13 Benefits of Improving Your Posture

13 Benefits of Improving Your Posture

Proper posture may not have been top of mind for our ancestors who spent most hours of the day actively engaged in physical work. However, today’s digitized world has led to increasingly sedentary lifestyles. Our bodies had evolved to move, and yet we are now spending the majority of our time sitting in front of screens. With less motion in our lives, paying attention to the subtleties of our posture has never been more important.

Posture has a huge impact on our overall health and sense of well-being. First, consider the body language of someone who is feeling low energy or depressed - they might shrink back or hunch forward as a way to withdraw. Now consider your posture when you zero into a work project or sink into scrolling. We slink, we slouch, we hunch, we lean. We unconsciously affect our mood and energy levels by assuming the same depressed posture. Not to mention, when we hold our bodies improperly, we create more opportunities to develop physical aches and pains.

Good posture not only strengthens our muscles, but it helps clear our minds. It allows more air to enter our lungs, for a fuller breath that can travel throughout the brain and body, giving us greater mental clarity, awareness and focus. 

To maintain good posture, sit straight up and push your hips back into your chair. This will give you the physical support you need to keep your muscles in the right position. You will discover that your body instantly becomes much more fresh and alert when it is stacked and supporting itself properly as it was designed to.

13 Benefits to Enjoy When You Improve Your Posture


When we have good posture, the spine is neutral and the muscles surrounding the spine are balanced and supporting the body equally. 

Wondering if you have good posture? Let’s do a quick check-in….

When sitting, your feet should rest flat on the floor with even weight on both hips. Your back is mostly straight, with the exception of natural curves. Your shoulders are back and relaxed, with your ears in line over your collarbone. When standing, your legs should have a slight knee bend so you're not hyperextending or locking your knee joints.

Once you become aware of how you hold yourself and begin practising good posture, you can look forward to all kinds of health benefits, such as...

1 - Better Energy Levels

Our bodies have evolved from a single cell to work as a complex, well-oiled machine. When our parts fall out of alignment, every action takes more effort, and processes begin to slow down. When your bones and joints are in correct alignment, your muscles can work more efficiently as they’re intended, and your blood can flow more freely - which means less fatigue and more energy.

2 - Reduced Neck & Shoulder Strain

When you look at your phone, do you hold it straight out in front of you or do you look towards the ground? It’s not unusual to fall into a downward stare. Unfortunately, the chronic overuse of a forward head posture puts a strain on the upper back, shoulder, and neck areas. 

By making an effort to maintain proper alignment, the joints and ligaments become less stressed. After only a week or two of looking ahead instead of down, you’ll begin to notice reduced tension in your neck and shoulders. In the meantime, for additional relief, try applying heat or ice to the strained areas.

3 - Less Wear and Tear on the Joints

We all have our creature comfort poses. We may give preference to one leg over another when we stand, we may cross our legs, or contort our bodies in any number of ways. It’s just how we do. And yet, crooked sitting and standing can lead to hip strain. 

Your joints wear down naturally over time but If your posture is even, you can reduce the impact time has on each joint. However an uneven body can lead to unnecessary pain and issues down the road. The more you work at strengthening your core and your posture, the more natural good posture poses will start to feel.

4 - Increased lung capacity

When you want to get in a good yawn, you stretch it out, your chest expands, and you take in all that great oxygen and its mind-stimulating benefits. Yawns force us to physically open up, and equally, consciously maintaining an open chest ads volume from breath to breath. Slouching, on the other hand, compresses your lungs. When you sit or stand tall, your lungs have more space to expand, which improves your breathing.

If you feel like you don’t have the best lung capacity in the world, you can give it a boost simply by sitting up with good, tall posture and opening up your lungs with three deep breaths a few times a day.

5 - Better digestion

Just like your lungs, if you’re hunched forward, you’re compressing your vital organs which results in poor circulation and organ function. Proper body alignment allows for healthy blood flow. This means avoiding positions that tend to cramp circulation, like crossing your legs.

To ensure good posture at your desk, sit your hips at the back of the chair and ensure your feet are both on the ground to improve support. A lumbar roll can be very useful along your lower back to assist with maintaining this posture. Keep your shoulders back and your neck muscles relaxed. Again, what feels like work at first will soon become a matter of muscle memory and a most valuable lifelong habit.

6 - More Refreshing Walks 

Sitting is now understood to be as dangerous as smoking, so it’s no surprise that fitness bracelets have drastically increased in popularity over the last decade. If you don’t already have a reminder set, then make a point to get up from your desk at least twice an hour. To reset your body, focus on maintaining good posture during those bi-hourly walks. 

Researchers have discovered that a slow, slumped walk actually drains us of our energy. Meanwhile, adding a skip to our step significantly increases energy levels. Think of the carefree energy of a child, and it makes sense. Maybe skipping to the staff lunchroom is not your style, but skipping up or down the stairs might be a suitable sneaky substitute to get a quick energy boost.

7 - A More Relaxed Jaw

Sometimes when we’re focused on a major work project, driving in rush hour traffic, or getting sucked into any of life’s other dramas, our mandibular joint and jaw muscles experience the direct effects of our stress and tension. This can contribute to ongoing pain, clicking sounds, and headaches.

A stressful situation is only made worse by pain, so it is important to remember to relax your jaw whenever you find yourself tightening up in such difficult scenarios. This will help release the tension in your neck and upper shoulders and should reduce the effects of TMJ pain.

8 - Increased Self-Confidence

Fake it until you make it, is what some might say. In fact, science shows that there is clearly some truth to that. Perhaps you have already seen Amy Cuddy’s famous Ted Talk and her insights on how posture changes our hormone levels? Well, a further study by researchers from Columbia and Harvard Universities (Amy Cuddy et al) showed that body language symbolizing power can actually affect our decision-making, subconsciously. 

Researchers measured the inclination for risk of participants in either expansive, powerful poses, or constricted poses that occupied minimal space by keeping the limbs close to the body. Those in the powerful poses not only felt more powerful and in control but were 45% more likely to take a risky bet.

9 - More Balanced Hormones

The same study as mentioned above also used saliva samples to prove that expansive postures actually altered the participants’ hormone levels, decreasing cortisol (the stress hormone) and increasing testosterone (the male sex hormone). Incredibly, the neuroendocrine profile of High Testosterone and Low Cortisol has been consistently linked to such outcomes as disease resistance and leadership abilities. That said, don’t be afraid to take up space! Good posture doesn’t only convey great confidence, but it helps to inspire the hormonal balance to support it too.

10 - Better memory recall

Your body is a physical reflection of how you are feeling. As mentioned earlier, a slouched posture is a depressed posture. When we are hunched forward in a defeated pose, it is much easier to dredge up memories associated with that position – ones that might foster feelings of being powerless, hopeless or helpless. On the other hand, when we sit upright, we are giving our body the proper physical support to stir up confident, happy memories or at least maintain a more positive outlook on life in general.

11 - Fewer headaches

 Do you suffer from frequent headaches? Maybe it’s a challenging co-worker that causes you to cringe or your morning commute that triggers the throbbing, but poor posture can be a big contributor to tension headaches, due to increased muscle tension in the back of the neck. Once we correct our posture, we can gradually reduce muscle tension, resulting in fewer headaches.

Naturally, headaches are personal, and so prevention measures will differ. If practising proper posture is not yielding the results you want, try adding more core exercises and pectoral stretches into your routine.

12 - Better Core Strength

When talking about the benefits of maintaining good posture, we can’t overlook the obvious benefits it has on your core. We spend so much time focusing on our abs at the gym, and yet good posture is one of the best things we can do to improve core strength.

Good posture may look easy, but it actually requires some mindful effort as it requires us to keep our core and upper back muscles actively engaged. This subtle alignment kept while sitting and standing will help your core to get stronger every day - and make it easier to maintain good posture too.

13 - Reduced low back pain

As above, so below. While being mindful of our neck, shoulders and upper back, we must also consider how sitting or standing in a slouched position can put stress on the lower back. More specifically, it puts pressure on the posterior structures of the spine, including the intervertebral discs, ligaments, and muscles.

