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Your Core: Training the obliques while stabilizing the spine. 

This is one of my all time favorite core exercises. It's called an Oblique Resisted Press. It looks simple, but it's harder to execute than it looks. And in order to be effective it must be done with precision and care.


Here's the run down:


1)Stand with your feet parallel and hip width apart. Knees should be slightly bent.

2)Check-in with your posture – ears should be over your shoulders, shoulders in line with your hips. Neutral spine – this means the natural curvature of your spine should be maintained.

3)Grasp the handle of the pulley (it should be set up between waist and chest height – lower sternum area), bring it to the centre of your body with the resistance coming from the side.

4)With both hands on the handle press the handle away from your body, make sure you keep it centered the entire time. Resist the urge to let it pull you sideways (this gets harder the further away from your body you go).


5) Return the handle right close to your body and repeat.

6) Perform 10-12 repetitions and then turn around and do the same on the other side.


This exercise is particularly great at strengthening the obliques for people with low back pain, you can load and strengthen the obliques without rotation through the spine (which can sometimes provoke or irritate your back pain symptoms). And as a bonus, because neutral spine is maintained throughout the duration of the exercise it is also a great stability exercise for the core and low back.  

In case you made it this far and you are still wondering... What are obliques? Where are they? 


Be Size Wise: A guide to selecting an appropriate exercise ball. 


We often design clients’ exercise programs to include seated ball exercises and core exercises which utilize a stability ball. The purpose of using the ball is that it creates an unstable surface, which promotes increased core engagement and thus creates stronger core muscles. If someone is new to exercise or stability ball exercises, choosing the right ball can be a little intimidating. In addition, if your ball is not the right size, those seated exercises may actually do more harm than good!


Here are some tips for choosing a ball that is the right fit for you:


If you are at a gym or facility where there are multiple ball sizes to choose from, have a seat on the ball. When sitting upright on an exercise ball:

  • Feet should be flat on the floor - with an even weight distribution.

  • Knees should be level or slightly lower than the pelvis - creating an angle of 90 degrees or slightly greater at the hips and knees (thighs parallel to ground or pointing down slightly).

  • Pelvis, shoulders, and ears should be in a vertical line - the body should not be leaning in any direction as a counterbalance.

Alternatively you can use this handy ball size/height chart. Exercise balls come in industry standard sizes: 45cm, 55cm, 65cm, 75 cm and 85cm.

Things to keep in mind if you are using this chart to purchase a new ball that is not inflated:

  • If body weight to height is larger than the average proportion, sitting on the exercise ball will compress it down more, so individuals usually should try using the next larger exercise ball size in order to maintain the 90-degree rule.

  • Most exercise ball sizes have some adjustability to them. If the angles at the hips and knees are much greater than 90 degrees, some air can be released to compensate and vice versa. Releasing air from the exercise ball will cause it to lose air pressure. As the ball flattens out, this will actually make it more stable, as it has a larger contact area with the floor and the body. This means that stabilizing and balancing exercises will become easier and will lose some effectiveness.

  • Exercise balls also lose pressure because of stretching from regular usage. Therefore, as the ball ages, it may require further inflation. On the other hand, adding excessive air to the exercise ball will increase the difficulty of balancing and stabilizing, as the contact area decreases.

  • If purchasing a ball that indicates it is “Anti-Burst” this means if the ball were punctured or had a small hole, it would slowly deflate. If the ball is not “Anti-Burst” it could burst like a balloon. The anti-burst is an important safety feature of higher quality balls and should also indicate the maximum weight it can support.



Walk this Way - Tips, Tricks and Walking Groups from Heart Strong Fitness

Heart Strong Fitness wants you to get moving. Serving the CR community since 2010, Kinesiologist and Exercise Physiologist Sarah Wright and her team offer exercise training and lifestyle counselling, motivating clients of all physical abilities to stay active through a variety of private and group services. Having just joined forces with Active Living Physiotherapy, their collaborative location offers even more ways to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Just one of their programs is a fun and free weekly walking group. Here are some expert tips to get you walking this summer:

  • Ensure you are well hydrated, wear sunscreen and be prepared for the weather

  • Walk with a buddy, and/or carry a whistle with you in the trails. Be bear and cougar aware and make lots of noise.

  • Invest in supportive, well-fitting footwear appropriate to the surface you are walking on. Walking shoes are best if you are on pavement or sidewalks; trail shoes with a bit more grip are ideal for trails. One shoe doesn’t fit all, each have their benefits and drawbacks.

