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  • Easy stretches to boost physical and mental health
    hips lower back neck shoulders Be consistent Results take time so shoot for three sessions a week Sample stretching routine What you ll need An exercise or yoga mat when doing floor work An exercise strap a tie or belt will work just as well Lower back Lie on your back Hug knees to chest Keep your back flat and neck relaxed If you can t reach around your knees use a strap Outer hip stretch Lie on your back with knees bent and feet flat on floor Place right ankle on left knee and pull left knee towards chest If you can t reach use your strap Hold for 30 seconds and repeat on other side Hamstring stretch Lie on your back with knees bent and feet flat on floor Extend right leg up in the air with foot flexed leg straight but knee soft Loop a strap around your flexed right foot and gently deepen the stretch pulling your foot toward your body Hold for 30 seconds and repeat on other side Shoulder Shrugs Arms by your side inhale and lift your shoulder to your ears Hold for one long deep breath and then release on an exhalation Repeat four times Neck stretch A forward back Roll your head forward toward your chest Place the weight of your hands on your head for a gravity assist Slowly roll head back up to centre Pause for a breath and repeat going backwards this time no hands this time Lift your shoulders for support when returning head back up to centre Neck stretch B side to side Lower left ear toward left shoulder Place left hand on right ear for a gravity assist Hold for a few breaths and gently return to centre Repeat on right side Upper back Clasp

    Original URL path: https://www.pfizerstrive.ca/education/articles/improving_your_fitness/easy_stretches_to_boost_physical_and_mental_health (2016-04-28)
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  • The benefits of yoga – accessible to all
    yoga is a system of exercise involving postures that combine strength and flexibility with breath control and concentration It s also well known as an effective source of relaxation physical conditioning and pain management The many benefits of yoga Yoga s many physical and psychological benefits can include Reduction in muscle pain Improved heart and lung functioning Increased joint and spinal health Improved physical mobility balance flexibility and strength Boost in focus and concentration Better mood and stress management Healthier weight Yoga is for every body type If you re like many of us the first thing you think when the subject of yoga comes up is Yoga That s for flexible people I can t even touch my toes That you need to already be as fit and flexible as a circus acrobat in order to practice and enjoy yoga is one of the most common misconceptions about this comprehensive and ancient system of exercise Yoga is about getting flexible not being flexible In fact yoga postures were originally designed as a way to create and enhance flexibility and strength Today it s easier than you might think to add some yoga into your life no matter your age fitness level health status mobility restrictions or experience Who can do yoga In a word everyone Everybody from children to the elderly can benefit from yoga Wheelchair bound or racetrack ready pre or post op practitioners of every shape age and level of fitness and mobility can enjoy yoga including those managing illnesses or chronic health conditions How to get started Now that we ve busted some of those myths about yoga being the domain of the triple jointed and gotten you excited about taking advantage of its many benefits it s time to look at how to get started

    Original URL path: https://www.pfizerstrive.ca/education/articles/improving_your_fitness/the_benefits_of_yoga_accessible_to_all (2016-04-28)
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  • Easy cardio for every fitness level
    exercise are plentiful Cardio can lead to better physical health such as Improved heart and lung health Stronger muscles and joints Balanced weight Lowered risk of disease in general Improved quality of life Reduced stress Increased energy Better sleep Higher self esteem Healthier digestion More motivation to make healthy lifestyle choices Benefits can kick in right away Within just one week you could experience Improved circulation Increased energy and relaxation After three months you could experience Improved posture and balance Stronger bones and muscles Increased confidence A more positive outlook on life Better all round health Starting a cardio program is easy Getting started can be as involved as joining a gym and signing up for personal training sessions or as simple as slipping on some comfortable shoes and going for a walk around the block It s up to you As with any exercise routine it s always best to talk to your doctor or healthcare professional first Once you get the go head make sure to follow any special instructions or tips you re given Cardio options Beginners Walking Swimming Elliptical training Biking Hiking Aerobics More advanced options Rowing Racquetball Cross country skiing Jumping rope Soccer Tennis Running Rollerblading Cardio guidelines Health experts recommend A minimum of 150 minutes of moderate intensity activity a week That translates to 30 minutes a day five days a week Moderate intensity brisk walking Errands like yard work and cleaning house count too Tips for success Use the buddy system Accountability is a great motivator Pick someone at a similar level of fitness so you don t get discouraged Start slow Consistency is better than burnout If you need to start off with three days a week that s OK Shorter sessions can also be more manageable Three 10 minute sessions generate