To combat lower back pain, stretch your chest and work to strengthen your core and upper back muscles. Over time, you’ll experience a noticeable reduction in pain.

If you feel that your posture is affecting your life, Life Force Physio can help! Give us a call to book your assessment and get on the straight path to health.








Ted Talk


* Please be aware that information on this web site is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of a qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding an injury or medical condition.

Weekend Warriors (continued)

Weekend Warriors (continued)

“The Life Force Physiotherapy Team spends much of our time trying to save you – from yourself.”

We know humans are wired to survive but it seems to us that we are not necessarily wired for self-preservation beyond survival.  Overuse injuries, excessive joint compression due to obesity, poor posture, muscle weakness leading to inadequate joint support and lifestyle imbalance all reflect on choices that are not aligned with surviving well for a long-time!  Add to that the excitement and urgency to get going on spring/ summer projects and activities and trouble appears. Oh the things you do to yourself.    

The Life Force Physiotherapy Team spends much of our time trying to save you – from yourself.  Save you from yourself as your expectations of your body are often unrealistic. At a time when people demand to have everything conveniently at their finger tips, we have grown accustomed to getting what we want when we want it. Our body doesn’t respond well to instantaneous demands, expecting it to tolerate double or triple the stress and strain usually applied to it.  Investing in your body and building its tolerances carefully, allow you to do what you want to do. Lose reality with that and your body will not cooperate quietly. While your mind, emotions and energy level may be aligned with getting a lot done today, your physical body may not be. Just because you want to do something, doesn’t mean your body will cooperate.

As your healthcare professionals we are sensitive to what you want and need your body to do.  Your goals are ultimately our goals. The only difference is that we have a clearer understanding of the journey to go from where you are at today to the physical demands of what you love to do.  For example, we had a client the other day who presented with low back pain which developed after a day of gardening. Not only does this client love to garden, she also loves to do it all herself.  Delegating it to others or paying others to do it ruins the experience for her. She loves being outdoors and digging in to the task at hand – planting 250 annuals in one day! This client walks regularly and doesn’t sit around a lot.  Understandably, our client thought this is preparation enough for a day in the garden. Gardening requires your back to have a high tolerance to repetitive and sustained bending and to the compression forces created by lifting. A strong core that can endure working at a higher level for 6-8 hours is essential to a day in the garden.  Walking and usually being on the go don’t build these tolerances leaving you vulnerable to injury and pain. Could this client have increased her safety margin in advance of planting 250 bulbs in one day and avoided low back pain? Absolutely! She could also have further increased her safety margin by doing the task over 2 days instead of one.  

As a team who care about you, we are impacted by your frustration, upset, anger, disappointment, frustration, frustration and frustration!  It is hard to watch you create your own pain and be so upset by it, especially when we know there is an alternative. Building your body’s tolerance and safety margin requires you to listen, to be patient and disciplined and to develop good exercise and activity habits.  This combination will get you 90% of the way to not creating your own pain. The last 10% requires resilience as, even though you are doing everything you have been advised to do, your body will not fully cooperate initially. These bumps in the journey often cause people to throw in the towel and give up on the concept of prevention.  Learn to weather the storm and keep your end goal in sight. The body will align in time.  

In terms of the length of time it takes your body to be ready for a new activity/ project it obviously depends on the condition of your joints as well as your strength, flexibility and endurance today relative to the task you are planning on doing.  Seasonal changes in your activities require approximately 6 weeks preparation. Much like a recipe book, ask your therapist at Life Force Physiotherapy to identify the physical goals that indicate if you are ready for the task at hand. For example, if you want to spend a day in the garden planting 250 bulbs you need to be able to correctly complete the following without pain:

25 Squats
1 minute floor plank
A full Quads stretch
1 minute wall sit at 90 degrees
10 reps of touching your toes from a standing position
A grip strength appropriate to your age and gender
10 floor push-ups on your toes

If you can’t complete this list then you need to modify your planting plan.  A ‘mind over matter’ approach won’t force your body to cooperate. Train your body to the appropriate level or be wise and modify what you are demanding of it.  We are always here to treat your pain but also here to help you prevent it in the first place.  Get your body ready to do what you love to do.

Call today to set up your prevention appointment.

Daily Exercises To Help Ease Plantar Fasciitis Foot Pain

Daily Exercises To Help Ease Plantar Fasciitis Foot Pain

Plantar Fasciitis flare ups can last a really long time, and even when you try to take it easy at first, there’s only so much resting and icing a person can take! Joan Scannell of Life Force Physio in Etobicoke takes you through some simple exercises designed to ease foot pain daily.

Happiness Checklist: Are You as Happy as You Want to Be?

Happiness Checklist: Are You as Happy as You Want to Be?

Are you happy? It might be a simple question, but for many people, happiness feels like an impossible goal to reach. In fact, studies show that only about one in three people consistently identify as “happy.”

How Hip Issues May Be Causing Your Runner’s Knee

How Hip Issues May Be Causing Your Runner’s Knee

As Spring bursts forth with its promise of fabulous weather, don’t let injuries like Runners Knee spoil the fun! Whether you’re a warm weather Weekend Warrior, or transitioning from indoor to outdoor activity, the mileage and terrain soon starts to add up. This extra toll shows up in the form of various aches and pains in our hips, knees and ankles.  

Why Do Roads Bring On Running Injuries?

Running on the sidewalk or road is very different that running on a track or treadmill. The added stress on the body makes a hard surface unforgiving, it can magnify any issues that are already happening in the body.  

Poor training habits can be the overarching problem, but physical issues we may not have realised we had tend to come to the forefront when we get back outside.

Any lack of symmetry in your running form, old injuries you thought had healed, or even new injuries that seem insignificant at first, such as a slight twist from an uneven surface, can all have an effect on the body. Left untreated, they can lead to significant pain.

From a biomechanical point of view, the most common areas where a runner’s body can break down are the hips and the feet, even though the pain may be felt in other areas.

Running Injuries Can Initiate In The Hip

Many injuries we see in patients who run regularly start in the hip.The hip is an important part of running as it is designed to take the bulk of the impact when we land, and is also where the energy that moves us forward is generated.

Hip-related injuries typically stem from muscle tightness or weakness, hip and lower back stiffness, or a functional imbalance in strength or structure. Any of these issues can change the mechanics of how the joints lower down the body move.

Typical Running Injuries Of The Hip:

  • IT Band pain

The IT (or Iliotibial) band is a band of connective tissue that starts on the outside of the hip, and stretches down the side of the thigh, ending at the top of the shin. It plays a role in stabilizing the knee and assists with the inward rotation of the leg. In runners, inflammation of the IT band often starts with an injury or strain in the hip, yet commonly causes pain in the knee.

  • Patella-Femoral Syndrome, also known as Runner’s Knee

Pain in the front of the knee around the kneecap (or “patella”) is common in runners. Overuse can be the aggravating factor, however hip stiffness or a chronic misalignment of the hip and lower leg are often the underlying causes.

  • Plantar Fasciitis

The Plantar Fascia is a tissue that attaches from the ball of the foot to the heel. It can become very painfully inflamed when the arch of the foot collapses and the space between the ball and heel increases, stretching it beyond a comfortable capacity. Although ice and massage can help, correcting the issue for good requires strengthening the hip and ankle to re-establish the foot’s arch.

As you can see, hip stress can be the source of a variety of painful ailments from the lower back to the buttock, knee and all the way down to flat feet or “over-pronation”. Runners who have symptoms of any of the above conditions should have their hip function assessed by a physiotherapist to avoid the pain becoming chronic.

Overcompensation Is A Natural Response To Injury

The human body works like a chain, with links between systems that are able to compensate for faults at other points in the chain. We have become very good at changing movements and using different body parts to get to the same end goal.

When you have a hip weakness or misalignment as a runner, the joints below the hip are forced to compensate. Running a few times a week, with the added stress of a hard or rugged outdoor terrain, can overwork these interconnected systems and lead to joint aches at first, followed by chronic pain and injury in the muscles and tendons of your hips, knees and feet.

