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Expert Perspectives

Fine-Tune Your Daily Routine

By Dr. Jack Muskat

Sustainable tweaks to your everyday life can offer dramatic results in your overall well-being.

It’s easy to become set in our ways, but there’s always room for improvement. Lifestyle resets don’t have to be huge, daunting undertakings. Some of Medcan’s leading experts share ways to make small changes to the major facets of your life.

Be savvy about your social life: “The pandemic has forced us all to ‘reset’ and re-evaluate the relationships in our lives. Now’s not the time to let those epiphanies go to waste. Rather than falling into your old habits, dedicate some time to consider the elements of your social life that you value, that benefit you, and which you find meaningful. Before the pandemic, you may have accepted an invitation with a certain circle of friends out of obligation or a fear of missing out—only to regret attending later because these so-called friends “triggered” destructive patterns. Now, empower the ‘reset’ version of your life to decline the invitation with a simple and firm statement, such as, ‘I can’t make that work right now.’ Don’t make excuses. Don’t say “yes” any more. The idea is to politely decline without creating openings in dialogue that could lead to further commitments. Build on this new ‘reset’ version of yourself to make time only for people and events that lead to positive outcomes. Once you’ve issued your reply, turn your energy toward creating those experiences you find fulfilling.” —Dr. Jack Muskat, clinical director of mental health

Two men launch riding bicycles

Make preventive health care a priority: “Regular exercise is the best thing you can do to stay healthy and prevent future illness. Many of our previous fitness routines relied on working on-site. For example, some found the walk to and from the subway or the train to be a valuable physical activity. Now that many of us are shifting to more permanent hybrid situations, featuring several work-from-home days per week, it’s time to create exercise routines for the days that don’t involve a commute. Aim to get both cardio and resistance training every day—or as often as possible. This combination has been shown to have great health benefits—including increased muscle mass, reduced body fat, and improved aerobic fitness, energy and mood. In terms of illness, this routine has been shown to reduce hypertension, control diabetes, reduce the likelihood of heart attack or stroke and improve bone health. One potential issue is that many people—including me—used to get their aerobic exercise by riding their bicycles to work. Now, on work-from-home days, aim to commit to a 30-minute ride that starts and ends at home—like trying out a new coffee shop that’s about 15 minutes away. You’ll arrive home energized and ready for the day ahead.” —Dr. Peter Nord, chief medical officer

A woman drinking a smoothie

Rethink your relationship with food: “According to a recent study, only 7% of adults get the recommended daily amount of dietary fibre. But following a high-fibre diet can lower your risk for heart attack, stroke, Type 2 diabetes and various cancers. For an easy boost of fibre, add half a cup of lentils to your leafy green salad. Another option involves berries. When we think of high-fibre foods, berries don’t normally spring to mind, but just one cup of raspberries or blackberries can deliver almost one-third of your daily fibre intake. Even better, frozen berries are flash frozen when they’re perfectly ripe, so they are at peak nutrient content, with the highest amounts of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. Once you have them in the freezer, you can pull them out regularly for a smoothie, as a topping for a yogurt bowl, or just eat a handful solo as a snack. For an even quicker fix: make a smoothie blend ahead of time and freeze it in an ice cube tray. Then you can pop one out whenever you want.” —Sara Jafari, registered dietitian, Medcan weight management program

A woman putting serum on her skin

Switch up your skincare routine: “It’s easy to be tempted by the latest and greatest product on the market, but constantly adding new serums and creams to your rotation can be confusing for your skin, potentially leading to breakouts. Consistency is important in skincare so try to limit the amount of new products you introduce. Focus on establishing a routine that you can commit to daily, and stick to for months. Just like with diet and exercise, you’ll see benefits manifest gradually. If you do elect to add one new product to your repertoire, make it a medical grade vitamin C serum. Used daily, the serum will help fight environmental stressors and prevent further signs of photo damage and skin aging.” —Dr. Jonathan Levy, medical director at Refine by Medcan

Book an Annual Health Assessment to establish your baseline health and discover ways to optimize your life. Or, if you’re looking to learn more about your mental health, overall fitness, diet or skincare, contact us at 416.350.5900.

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