronto it was still snowy and chilly and I was feeling mental from being with a baby all day long. My husband forced me to walk in the garden for a few minutes one sunny, snowy afternoon. What a difference! Stepping outside and breathing in the fresh air I felt instantly uplifted. Soaking in the sun is the easiest way to get your dose of Vitamin D. Strolling through the neighbourhood with your babe a few times per week will definitely give you a good dose of happiness!

  1. Keep it in perspective

We can all relate – some days are better than others. But remember, bad days don’t last forever. And when your baby is celebrating his first year birthday – you’ll wonder where the time went. Enjoy this time, soak up her sweet smile and listen to her soft coos. Don’t be too hard on yourself when you’re not on your game. You don’t have to be a supermom….you’re baby loves you for you!