Diagnosing A Hip Injury

A physiotherapist will be able to give you a thorough assessment of your hip function in your first visit. They will:

  • Look at the alignment of your hips, legs and feet

  • Test your functional mobility

  • Palpate the area

  • Test joint strength at various points

  • Measure your range of motion

  • Assess your gait from all angles, both walking and running

Once your assessment is complete, your physiotherapist will share their findings and give you some options for correcting any issues that are tailored specifically to your case.

Physiotherapy Treatments For Hip injury

Taking into account your goals, resources and abilities, your physio will put together a plan for you that includes functional movements related to running and non-running activities, and if necessary one of the many specialized treatments available:

  • Passive treatments:

    • Ice packs

    • Anti-inflammatory modalities

  • Active treatments:

    • Joint manipulation

    • Resistance training exercise at the clinic

    • Specific movements to do at home or at the gym

    • Low impact exercise such as swimming

    • Electrotherapy

    • Acupuncture

When it comes to pain caused by dysfunction or misalignment in the joints, there is no one-size-fits-all solution. However by working together with a professional at your own pace, you can realign your hips and look forward to running again!

The team at Life Force Physio

Life Force Physio is a local physiotherapy clinic serving Etobicoke and Mississauga (Toronto). Our team of Physiotherapists are passionate in their level of care, and believe better health is an achievable goal for everyone. We run a Physiotherapist Supervised Gym Program designed to support your healing, rehabilitation and ongoing fitness safely and at your pace. Located at Burnhamthorpe Rd and The West Mall.

How to Avoid Joint Pain When You Work Out

How to Avoid Joint Pain When You Work Out

Regular exercise is one of the most important things you can do to stay healthy. Every part of your body can benefit from movement, so don’t let joint pain stop you from experiencing the benefits. Joan Scannell from Life Force Physio in Etobicoke, Toronto, brings a physiotherapist’s approach to help you work out pain free.

5 Natural Ways to Achieve Peak Mental Fitness

5 Natural Ways to Achieve Peak Mental Fitness

Should you be concerned about your cognitive health? Consider these facts: 

●      Dementia affects between five and eight percent of adults over 60. As the average age of the population rises, that could add up to an astounding 150 million people with dementia worldwide by 2050.

●      Dementia is more complex than most people realize. Although Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia, many other diseases can play a role.

●      Mild cognitive impairment (MCI) happens when someone experiences enough impairment to be noticeable, but not enough for a dementia diagnosis. People with MCI are more likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease.

Everyone experiences some moments of “brain fog” from time to time, whether they’re trying to find their keys or are struggling to remember a name. As we age, these little moments of forgetfulness become more worrying. And in fact, the damage from Alzheimer’s can start up to 10 years before symptoms become troublesome. But stress, fatigue, and nutritional deficiencies can all contribute to cognitive issues, even without Alzheimer’s.

The good news is that foggy thinking and poor memory don’t have to be a normal part of aging. Cognitive decline is not inevitable. And the steps to protecting our brain health can also help the rest of our bodies - further evidence that everything is connected when it comes to our optimum health!

So what can you do to maintain peak mental fitness? Check out these tips.

Get enough sleep. A great deal of research supports a link between brain health and adequate sleep. Scientists think the relationship may work both ways: not getting enough sleep can lead to cognitive decline, but cognitive decline can also cause sleep problems. Either way, the best approach is to be proactive. For example, avoid substances like caffeine or alcohol before bed. Practice good sleep hygiene by sleeping in a cool, quiet room and pay attention to when the body wants to sleep. Your circadian rhythm is your natural sleep cycle, which is ideally around 10-10:30 pm. Fighting it and staying up later sends an adrenaline rush to your body to keep it awake. Talk to a healthcare provider if sleep issues interfere with daily living. You may also find that following the other tips on this list help with sleep - did we mention that it’s all connected?

Focus on a plant-based diet with plenty of healthy fats. Good nutrition fuels our brain. Processed, low-nutrient foods can lead to inflammation and oxidative stress. The result can be cognitive and mood issues. Up to 95 percent of the serotonin in our bodies is produced in our gut, so what we eat can have a profound impact on our emotions and the way we think. As a result, having adequate “good” bacteria in our gut can reduce the inflammation throughout our bodies, so it’s important to eat with this in mind.

Some important nutrients for brain health include:

●      Vitamin K: Several studies suggest Vitamin K helps prevent cognitive decline. To boost Vitamin K intake, focus on leafy greens, such as spinach or kale.

●      Omega 3: This fatty acid has been shown to lower levels of beta amyloids, which are the building blocks of the amyloid plaques in the brains of Alzheimer’s patients. Look for fatty fish and plant-based sources like flax seeds or avocados.

●      Flavonoids: These phytonutrients are found in many fruits and vegetables, particularly brightly coloured, flavourful foods like strawberries and blueberries. Flavonoids have been found to play a role in preventing memory decline.

Move to keep your brain active. Exercise is a must when it comes to brain health. Not only can cardio activities like swimming and walking ease stress, but physical activity can also increase the size of the hippocampus. That’s the part of our brain responsible for verbal memory, among other important functions.

Which exercise is best? The best activity is always the one you’re most likely to do, but experts say to strive for 75 minutes of intense activity or 150 minutes of moderate activity every week. As an added bonus, exercise can help you sleep!

Keep learning. You’re never too old to learn something new. In fact, acquiring new knowledge can help keep your brain young. One study found that adults who learned a “complex skill” such as quilting or basic coding had improved memory function after only three months. And knowing a second language (even if you learn it late in life) can help slow memory loss.

Relax. You’ve probably noticed that when you’re stressed, your thought process isn’t as clear as it is when you’re relaxed. Scientists confirm that even short-term stress can affect the hippocampus. It’s important to note that most studies refer to a relationship between perceived stress and memory. We all have negative events in our lives and some of these can’t be avoided. But we can change how we react to them and how we deal with daily stress. It’s possible to reframe the stress of daily life and change how we perceive it. Yoga, meditation, tai chi, and cognitive therapy are all effective ways to reduce our feelings of stress.

It’s important to remember that there isn’t necessarily a “magic bullet” solution to protect your brain function. As with all elements of well-being, maximum health is the result of a holistic approach. By taking conscious steps to protect your brain health, you can minimize memory loss.

Proper brain function is also linked to hormonal balance. Having an imbalance of your cortisol levels, estrogen, melatonin, pregnenolone, testosterone or thyroid can all contribute to memory loss, confusion, and issues concentrating. Testing and treatment for imbalances can help get your brain working at peak function again.








Learn to “Hack” Your Way to Better Health

Learn to “Hack” Your Way to Better Health

If you follow health-related news, you’ve probably come across the term “biohacking” recently. The word itself might sound intimidating to the average person, but the concepts behind biohacking are actually quite simple: The goal is to “hack” your body’s natural processes to improve your physical, emotional, and cellular health.

Taken to extremes, biohacking’s “citizen science” approach can lead to unsupervised experiments outside of conventional research facilities. Extreme biohackers pursue activities such as trying to alter their DNA or implanting cybernetic devices into their own bodies. That’s not necessarily a safe or recommended approach!

Fortunately, you don’t have to track every nanosecond of your day or spend a small fortune to benefit from biohacking best practices. Biohacking your health can be as easy as applying the latest scientific discoveries to your own life and adjusting as you go. That’s always a good approach to our well-being.

One of the central tenets of biohacking is that the things you put into your body (what you eat, the air you breathe, the sounds you are exposed to) shape your body’s output (your energy, productivity and moods). Your mitochondria are at the heart of this process. Mitochondria are the “batteries” that give energy to every cell in your body. These tiny powerhouses are easily influenced by their environment - in other words, they are impacted by everything your body is exposed to. When you improve their environment, you can improve the energy produced by mitochondria. The results? Far-reaching improvements on your overall health and energy levels.

What does this process look like in everyday life? Well, because we’re all different, what works for one person might not work for someone else. As you make changes to your lifestyle, you should carefully monitor your progress as you go. Biohackers draw on the data they create to come up with solutions that make them feel their best. They avoid “one size fits all” formulas.

