Tag Archives: prevention

Body Shape 101

Not all Fat is Created Equal.

There are two main types of body fat found in our bodies.  Ironically, we tend to focus on subcutaneous body fat, which is the softer fat found beneath the skin.  This is the fat that we can grab with our hands or skin-fold calipers.  Subcutaneous fat is less damaging as it is superficial (closer to the surface), and is less likely to result in major health issues.  Visceral fat is the unseen fat in your body.  It is found deeper inside the body, around your internal organs. It’s a harder fat and has been linked directly to chronic diseases like heart disease, high cholesterol, hypertension (high blood pressure), diabetes, and some cancers.  Visceral fat hides well beneath the surface, we don’t see it, most people don’t know about it, and it’s the body fat we should actually be more concerned about.

Lucky for our health, visceral fat tends to be targeted first during weight loss.  Unlucky for our esthetics, the subcutaneous fat we all see is targeted second.

Wellness Comes in All Shapes and Sizes

We’re all wonderfully unique.  It needs to be known that fitness doesn’t look like anyone or anything in specific.  We all have a “best” version of ourselves, and we can’t ask for any more than that.  In this delicious fruit bowl we call life, the three basic body shapes are apple, pear and banana.

Apples – you are identified by the majority of your body fat stored in your mid-section.  This puts you at the highest risk of visceral fat accumulation, as well as the health risks associated with that.

Pears – you are identified by an accumulation of subcutaneous fat around the hips, buttocks and thighs.  Not to say that you shouldn’t be concerned with visceral fat within your body, you are simply at a lower risk than your friend the apple.

Bananas – you are identified by your long and lean frame.  Don’t be fooled with the lack of subcutaneous fat, visceral fat may still exist but hidden deep and unseen on your body.

Where your body carries weight naturally can be a factor in determining a lot of things for you.  What doesn’t change is how to work with and manage your body type.  Put down the junk food and grab an apple, pear, or banana – and get moving!

Thank You U of C Nursing Students!

If you’ve attended any of our recent Family Events or visited our facility on Thursdays you may have met our fantastic team of practicum students from the University of Calgary’s Nursing department.  They were very eager to share their knowledge and expertise with our Language Instruction (LINC) students, preschoolers, youths and families, and established numerous relationships with members and visitor.  Unfortunately last week was the conclusion of their placement with us; we have appreciated their enthusiasm, professionalism and positivity and wish them great success as they continue their studies.

On behalf of all the staff and volunteers at the Saddletowne YMCA, thank you U of C Nursing Students!  Please visit!

Steve Elliot- Program Manager


Delving Into Your Kid’s DNA

A simple question with a deeply complicated anwer. Do you want to know more about your kid’s genetic code to hopefully prevent future diseases? Seems a simple YES – because we want to protect our children and keep them healthy – but you can find out a whole lot more than you bargained for:

“This week’s TIME cover story asks a simple question with a complicated answer. Sophisticated DNA testing is allowing parents to learn more about the health of their children than ever before, but how much do we really want to know? Doctors are starting to use genome sequencing, which scans a person’s entire genetic code, to map the DNA of children, with the hope of catching diseases early and offering targeted treatments. But the tests can also detect mutations for diseases that may not develop for decades, if at all. Think about it for a minute: would you want to know if your toddler has an increased risk of getting cancer?”

Read the full article by Bonnie Rochman on the Time Healthland website.

3-Minute Drill to Home Safety

Have you seen this great website by the Government of Alberta about keeping your home and family safe from fire? It is an excellent tool for planning for such an emergency and making certain everyone knows what to do:

“Unlike 25-years ago, a house fire today can turn deadly in as little as 3-minutes. When you consider it will take the fire department 7-minutes or more to respond, learning how to prevent, detect and escape a fire has never been more critical. Start now.”

Learn how to be safe with the 3-Minute Drill website.



Prevention’s Health Foods

Prevention magazine takes a look at some of the healthier choices available in prepackaged, convenience foods. Not necessarily the top choices out there for healthy eating, but not too shabby for being manufactured/premade:

If a stroll down the aisles of your supermarket is enough to make your head spin—So many boxes! So many claims! So many…options!—we get it. The rows are stacked with so many options that it can be downright stupefying. That’s why we decided to bring back our popular Healthy Food Awards. We know, just like you do, that many so-called health foods are sugar and salt bombs in disguise. But amid those bad-for-you foods are some stellar ones. And we found the absolute best of them.

Click here to read the full article on www.prevention.com.

Water Safety Tips

Written by: Grace Carmen Yuen

This week is National Drowning Prevention Week in Canada. Did you know that drowning can occur in as little as one inch of water? As a former YMCA lifeguard and Water Safety Instructor, I’ve put together a few tips to make sure your next visit to the pool, lake or beach is fun and safe!

Always wear a life jacket.