    Original URL path: https://www.pfizerstrive.ca/education/articles/improving_your_fitness/easy_cardio_for_every_fitness_level (2016-04-28)
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  • Inhale. Exhale. Breathe!
    may even be taking in so little air that your chest barely moves at all How to breathe deeply How many times have you heard the expressions take a deep breath and breathe through your diaphragm If you re not really sure how to try this exercise Start by lying on the floor on your back This will make it easier to develop the proper deep breathing technique the first couple of times Place one hand on your upper chest and the other on your belly just above your waist Breathe in slowly through your nose You should feel the hand on your belly rise Breathe out slowly through your mouth The hand on your belly should gradually lower Repeat steps 3 and 4 a few times then focus on allowing your rib cage to expand and widen as your belly moves out so that you are filling up your entire lungs from bottom to top Breathing easy for the better You don t need to breathe like this all the time But taking a few deep breaths periodically throughout the day helps you absorb more oxygen And more oxygen means your body can work better and you ll feel better both mentally and physically Practising correct breathing is also a good way to simply cope with everyday life Increase your energy after a tiring day at the office Be more alert even without a caffeine fix Focus better when everything seems to be happening at once Improve blood circulation so that your bones and muscles get more nutrients Reduce your symptoms of stress especially when you feel like your heart is racing a mile a minute Relieve pain like after stubbing your toe Take a big deep breath There are many ways that you can incorporate deep breathing into

    Original URL path: https://www.pfizerstrive.ca/education/articles/learning_to_relax/inhale_exhale_breathe (2016-04-28)
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  • Anytime, anywhere meditation techniques
    s no right or wrong way to meditate In fact there are many different ways of practising meditation so try several to find one that suits you There is also no right or wrong meditation experience or outcome Don t be concerned if your mind buzzes with thoughts or if you don t feel any different when you re finished Just keep practising You will get better at it over time which means that you ll see the greatest benefit if you do it regularly For example you might schedule 10 minutes every night before bed You could also use meditation techniques whenever you are dealing with a particularly stressful or painful situation Meditation made easier The essence of meditation is to focus your attention so that mental clutter everyday thoughts of work chores or worries fall away This can bring a sense of calmness peacefulness and balance as well as new insights and clarity In time you may find that these results linger with you long after the meditation session has ended While the specifics may vary most meditation sessions follow these basic steps For sitting meditation find a comfortable position cross legged on the floor you may also sit in a chair with your feet flat on the floor and back straight but relaxed Rest your hands in your lap nesting palms up Partially close your eyes and relax your gaze by staring into the middle distance Choose a focal point to help direct your attention This could be your breathing a word that you repeat physical sensations a photograph of a beautiful setting or an image that you picture in your mind such as light or water Begin by simply being aware of yourself breathing and gradually relax your body Allow your mind to relax Don t