That means paying close attention to how you feel, but the results are definitely worth it. By improving cellular function, biohacking your basic daily activities can have noticeable benefits. And it can be fun. After all, who doesn’t want to use science to feel better every day? Check out some easy ways to biohack your own health. The results might surprise you!

Monitor your diet. Adjusting your nutritional intake is an easy way to start biohacking. It’s a simple concept: Any change to your diet that results in noticeable improvements in how you feel is a biohack.

In general, focus on the fact that what you eat influences your gut bacteria and, in turn, every aspect of your health. By choosing natural, high-fiber foods, you can reduce inflammation. Too much inflammation affects mitochondria, leading to mitochondrial dysfunction, which can impact your entire body.

In general, biohackers focus on the nutritional quality of foods, not the calorie count. Many biohackers follow a gluten-free diet with plenty of healthy fats. Some have good results with intermittent fasting. But ultimately, the key is to pay attention to how your diet makes you feel and make adjustments based on that.

Focus on natural products. Even if we’re careful about what we eat, our bodies are still exposed to harmful elements as we go through the day. The water we drink, the substances we clean with, and the beauty and grooming products we use can all hold harmful toxins. These toxins impact our cellular health in ways we may not even realize. Consciously seeking out natural beauty products and non-toxic cleaning solutions can help you assess the impact of toxic ingredients on your body. 

Improve your sleep. By adjusting our night routines, we can improve the quality of our sleep. Biohackers look beyond the standard advice on improving sleep to carefully consider what we surround ourselves with at bedtime. For example, you may have great results by reducing the amount of blue light you’re exposed to at night. Blue light comes from electronic devices. What can be a helpful practice is staying off your devices for 3 hours before bed or switching your devices to “night mode.” Reducing the temperature in your room and minimizing exposure to electromagnetic fields can also lead to world-class sleep.

Keep in mind that our mitochondria want to sleep when it’s dark and awaken when it’s light. Make it easier for them by creating a sleep environment that’s as dark as possible. If needed, invest in some blackout curtains or a sleep mask. You can also create a sleep-friendly internal environment by avoiding caffeine at least eight hours before you go to sleep. 

Adapt to stress. Some biohackers use complex biofeedback systems to monitor the effect of stress on their bodies, but controlling stress can be as simple as paying attention to your breathing. (One biohack technique is “block breathing,” which means exhaling while counting to five, then repeating the count on the inhale. Do this several times and note how you feel after.) Classic stress reduction techniques such as yoga, meditation, and “forest bathing” (walking in the wilderness) can all contribute to lower stress levels.

It may seem like a bit of a paradox, but some biohackers recommend high-intensity interval training (HIIT) for improving a body’s ability to handle stress. That’s because HIIT emphasizes taxing a body to its maximum capacity, then allowing it to recover. As a result, we teach our bodies to be more resilient. Talk to a healthcare provider if you haven’t tried HIIT training before.

Hormones control it all. The hormonal balance in your system plays a huge role in pretty much everything. Having a balanced hormonal state is key to maintaining not just good health, but this balance also allows for all of the above-mentioned tips to actually work for you. When our hormones are out of alignment, it affects so many of our daily activities. Trying to even get through the day can be a challenge, let alone trying to take your health to another level. 

As you can see, biohacking doesn’t have to be complicated. Ultimately, you’re the best scientist when it comes to your own well-being. Why not make a few simple changes to your lifestyle to see how you feel?







Knee Osteoarthritis: Don’t Let it Stop You

Knee Osteoarthritis: Don’t Let it Stop You

Osteoarthritis can affect any joint like the knee, hip, shoulder, fingers and toes but the most common of all is the knee. Osteoarthritis is basically wear and tear or degenerative changes in the joint due to the mechanical stress on the joint. And, knee joints have to withstand the extreme force that our body weight, twisting, turning, running, walking and jumping put through it daily.

Why are Knees Prone to Osteoarthritis?

The bones that form our joints are covered in a smooth tissue called cartilage. And due to the ongoing mechanical stress, this cartilage becomes thinner and roughened and then the bone underneath is exposed slowly and becomes thicker and sometimes the bone at the edge of the joints grows outwards forming bony spurs called osteophytes. Risk factors that may contribute to degenerative changes include: Age more than 40-45 years, previous joint injury or surgery, obesity or over weight, repetitive stress through the joint, etc.

Symptoms of Osteoarthritis of the Knee

Some of the main symptoms of knee osteoarthritis are: pain, swelling, stiffness and creaking or grinding. There are many different ways to manage these symptoms and a few of them being:

1.     Be active and keep your knees moving: Maintaining your joint range of motion and strength is integral to a fully functioning knee. To maintain the range of motion of the knees you could start with just bending and straightening your knee regularly throughout day. This can be done in the bed before going to sleep and getting out of the bed in the morning, sitting at the desk at your work, sitting and watching television or even sitting at the dinner table. These would further help with decreasing the stiffness and swelling.

2.     Maintaining knee strength: It is very important to strengthen the muscles that surround the knee joint and keep them strong to off load the knee joint to avoid or prevent further damage or wear and tear of the joint.  There are many strengthening exercises that can be done but it is critical to handpick the exercises that are appropriate to your current knee status.

3.     Managing pain: You can use hot or cold packs for pain relief or speak to your doctor about different forms of pain relief you may be able to use.

4.     Being fit and healthy: Keeping an eye on your cardiovascular fitness and weight is important as well. If unable to do regular exercises due to pain, start with low impact walking, cycling or pool exercises which would decrease the impact or stress off of your knees.

While the structural changes of arthritis cannot be reversed, the symptoms and related functional limitations can be minimized. We are happy to help you improve your joint health so can you continue to do what you love to do. Call Life Force Physio at 416-207-9395

Life Force Physio is a local physiotherapy clinic serving Etobicoke and Mississauga (Toronto). Our team of Physiotherapists, Massage Therapists and Kinesiologists is passionate in their level of care, and believes better health is an achievable goal for everyone. We run a Physiotherapist Supervised Gym designed to support your healing, rehabilitation and ongoing fitness safely and at your pace. Located at Burnhamthorpe Rd and The West Mall.

Is Heel Pain Hindering Your Mobility?

Is Heel Pain Hindering Your Mobility?

Plantar fascia is a thick band of connective tissue that runs along the underneath of the foot from the heel bone to the toes. It acts as a bowstring pulled between the heel and the toes and helps in maintaining the longitudinal arch of the foot.

What is Plantar Fasciitis?

As the name suggests this is a condition where plantar fascia is irritated/inflamed as a result of stress it is put under during daily activities. Some of the factors which could potentially increase relative stress on the plantar fascia are but not limited to flat feet/low arch, very high arch, knock knees, tight calf muscles or any biomechanical mal-alignment in the lower limbs that could alter the way you walk or place the feet on the ground. People with flat feet are at the top of the list presenting with plantar fasciitis, however, any mal-alignment or activity that puts excessive stress or over load on the plantar fascia can result in plantar fasciitis.

Symptoms of Inflamed Plantar Fascia

It usually presents itself as heel pain, but can sometimes be felt along the whole foot and or the back of the leg. Especially, the inner heel is tender to touch or slight pressure as that is where the plantar fascia originates. Initially the symptoms are worse in the morning and getting onto your feet after a period of rest which settles down after taking a few steps. Your feet might also be sore and painful at the end of the day if you are on your feet mostly through the day. And, the symptoms become more persistent as the condition gets worse.

How to Relieve Heel Pain Due to Plantar Fasciitis:

The following things could be considered to help alleviate the symptoms and treat plantar fasciitis:

1.     The first thing to start with is avoiding the activities if you know which are causing stress or putting extra load on the plantar fascia

2.     Foot wear: Avoiding high heels and considering flat foot wear with soft soles

3.     Taping which can help in offloading the plantar fascia

4.     Icing the heel and foot to calm down the pain and inflammation

5.     Stretching plantar fascia and calf muscles to increase flexibility

6.     Custom made orthotics if you have low arch or flat feet

7.     Strengthening the intrinsic muscles of the foot 

As this can be a condition that is difficult to get rid of we are happy to advise you on the measures that are most appropriate to your recovery. Allow us to help you stay on the move. Call Life Force for an in depth assessment at 416-207-9395.