Children, non-swimmers and beginner swimmers should always have a life jacket. Flotation devices such as flutter boards and noodles are great but they cannot be substitutes for wearing a PFD (personal flotation device – lifejacket).

Supervise your child at all times.

It is important that parents are in the water with their child at all times when swimming. This is especially important for children under the age of 10. Parents always want to be within “arms reach”!

Bring a buddy.

Always try to swim where lifeguards are present. If you are swimming somewhere without a lifeguard, make sure you bring a buddy and let someone know you are going swimming!

Know your limit.

It is always good to know how far you can swim and what water levels you are comfortable with. It is also good to let the lifeguard know if you are not a strong swimmer or if you have any health conditions. Peer pressure will often contribute to unsafe behaviour in the pool. If you are not comfortable swimming in the deep end, suggest playing in the shallow end instead.

Learn to swim.

Statistics show that non-swimmers have a higher risk of drowning than swimmers. Learning to swim is one of the biggest prevention tips we can give. Swimming lessons allow participants to learn to swim in a supervised environment. Swimming lesson also includes a water safety component as well. Did you know that there are more adult non-swimmers than children? It is never too late to learn to swim and YMCA Calgary offers swimming lessons for all ages – adults included!

Have a fun and safe swim!

How’s Your Fitness Form?

In an article on the Chicago Tribune website, writer Dorene Internicola takes a look at how form can impact your workout:

NEW YORK (Reuters) – From jumping rope to swinging a kettle bell to pounding a treadmill, a finely-tuned form can spell the difference between a sound body and a sore knee.

Experts say often a professional tweak can go a long way towards firming up your workout.

Click here to read the full article on www.chicagotribune.com.

Avoid Injury: Yoga for Sports

A lot of sports injuries come from repetative motion or from imbalance in posture. Writer Tiffany Cruishank tells about different yoga poses that can help avoid injuries on her posting on YogaJournal.com:

“A yoga practice encourages you to take inventory of your body as you practice. The more awareness you have of how your body feels from day to day or from pose to pose, the more likely you are to notice tight or injury-prone areas of the body that need attention before full-blown injuries can occur.”

Click here to read the full article on www.YogaJournal.com.

Pronation Explained

In this article on RunnersWorld.com, writer Bob Gavin provides insight into how our feet work in regards to pronation. There are three videos to explain the different ways our feet hit the ground. The videos make the page take a bit longer than normal web pages to load—but your patience will be worth it!

“If you have a normal arch, you’re likely a normal pronator, meaning you’ll do best in a stability shoe that offers moderate pronation control. Runners with flat feet normally overpronate, so they do well in a motion-control shoe that controls pronation. High-arched runners typically underpronate, so they do best in a neutral-cushioned shoe that encourages a more natural foot motion.”

Click here to view the remainder of the article and watch the videos.

Cold Weather Safety

From Discovery Health:

Baby, is it cold outside! As if to remind us who’s in charge, Mother Nature once again is giving us the cold shoulder, not to mention cold hands and feet. While most folks brave the cold-weather season pretty well, it’s important to know how to protect yourself and your loved ones from potential cold-weather dangers.

Signs of Frostbite

If your skin looks mottled or pale and you’re experiencing “pins and needles” in your hands, feet, nose, ears or cheeks, then you’re likely experiencing frostnip, which is a signal that you need to get into a warm, dry environment immediately so you don’t develop frostbite. Frostbite is when tiny ice crystals form in skin tissue. Other signs include a tiny white dot on the nose or on the tip of one or more fingers. Also, dark-skinned people may appear pale, or their skin may look gray; fair-skinned people should be on the lookout for yellowish skin.

What does frostbite feel like? You likely will have numbness in the affected area, as well as itching, burning or sharp pain. However, if caught quickly, frostbite is completely reversible. If not, it can turn into hypothermia, which is when a person’s core body temperature drops below 95 degrees Fahrenheit. This medical emergency, which can impair the brain and muscles, is a potential killer.

Signs of Hypothermia

Be on the lookout for the “umbles.” That’s when a person mumbles, stumbles, fumbles and grumbles. All are symptoms of early hypothermia. If you see someone who is shivering uncontrollably, doesn’t seem to be thinking straight, speaks with a slur, or has trouble holding onto objects, get them into a warm environment immediately. If the symptoms fail to improve within a short time, call a doctor or go to the nearest emergency room.

Who’s at Risk for Winter Injuries?

The very young and the elderly are at an increased risk for cold-weather injuries, but so are people with heart disease and diabetes. Also, certain medications can increase a person’s risk of cold-weather illness because they interfere with the body’s heat-regulation system (like your significant other changing the thermostat on the wall). And people who work outdoors in cold environments are also at risk. Even if you’re taking a walk or exercising outdoors, you must be aware of the signs and symptoms of hypothermia.

Read the rest of this article here.