The health and wellness climate of today can be difficult to navigate, and distilling the information into principles or strategies for daily life is not always easy. If you have decided to take ownership of your day but may not know where to start, you may enjoy this weekly guide to proven tools for health and happiness - simple and practical ways to promote wellness in body and mind.

  • Brandon Baldassi

Step out of your comfort zone every day and take back the cold with cold showers!

Exposure to cold is one of the most overlooked means of cultivating willpower, discipline, and resilience. Not only is it uncomfortable, but this strategic application of acute stress serves an important role in regulating metabolism and inflammation, along with offering countless other health benefits which include improved longevity and body composition, increased endurance and even the growth of new neurons in the brain! Cold showers also have a profound effect in improving mood, memory, focus, and even depression.

Try it out! End your regular warm shower with at least 2 minutes of full cold water on your entire body. Yes, full cold. Yes, at least 2 minutes. Yes, you can do it!

Tactics to help you get started with the greatest positive benefits :

  • Control your breath - you may instinctually gasp for air or hold your breath in response to the sudden cold. By focusing on consistent and steady deep breathing, you may be surprised how quickly you acclimate to this new stimulus.

  • Count the seconds - keeping count of time spent in the cold not only promotes accountability, but also provides an alternative focus for the mind.

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  • Brandon Baldassi

Staying active during the long winter months

This winter, consider adding some at-home exercise to stay active when the weather keeps us indoors. These four exercises are designed to be done at any time or anywhere, be it first thing in the morning to jumpstart the day, or between emails to stay energized at work!

1. Bodyweight Air Squat

If theres an argument to do anything everyday for your physical health, it’s this. Squatting is a natural human movement which incorporates the largest muscle groups in the body!

Key points to be mindful of include maintaining an upright posture and pushing knees out and over the toes. Try it out! Squat to a challenging depth for 3-5 sets of 10 repetitions.

2. Split Squat

Split squats are another engaging movement for the entire lower body and an excellent means of improving balance and coordination! To ensure you are getting the most out of the movement, maintain an upright posture, arched foot, and knee steady over the toes - aim to get your back knee to the ground while keeping your weight on the front foot. Consider trying 5 repetitions with each leg for 3-5 sets.

3. Push-Up

The push-up is hardly new or innovative, however it can be a fantastic upper body exercise when executed properly! Keeping your core braced as if in a plank, keep elbows tucked along your sides as you bend your arms, focusing on steady and consistent tempo. Complete a challenging amount of repetitions for 3 sets.

4. Plank

Develop the muscles of the core by completing 3-5 planks for a challenging amount of time, 30s is an excellent aim! Focus on squeezing the stomach muscles by thinking of pulling your chest towards the hips, and maintain a flat back - no arch in either direction.

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  • Brandon Baldassi

Making sense of what’s needed

Supplements should be just that - supplemental or additive to an already well-sorted diet and lifestyle. However, this is not to say that the modern human receives all that is necessary for optimal health and wellness from their diet and environment. In fact, one of the most common deficiencies is associated with impaired cognition and immune function, depression, inflammation, and accelerated aging. Furthermore, unless you are already supplementing with it, it’s more than likely that you are deficient.

Vitamin D is more accurately described as a hormone which we evolved to produce through our skin’s exposure to the sun. However, the modern lifestyle and northern climate mean that we are likely receiving less exposure to sunlight than is necessary for optimal health and wellness. Supplementing with 4000IU of vitamin D per day will help to ensure healthy brain function, lower systemic inflammation, and defend against age-related disease. What can be done to ensure that you are receiving sufficient quantities year round? What is measured can be managed, so a quarterly consult with your doctor to have blood levels assessed will allow for an informed decision concerning supplementation. In the mean time, check out @serenitysalonwellness Instagram for our favourite vitamin D supplements, and when to take them!

Regular exposure to sunlight is critical for our health. When life keeps you indoors, vitamin D is almost like sunlight in a bottle!

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