Life Force Physio is a local physiotherapy clinic serving Etobicoke and Mississauga (Toronto). Our team of Physiotherapists, Massage Therapists and Kinesiologists is passionate in their level of care, and believes better health is an achievable goal for everyone. We run a Physiotherapist Supervised Gym designed to support your healing, rehabilitation and ongoing fitness safely and at your pace. Located at Burnhamthorpe Rd and The West Mall.

How to Prevent Lower Back Pain

How to Prevent Lower Back Pain

Lower back pain is one of the most common problems these days, and can mostly be attributed by posture, ergonomics and improper body mechanics. Sitting improperly with a slouched back or leaning over the desk puts more pressure on your intervertebral discs and keeps your back muscles stretched all the time leading to weakness and imbalance in your muscles.

The same thing happens when you are involved in repetitive bending or lifting with your back arched too much, instead of bending from your hips and knees. Sometimes more pressure on the discs can put them out of place (Disc bulging or protrusion) pinching on your nerves, which in turn can give you pain, tingling, numbness, burning or weakness in your legs.

Practice Good Posture at Work

The first and best way to get rid of your back pain is to start with improving your posture, ergonomics and body mechanics at work or with any activities throughout your day.

For example when you are working at a desk, your back should be resting on the back rest with your hips as far back as they can go in the chair with your feet flat on the floor and computer screen at your eye level and keyboard around elbow level which keeps your shoulders and wrists relaxed.

Lift From the Hips, Turn From the Feet

And, when it comes to bending or lifting, try to squat from your hips and knees instead of bending forward from the back and trying to keep the load to be lifted as close to the body as possible using your core muscles. Also, taking care to turn from your feet instead of twisting your back.

Strengthen Your Core

Moreover, for a good overall back health, you should consider strengthening your core muscles, which act as a corset and help decrease strain on your back muscles with activities. One other good thing is to try and arch your back backwards a couple of times a day whenever you get a chance as most of our activities throughout the day involves bending the back forwards and none bending backwards. Also, strengthening your back muscles with McKenzie exercises is helpful, as weak back muscles usually lead to improper posture and altered body mechanics.    

Your team at Life Force Physio

Life Force Physio is a local physiotherapy clinic serving Etobicoke and Mississauga (Toronto). Our team of Physiotherapists, Massage Therapists and Kinesiologists is passionate in their level of care, and believes better health is an achievable goal for everyone. We run a Physiotherapist Supervised Gym designed to support your healing, rehabilitation and ongoing fitness safely and at your pace. Located at Burnhamthorpe Rd and The West Mall. Call us at 416 207 9395

Will Organic Food Really Change My Health?

Will Organic Food Really Change My Health?

How would you describe “organic food” quickly in three words or less? Good for you? Or expensive? Neither is a wrong answer.


We often hear in broad terms about how organic food is good for you and good for the environment. And, although we want to do the right thing for our bodies and our planet, the premium prices hardly seem fair. Walk into any grocery store, and you’ll see how organic food is priced significantly higher than conventional produce. Sometimes nearly double! So, why is that?


Unlike conventional farming, which uses synthetic fertilizers to boost crops with an instant punch of nutrients, organic foods are fertilized by organic matter. The difference is that compost and animal manure slowly build the soil, releasing their nutrients naturally over time. This slow and steady approach generally means that an organic crop will yield approximately 20% fewer crops than their conventional competitors.


So what’s a health and eco-conscious shopper to do? Do you buy into the hype without really knowing, or is the difference truly worth it?


According to a new study in Nature Plants, yes, it’s worth it!


Organic agriculture has been proven to be sustainable in numerous key areas, including its ability to:


●      Benefit soil quality and the environment,

●      Provide economically viable jobs to farmers,

●      Support social well-being with meaningful interactions between farmers and consumers.


These are all great reasons to make a difference with your dollars by supporting the organic food movement. But chances are you’re still wondering….


How does organic food actually benefit me?


1.   Organic food has more vitamins and minerals. Without the use of pesticides, organic fruits and vegetables must fend for themselves. They do so by producing more of their own antioxidants to guard against harm. Studies show that organic foods contain 18 – 69% more antioxidants than conventionally grown crops. This means that organic eaters consume nearly twice as many cancer-fighting, age-reversing, immune-boosting antioxidants every day!


In addition to those awesome antioxidants, one study also shows that organic  foods have higher levels of vitamin C, iron, phosphorus, and magnesium than conventionally raised crops.


 Meanwhile, remember those synthetic fertilizers mentioned earlier? Well, they get that big boost of energy via high levels of nitrogen. This causes conventionally grown crops to have higher levels of sugars and starches as opposed to the protective antioxidants found in organic foods.


So, which would you rather be eating?


2.    Organic food is less toxic than conventionally grown crops. It’s probably something we all assume when we think of “organic,” but it’s good to know that there is scientific proof backing that assumption. A meta-analysis of 343 peer-reviewed studies conducted by the British Journal of Nutrition found that conventional crops have higher levels of the toxic metal cadmium and as well as pesticide residues.


 As you may have heard, researchers also found an increased cancer risk in children near California strawberry farms that use pesticides. And in recent news the large agricultural corporation, Monsanto which manufactures a well-known pesticide, just lost a lawsuit with a cancer patient, and  now owe him 289 million dollars. He simply applied Monsanto’s weed killer pesticide regularly on the school lawn he was in charge of caring for.


To learn more about which crops you should always buy organic based on pesticide levels, there is a great resource created annually by EWG, a nonprofit organization that advocates for policies that protect global and individual health. The EWG Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce” ranks the pesticides levels in 47 different fruits and vegetables. Talk about leaving a bad taste in your mouth! Speaking of which….


3.    Organic food tastes better! At some point in your life, you’ve likely compared strawberries from the grocer to those fresh from the garden. Even without considering that toxic tidbit above, which would you honestly say tasted better? Odds are it was the berry from the garden.


When plants are grown without pesticides, their taste is naturally improved. The higher antioxidant levels found in organic foods also impacts how we detect flavour through organoleptic qualities such as taste, aroma, and mouth-feel. Plus, organic foods carry the distinct flavours of a region’s soil, which further enhances their natural taste.


When we look at the long-term effect of toxins in our system, we see an increase in autoimmune disease, hormonal imbalances, and nutrient deficiencies that lead to more significant health issues. We seek to remove the factors affecting the body from healing itself, and in most cases that includes enhancing the body’s own ability to eliminate toxins. The more we know about how pesticides and other chemicals harm us, the more we can stay away from things that are not serving our longevity, our daily health and the health of our families.


They say you get what you pay for, and that statement holds true with organic foods. Buying organic might cost a bit more, but consider it an investment towards improved health, greater flavour, and more sustainability!


Maybe you can’t afford to buy all organic all the time – most people can’t. But that doesn’t mean it needs to be all or nothing. Throw a few organic items into your cart now and then, or better still, make friends with the farmers at your local market. As with anything in life, small actions add up to make a real difference.


So yes, organic food is worth it!







Should You Try Fasting to Reset Your Metabolism?

Should You Try Fasting to Reset Your Metabolism?

Fasting is one of the oldest therapies in medicine, recognized for its ability to help heal and prevent disease. When done under the proper guidance of a healthcare professional, intermittent fasting can lead to effective weight loss and long-term health benefits.


Fasting Versus Starving: A Big Difference


So, you might be wondering, what’s the difference between intermittent fasting and starvation diets? Well, for starters, starving yourself is dangerous! This isn’t a competition of “less is more.” Our bodies still need fuel to function.


Starvation deprives our body of essential nutrients, so it begins eating itself by burning muscle. Fasting differs from starvation because it can be practiced for 12, 16, 24, 36 or even 48 hours without the body kicking into starvation mode. Fasting flips the metabolic switch safely and effectively by using one fuel source instead of another.