    Original URL path: https://www.pfizerstrive.ca/education/articles/learning_to_relax/anytime_anywhere_everyday_mediations_techniques (2016-04-28)
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  • Stress, anxiety or panic? How to know the difference
    sure Although panic attacks also known as anxiety attacks aren t in themselves dangerous or a sign of illness they sometimes cause people to avoid situations or events and that can interfere with their quality of life Key characteristics of a panic attack Panic attacks are distinct from general feelings of anxiety or stress because they Occur suddenly without warning Usually last 20 30 minutes and rarely more than an hour Peak within 10 minutes Are very intense Symptoms you may experience During a full blown panic attack you ll experience some of the following symptoms Difficulty catching your breath or sensation of being smothered Feeling of choking Rapid heart rate palpitations or pounding heart Chest pain or discomfort Trembling or shaking Numbness or tingling Dizziness unsteadiness light headedness or feeling faint Nausea or stomach distress Fear of losing control or going crazy Chills or hot flashes Sweating Feeling of unreality of being detached from yourself Feeling as though you are having a heart attack or even dying Pfizer Canada Inc 2015 All rights reserved Privacy Policy Disclaimer About Pfizer Please enter the email address associated with this account and a link to reset your password will be emailed to

    Original URL path: https://www.pfizerstrive.ca/education/articles/learning_to_relax/stress_anxiety_or_panic_how_to_know_the_difference (2016-04-28)
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  • Recognizing the different levels of stress
    seemingly endless family responsibilities And while a certain amount of the right kind of stress can be a positive force that provides challenge change and stimulation excessive negative or low grade stress that extends over a long period of time can have a detrimental impact on your physical and mental health relationships and general enjoyment of life Let your body be your guide We all have our own ways of responding to stress you may be prone to crying while your partner might become irritable or suffer from insomnia Because stress is such an individual experience it s important to let your body be your guide Learn to recognize the ways that you tend to react and the events or situations that are likely to cause you to feel stress Also know that symptoms tend to escalate if the stress continues Be aware of where you sit in the stress continuum Level 1 Immediate stress Increased heart rate and blood pressure Rapid breathing Perspiring and sweaty palms Indigestion and nervous stomach These symptoms occur in response to a stressor that causes fright or nervousness Your body releases adrenalin to prepare you for action Examples range from immediate external danger such as a fire or a car speeding towards you to a self imposed situation such as a job interview or first date Level 2 Continued stress Feelings of being pressured or driven Exhaustion and fatigue Anxiety Memory loss Colds and flu Increase in smoking or alcohol and caffeine consumption These symptoms can occur when there is no relief from a Level 1 stress Your body begins to release stored sugars and fats using up its resources For example a long term deadline at work or a drawn out divorce may lead to Level 2 stress Level 3 Ongoing stress Insomnia

    Original URL path: https://www.pfizerstrive.ca/education/articles/learning_to_relax/recognizing_the_different_levels_of_stress (2016-04-28)
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  • How to get the sleep you need
    the sleep deprived category know that you are not alone Statistics Canada estimates that 3 3 million Canadians over the age of 15 that s one in seven of us report that they have problems falling asleep or staying asleep It s a common problem but one you can avoid Seven steps to better sleep If you want to put an end to sleepless nights these seven easy to follow tips can be just what you need Stick to a schedule That means going to bed and waking up at the same time every day even on weekends In time you ll train your body to follow a set cycle Practise snooze control If you need to nap during the day limit it to 30 minutes and take it early enough in the day so that it doesn t interfere with your nighttime sleep Stick to a relaxing routine Get into the habit of doing the same thing every night before going to bed to trigger your body for sleep That could mean having chamomile tea reading or taking a warm bath Get comfort wise If you re sleeping on an old lumpy mattress or pillows that have lost their shape it may be time to invest in new ones In some cases you could just need a mattress topper so do some legwork before dishing out for a new mattress Think air quality Take steps to make your bedroom as cool or warm as you like You may also need to buy a humidifier if the air is too dry or a dehumidifier if you have the opposite problem If you have known allergies such as to dust or strong fragrances then make sure those are in check Limit light and noise If necessary invest in earplugs or a

    Original URL path: https://www.pfizerstrive.ca/education/articles/learning_to_relax/how_to_get_the_sleep_you_need (2016-04-28)
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