  • Always warm-up and cool-down. Your warm-up should include pain free movement through all the joints you plan to use, and start off easy in the first five minutes and the last five minutes. More cardiovascular events take place when a warm-up or cool-down hasn’t been included. Avoid that “sprint” at the end and the bench at the top of the hill. It is hard for your heart to go from working close to your maximum, to nothing at all.  

  • Some people may find it helpful to stretch specific muscle groups after their warm-up, otherwise stretch at the end.

  • Do the hardest part of your workout (hills, speed, etc) in the middle. That way, you are well warmed-up, but not too tired out.You should always be able to carry on a conversation, or at least put a few words into a sentence, even on the hard parts.

  • Wearing a FitBit or pedometer can be very motivating for tracking your steps - 10,000 steps is about 5km. Or use Map My Run or Endomondo on your smartphone to track distance and pace.

 About Heart Strong Fitness: The mission at Heart Strong Fitness is to provide functional, efficient and effective exercise programming and active living counselling to a full spectrum of clients; from those struggling with activities of daily living, returning to work and life after a change in health, to those with specific athletic and lifestyle goals. They provide a realistic approach to helping you live a healthier life every day; by encouraging self management and helping you gain knowledge about active living. Having recently joined forces with Active Living Physiotherapy, you’ll now find a range of services available at their newly renovated clinic at 2380 South Island Highway.

About the walking group: Heart Strong Fitness offers a free weekly walking group on Mondays or Wednesdays from their clinic at 2380 South Island Highway. Email, call 778-420-0111 or find them on Facebook for more information.

Walking group dates (all groups leave at 9am with either Sarah Wright or Lindsay Vardy):

Wednesday, June 24

Monday, June 29

Monday, July 6

Monday, July 13

Wednesday,July 22

Wednesday, July 29

Wednesday, August 5

Wednesday, August 12

Monday, August 17

Monday, August 24

Wednesday, Sept 2

Wednesday, Sept 9


Looking for a Health and Fitness related app to up your game? Try one of our favorites!


These three apps are my peronal go-to's for tracking my runs, generating workout ideas with little to no equipment, and reminding me to stay hydrated throughout the day. 


1) Map My Run: 

MapMyRun is a fitness tracking application that enables you to use the built-in GPS of your mobile device to track all of your fitness activities. Record your workout details, including duration, distance, pace, speed, elevation, calories burned, and route traveled on an interactive map. You can even effortlessly save and upload your workout data to MapMyRun where you can view your route workout data, and comprehensive workout history.

Why I love it: I really love the Route Genius Option. No matter where I am, the built in GPS will find my location and suggest routes in my current area that are already programmed by fellow users. This gives options of many different routes and includes the distance and elevation gain. I also love the Gear Tracking component - you add your athletic shoes and the app will suggest when it's time to get new ones to avoid injury. 

Not a Runner? Try Map My Walk instead. It is essentially the same - but designed for walking. Like Map My Run, it syncs with a ton of different devices such as Fitbit, Jawbone, Garmin and many more. 


2)  Sworkit

No gym? No time? No problem! Sworkit is designed with busy people in mind with high-intensity body weight workouts that you can make as short as five minutes and as long as an hour. Choose the style of exercise you’re looking for (strength, cardio, yoga, or stretching) and discover dozens of different workouts—or go ahead and use the app to create a custom workout. Inlcudes high-quality videos and a countdown clock of the number of reps you have left. 

Why I love it: This app allows me to build a quick workout that I can use anywhere and do in very little time if I am limited for time and equipment. While the app gives me exercise videos and direction, I will often modify them to meet my individual needs. 

If you are using this app for your personal exercise regime, I suggest meeting with one of our Kinesiologists or Personal Trainers to reivew which exercises are right for you, have your body mechanics reviewed or have us modify the exercises to suit your individual needs. 


3) WaterMinder 

This is an easy, intuitive app to track your water intake. Based on your body weight (or your personal goal), WaterMinder will remind you to drink water to reach your daily goals. By seeing current water fill visually and in percents you will instantly know how well you are hydrated!

Why I love it: This app doesn't just use the "8 glasses per day" goal. It asks you for your personal information and then creates a daily goal based on that. It will send reminders throughout the day to let you know when it's time to drink more water. You can also customize the app to use a specific measurement - for example, if you have a favorite cup or water bottle you can use the "add cup" option to use that specific volume.  


Book some quality time with Ashley and get ready for spring!

Ashley is working with us once again and will be offering initial assessments for the price of a session (that's a $30 discount) for the month of February.  

Her rates also go up in March (because she is so much more than your average personal trainer) to $65/session, so now is the time to get her to look at your program, your techniqe and ensure you are on the right track for success!  Prevent injury, keep things functional and do it right the first time and you will be astounded at your results.


Find Ashley's Bio Here