Typically, our bodies are fuelled by glucose, which is a simple sugar. However, through diet restriction or intermittent fasting, that energy source gradually becomes unavailable. As a result, the body begins to convert its stored fat into fatty acids that are easily absorbed by the bloodstream. Fatty acids produce molecules called ketones. (This may ring a bell if you are familiar with the ketogenic diet.) After 8 – 12 hours of fasting, our metabolism shifts to replace glucose with ketones as our new source of energy.


In a world of fad diets and weight loss gimmicks, studies show that intermittent fasting may be better for you than other dietary strategies. This is because ketones put less stress on our cells compared to the by-products of other dieting methods.


Studies also show that intermittent fasting can produce benefits no matter how it’s accomplished!


In one study, participants were allowed to fast for any number of hours a day, and then eat whatever they desired during the remaining hours. In another study, dieters alternated fasting and feasting days. On their non-fasting days, dieters either restricted their diet or ate to their hearts’ content. In both cases, results showed significant weight loss, no matter the approach!


Furthermore, participants in both studies did not lose any significant amount of lean tissue (which includes bone, muscle and organ tissue). This is in contrast to other dieting strategies which can sometimes cause the loss of both fat and lean tissue, impacting health negatively in the long run.


Speaking of the long run, did you know that intermittent fasting helps you to live longer too?


It’s true! New research from Harvard shows that intermittent fasting manipulates the mitochondrial networks inside our cells, which may increase lifespan!


Sure, that sounds great! But how does it work?


Simply put, inside our cells we have energy-producing mitochondria that dynamically change shape in relation to our body’s energy demand. Over time, their ability to produce energy gradually declines, eventually leading to age-related diseases. While fasting is often recommended as a way to promote healthy aging, the connection between metabolism and mitochondria has always been unclear… until now!


The Harvard study shows that low-energy conditions, such as periods of intermittent fasting, can help maintain the flexibility and youthfulness of mitochondrial networks. These youthful networks then communicate with other parts of the body (organelles called peroxisomes) that modulate fat metabolism, which as a result, helps to increase lifespan.


Fasting does not only help you live a longer life. It improves your overall health too! Further studies suggest that fasting can help:

●      Boost the immune system

●      Enhance physical performance

●      Protect cognitive function

●      Reduce inflammatory disorders

●      Slow the progression of tumours

●      Protect against cardiovascular disease


Steps for Effective Fasting


As mentioned, there are numerous different ways to fast that are equally effective. Below are a few fasting tips to help you on your way.

  1. Set a fasting schedule and stick to it. If you’re a beginner, meal skipping is an excellent way to introduce yourself to fasting. If you choose to do a 12 or 16 hour fast, arrange your fasting window during sleeping hours to help the time pass by more easily. Fasting for 24 hours once a week or alternating day fasting are other options to try. Be sure to consult your healthcare professional to determine what might work best for you.
  2. Stay hydrated. You might be limiting your intake of food, but you certainly shouldn’t limit your consumption of calorie-free beverages. Be sure to drink plenty of water or switch it up with herbal teas.
  3. Relax your body and your mind. During fasting days, don’t participate in strenuous activities or spend your time obsessing over the food you can’t eat. Go easy on yourself by finding things to keep your body and mind occupied in a productive, gentle way. Take a walk or do light exercise that won’t exhaust you, like yoga. Spend a few hours binge-watching your favourite TV show or catching up on emails. Your next meal will come before you know it!
  4. Make your calories count. Between fasting windows, enjoy nutrient-dense foods that provide protein, fibre, and healthy fats. Learn how to increase flavours without sacrificing calories by adding garlic, herbs, spices, and different types of vinegar to your dishes.








How Your Thoughts Affect Your Health

How Your Thoughts Affect Your Health

Our mind-body connection is far more powerful than we realize. Our thoughts influence our emotions by the way we experience the world around us. Even when we imagine future situations or visualize potential outcomes, our bodies physically respond to our thoughts.

Think of how you react when someone cuts you off in traffic and nearly causes an accident. The incident may only last a moment, and, at that instant, your body immediately prepares for the potential outcome, triggering a surge of adrenaline, which is the body’s hormonal response to a fight or flight situation. This sort of physical reaction isn’t limited to a release of adrenaline. Our thoughts can trigger our bodies to experience all types of physiological responses from changes in blood pressure and heart rate to chemical alterations in the brain. These changes can be harmless, or, over time, they can be detrimental to your health.

The Placebo Phenomenon

In 2013, a study was conducted on 270 patients looking to alleviate severe arm pain. Half of the subjects received acupuncture treatments, and the other half received pain-reducing pills. Some side-effects experienced in both groups, included an increase in pain, sluggishness, swelling, and redness. Both groups found relief with treatment, but those who received acupuncture reported feeling even better than the group that did not receive this treatment. However, the study was not designed to measure the effectiveness of acupuncture versus pain pills -- the needles had retractable shafts and never pierced the skin, and the painkillers were made of cornstarch -- it measured the power of placebos.

Imagine! Even without any actual treatment, the body still reacted according to what each patient expected. Of course, you cannot think yourself better to remove a tumour or cure a virus, but researchers have found that the power of the mind can have a physical impact when it comes to pain, depression, anxiety, fatigue, and even some symptoms of Parkinson’s.

Our brain chemistry is also affected by those around us.

In another study conducted at the University of Turin Medical School, 100 students went on a trip to the Italian Alps with the researcher Fabrizio Benedetti. Shortly before the trip, Benedetti told one individual in the group that the thin air may cause migraines. A few days passed, giving the rumour time to make the rounds to one-quarter of the travellers – all of whom experienced horrible headaches. Saliva tests on the “socially-infected” individuals also revealed low oxygen conditions beyond what was expected.

Now, apply that study to our everyday lives and how gossip and social media snark can poison our minds.  What happens when family and friends fuel your negative expectations, worries, and doubts? It feels horrible, doesn’t it? And what about the opposite – what happens when you’re loved ones surround you with warmth and encouragement? It feels amazing and makes life’s challenges feel more achievable.

Embracing positive social support makes a difference to your health!

Change your thoughts. Change your life.

Play along for a moment and allow yourself to take in a long conscious breath.

Feel how the air moves through your body as you inhale and exhale.

Now take another full deep breath.

And another.

One more.

How do you feel? Did time slow down a little? Did you enjoy a brief moment of peace? Or did you not play along at all, anxious to move on to the next thing?

If only we lived breath by breath instead of task-by-task. Our to-do lists will never be empty, so we must schedule time in our day to reconnect with ourselves. We act like finding time to meditate is beyond our control. It isn’t. And the results are worth it!

Spending a moment in meditation each morning is one of the best things you can do for your health and well-being. Even if only for ten minutes, it is an investment of time you’ll never regret. By starting your day on the right track, it makes it that much easier to get yourself back on track whenever life goes off the rails.

The Benefits of Meditation

·     Meditation deepens your self-connection on a physical, mental and spiritual level.

·     Meditation helps to release suppressed emotions by giving you space to reset.

·     Meditation enhances our overall health and wellbeing by increasing positive emotions and improving immune function.

Studies have also shown that when we work on our emotional awareness and self-compassion, we can experience a healthier response to rejection, improve eating behaviours, and effectively manage weight loss.

 No matter your struggle, success always begins with a positive frame of mind.

Perspective is everything.

A few key points to remember…

1.     Stress is not inherently negative – it all depends on how you look at things. If you perceive something as a threat, then your health will deteriorate. However, if you simply change your mindset from threat to challenge, then you enhance your health! So, ask yourself -- are you running away from a lion or are you embracing the beast?

2.     Emotions are only energy in motion. Instead of thinking of your emotions as a hindrance, consider them the currency required for the motivation to change. Unresolved feelings don’t atrophy or disappear – their dammed-up energies accumulate. Like an untreated health condition, if your emotions are allowed to fester inwardly, they will eventually cause physical conditions and behavioural issues.

3.     Both negative and positive emotions left unresolved will deplete the body’s immune system. Acknowledge your feelings and learn how to manage them effectively. Managing emotions leads to homeostasis in the body, centres the mind, and spiritual connection. Remember, if there are no peaks or valleys, you’re flatlining!

Often your pain can affect your outlook on life. We can help with that. Let’s chat and start you on a healing path to a pain free life.

Call at 416 2079395

To your best health!

The Life Force Physio Team









Dealing with Depression

Dealing with Depression

Have you ever suffered from depression? If so, you’re not alone. The World Health Organization estimates that 350 million people suffer from depression worldwide and that it is a leading cause of disability. Fifteen percent of adults will experience depression at least once in their lifetime.

Depression knows no bounds. It can impact anyone at any point in their life, regardless of age, gender, medical history, or socioeconomic status. While depression may seem like an invisible condition, there are warning signs to look for.

Signs of Depression

So, how can you tell if you or someone you know might be experiencing a major depressive episode?

A major depressive episode is defined as a depressed mood lasting at least two weeks or more. Life seems filled with darkness or heaviness, and there is a loss of interest or pleasure in almost all activities. Depression also comes with the baggage of other symptoms that can interfere with your work, school or social life. These symptoms include:

●      Sleep issues -- either sleeping too much or having difficulty falling asleep

●      Low energy or feeling fatigued almost every day for no reason

●      Inability to focus, make decisions or think clearly

●      Moving slower than usual or making unintentional motions to a degree that is noticeable by others

●      Changes in weight and appetite, with an increase or decrease of more than five percent in body weight a month

●      Recurring thoughts about death or suicide, a suicide attempt, or a specific plan in place for suicide

If you are or someone you know is experiencing these symptoms, it’s important to start a conversation right away, get professional help to identify the cause, and find some appropriate solutions.

What Causes Depression?

What makes depression so elusive is that there is no one single cause. Hormones, brain chemistry, family genetics, life experiences and physical health are all possible factors that can trigger a depressive episode. While some types of depression can be attributed to conditions such as Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) or postpartum depression, for many the source might not be immediately apparent.

Unfortunately, in many situations, doctors prefer to medicate rather than investigate, prescribing antidepressants instead of exploring the cause of the condition. Antidepressants may have their time and place, but with a myriad of possible side-effects, they are not always an option for everyone. Also, a lifetime prescription to antidepressants is only a Band-aid solution that never really addresses the underlying problem.

Research shows that high levels of C-reactive protein (CRP), a marker of inflammatory disease, have been documented in subjects with depression. In fact, results from a national health and nutrition examination survey showed that subjects with depressive symptoms had CRP levels that were 46 percent higher than those of non-depressed subjects. Studies also suggest that subjects with a depressed mood have low levels of fractional exhaled nitric oxide (FeNO), which is an indication of airway inflammation.

Over time, depression can also lead to significantly more inflammation in the brain. Inflammation is our body’s response to injury or illness, and when left untreated, it can cause chronic illnesses like heart disease and potentially even neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. So not only is identifying the cause of depression early on important for your mental health; it's also for your long-term physical health!

This is why visiting a physiotherapist can be so crucial. Not only is depression a serious condition not to be taken lightly, but there are so many possible influences, that it requires a 360-degree assessment to determine what might be the cause. The first thing you need to ask yourself is "Why am I feeling depressed?" Then take it from there.

Ways to Treat Depression

For those with mild to moderate depression, there are a variety of natural options that can help fight the blues effectively, without pharmaceuticals.

1. Sunshine & Exercise

It may sound trite to suggest a little fresh air and exercise; however, you can never underestimate the value of a brisk walk in the sunshine. Activity pumps up serotonin, dopamine and endorphins, which are our feel-good happy chemicals. Go for a run to experience a true natural high.

And don’t forget, the sun doesn’t just light up the sky. It can also lighten up your mood with feel-good rays of vitamin D. Invest in a therapeutic light box for those cloudy days and winter months.

2. Create a Regular Bedtime Routine

Depression and sleep issues are intimately connected. For those who have trouble falling asleep, a nighttime routine can help ease you into a more restful slumber.

Set a regular bedtime and unplug from all devices at least two hours beforehand. Use that digital downtime time to take a bath, read a book, listen to music, meditate or unwind in any other low key way. By eliminating sources of constant stimulation and slowing down your evening habits, you will foster a better mental environment for sleep. If you’ve been dealing with insomnia for a while, melatonin is also a helpful natural supplement to reset your internal clock.

Keep yourself on a consistent schedule by setting your alarm to go off after 8 hours. If you need a nap later in the day, then, by all means, take one, but try to resist the urge to sleep your life away. 

3. Natural Supplements

Serotonin is a vital chemical and neurotransmitter. It regulates our moods, behaviour, libido, sleep, and memory. Keep your serotonin levels elevated by getting your fill of healthy omega-3 fatty acids ─ the kind you find in fish, walnuts, chia seeds, flax seeds, and more.

Cut down on coffee, which can reduce serotonin levels. Instead, try green tea which has L-theanine, an amino acid that has a relaxing effect. L-Theanine boosts neurotransmitters and helps to alleviate stress and anxiety.

Rhodiola rosea and St. John’s wort are other natural supplements that many individuals have had success with for treating depression. That said, St. John’s wort may interfere with birth control or other medications. This is why it is always important to get professional guidance on which supplements and what dose might work best for you.

4. Get Your Hormones Balanced

Our hormones have an impact on our entire bodies. They can be the reason behind depression, chronic fatigue, weight gain, and more. Think of your adrenal, sex and thyroid hormones as Jenga blocks. When certain blocks become imbalanced, it can send our whole life tumbling out of control. The longer you take to correct the imbalance, the more difficult it will be to heal. Getting your hormones tested is an easy and effective way to assess the issues so that you can effectively identify what your options are to get back into balance.

5. Talk to someone

While you may feel vulnerable or uncomfortable at first, opening up to friends and family may be the relief you need to get through dark times without feeling so alone. If you don’t feel comfortable sharing your burdens with the people you know, then seek professional counselling, whether a therapist, life coach or trusted doctor. They are there to help and can offer you a new perspective on things. 







Sitting is the New Smoking

Sitting is the New Smoking

On average, how many hours a day do you spend sitting, uninterrupted? One hour? Two hours? Three…or more?

Our ancient ancestors spent much of their time on the move, hunting and gathering to serve their basic needs. Obviously, the balance between movement and fuel has shifted dramatically over time, most notably since the technological revolution.

Unlike our ancestors, we no longer search for food. Instead, we are now on a quest for time, as hours fly by while we’re hunched over a keyboard. On an average day, many of us are likely sitting more than we are moving and consuming more calories than we are burning. Many of us regularly put in eight-hour workdays seated at a desk – sometimes even more. We then go home and unwind on the couch, binge-watching our favourite shows. The hours begin to add up.

Maybe we make a little time to fit in some exercise each day; however, with more conveniences at our fingertips, we can do a lot more while moving a lot less. The longer we sit, the more our bodies begin to feel tight, tired and sore. It’s clear that too much sitting isn’t good for us. But did you know that it can even lead to earlier mortality?

Sitting and Premature Death

That’s right…too much sitting can kill you! In fact, some are saying that “sitting is the new smoking” because its impact is so significant. According to recent research from the Journal of the American Heart Association, prolonged sitting presents similar health risks as smoking, such as heart disease, lung cancer, and diabetes. It also increases premature death by about 50 percent! Even more surprising, too much sitting increases your risk for an early death regardless of your fitness level or other lifestyle habits.

But sitting isn’t just bad for your heart or metabolism; it is also bad for your brain! Researchers at the University of California have discovered a connection between sedentary behaviour and thinning regions in the brain that is critical to new memory formation.

So, what if your job requires you to be at a desk, all day, every day? Are you supposed to quit? Well, of course, that’s not practical. However, there are a few simple things you can do to ensure that you keep your body regularly moving for a longer, healthier life.

Tips to Sit Less & Live Longer

1. Fit in Exercise Whenever Possible

Bottom line, the more frequently you work out, the more you reduce your risk of premature death. Adults should get at least 150 minutes of moderate physical activity per week. While exercising 10 minutes or more at a time is ideal, shorter but frequent bursts of exercise, like taking the stairs, can also be an excellent way to keep active.


2. Move Every 30 Minutes

Research shows that people who sit for less than 30 minutes at a time have the lowest risk of early death. Meetings and deadlines don’t always offer the freedom to move, but ideally, you don’t want to be sitting for any longer than three hours at a time. Setting a timer on your phone can be a helpful reminder to take regular moments for movement.


3. Use a Fitness Tracker

Fitness trackers are an effective way to ensure you’re getting enough activity in your day. As health and fitness wearables grow in popularity, there is an increasing number of options available for every budget and lifestyle. There are also a wide variety of exercise apps out there to track your progress and monitor your success with motivational milestones to keep you moving.


4. Try a Standing Desk

As awareness grows about the health concerns associated with chronic and prolonged sitting, more companies have already begun re-examining ways they can improve employee wellness. In some environments, adjustable desks are offered to provide workers with opportunities to stand instead of sitting if they so choose. If a standing desk is not an option for you, try moving your laptop to a tall counter or table as a means to squeeze in more standing. 


5. Opt for Less Convenience

We live in a world of many technological conveniences, and yet, we take so many of them for granted -- and in some cases to our detriment. Turn back time and reverse the mortal clock by opting for “less convenient” choices in your day. Walk over and have a conversation with your colleague instead of sending an email. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Bike to work instead of drive. Small activities can make a significant impact!

Do you spend excessive amounts of time sitting? Do you experience any health problems that you think could be related to a sedentary lifestyle? Let’s chat and get to the root of your health issues. Book an appointment with our clinic, and together we will find ways to improve your overall health and well-being so that you can live your life to its fullest.

Call or email us at 416 2079395.

To your best health!

The Life Force Physio Team.





Life Force Physio is a local physiotherapy clinic serving Etobicoke and Mississauga (Toronto). Our team of Physiotherapists, Massage Therapists and Kinesiologists is passionate in their level of care, and believes better health is an achievable goal for everyone. We run a Physio Supervised Gym designed to help you heal and improve your fitness safely and at your own pace. Located at Burnhamthorpe Rd and The West Mall. Call us at 416 207 9395 

The Benefits of Good Posture

The Benefits of Good Posture

“Sit up straight”, “Keep your shoulders down and back”, “Stack your ribs over your pelvis”, are common cues you will hear when referring to improving your posture.  There are many benefits to having good posture other than just looking better. Good posture leads to less pain and better function. 

What is Good Posture?

Good posture involves keeping your centre of gravity over your base of support, which encourages a more efficient movement pattern with less fatigue and muscle strain. It also helps improve your balance.

Reduce Strain on your Joints

Having good posture reduces strain on your ligaments, muscles and bones. For example, if your shoulders are down and back rather than forward, you will have less strain on the anterior ligaments/tendons of the shoulder joint. As a result you are preventing injuries such as tears, tendonitis or bursitis. Similarly, bringing your chin back so your ear is in line with your shoulder, you will have less wear and tear on your cervical spine, preventing conditions such as osteoarthritis or stenosis. You will also have less strain on the muscles of the head and neck, which can reduce headaches and dizziness.

Activate your Muscles

Good posture can also optimize the activation of your muscles. With a proper skeletal alignment, muscles are in their optimal length, which produces the most power and function. This is evident when activating your core strength. Keeping your ribs stacked over your pelvis and keeping a neutral spine will help to activate inner core muscles. 

Deepen your Breathing

Breathing and your cardio-respiratory function improves as your posture improves because you are creating more space in your thorax, allowing for optimal performance of the muscles of respiration such as your diaphragm, intercostals, and pelvic floor, enabling deep breaths and better lung capacity.

Having a postural assessment can help identify areas you need to improve with simple exercises and education surrounding your environment to promote better posture. 

Life Force Physio is a local physiotherapy clinic serving Etobicoke and Mississauga (Toronto). Our team of Physiotherapists, Massage Therapists and Kinesiologists is passionate in their level of care, and believes better health is an achievable goal for everyone. We run a Physio Supervised Gym designed to help you heal and improve your fitness safely and at your own pace. Located at Burnhamthorpe Rd and The West Mall. Call us at 416 207 9395

Are You Wave Aware?

Are You Wave Aware?

Understanding the effects of Electromagnetic Radiation (EMF)  and Radiofrequency Radiation (RF) on Your Health

Our health is directly affected by a variety of things we cannot see but know to be true. We don’t see the air, but we are sensitive to air quality on a smoggy day. We cannot see UV rays, but we can certainly feel their effects while baking at the beach. And while we cannot see electromagnetic radiation (EMF), a growing number of people are reporting symptoms that directly correlate to electrical hypersensitivity (EHS) and radiofrequency radiation (RF).

Over the last 20 years, physicians with the American Academy of Environmental Medicine have been seeing patients whose symptoms appeared to be triggered by “dirty electricity” – which is when high frequencies travel along electric wires between the power source and electric grid. This includes power lines, televisions, computers, and other electrical devices. Those suffering from EHS might experience varying symptoms including headaches, dizziness, chronic fatigue, depression, memory loss and confusion.

Now, more than ever, we are living in a world of convenient luxuries that depend heavily on electrical pollutants. We have phones in our pockets, microwaves in our homes, and satellite systems in our cars. As science attempts to catch pace with the exponential race of technology, we are only beginning to comprehend the effects RF waves have on our health.

What is Radiofrequency Radiation?

The electromagnetic wave spectrum is composed of two parts: ionizing radiation and nonionizing radiation. Ionization radiation includes X-rays and ultraviolet rays, whereas non-ionizing radiation includes radiofrequency (RF). For years we have focused on the negative impact of ionizing radiation, but now we are starting to understand the impact of non-ionizing radiation or radiofrequency. 

RF is what allows you to borrow your neighbour’s WiFi while you’re waiting for the service guy to come. Without the need for wires, RF has the power to pass through walls and go just about anywhere it pleases – and that includes inside our body. In this digital age, almost anything we can imagine can be a source of radiofrequency radiation. Our cell phones might seem obvious, but what about our Smart Meters, our children’s gaming systems, the baby monitor? They all use wireless communication, surrounding us in a constant invisible fog of electrosmog.

Our society encourages us to keep up or fall behind. Have you ever passed the Apple store the day a new iPhone hits the market? So many of us are willing to stand in lengthy lines, just to be early adopters of the latest technology. Our priorities are placed on technology as a way to make our lives better. And no doubt, it does. However, most of us never consider how our addiction to technology also impacts our health by inundating our bodies with a constant barrage of radio frequencies.

How Can EMF & RF Affect Your Health?

While EMF and RF radiation is considered biologically safe according to safety data provided by Health Canada and other organizations, the reality is that the level of our constant low-grade exposure is not reflected in their guidelines.

Some scientists have been researching the impacts of electrosmog on our bodies long before our world became so highly digitized. In 1987, one study proved that exposure to electrosmog at levels considerably lower than those observed in urban areas created changes in human brain waves and behaviour.

Further to that, EMF may also affect the mitochondria -- our cellular energy factories, which are fundamental to every energy-dependent process in our body, most notably our nervous system. As a result, EMF-induced disruption of our mitochondria may effectively bolster neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, as well as playing a part in other diseases and health issues where mitochondrial dysfunction is implicated. These include psychiatric disorders, autoimmune diseases, headaches and migraines, chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, stroke, diabetes, heart disease, reproductive disorders, cancers… the list goes on and on!

So, the question needs asking: If EMF and RF are already having an impact our lives, what are the long-term effects for our children raised in a world choked by electrosmog? Only time will tell.

Minimize Your EMF & RF Exposure

While more data is required, the science that’s already in, warrants taking precautionary measures in minimizing EMF exposure.

1.    Get rid of your cordless phones.

2.    Turn off your WiFi- Internet can be hard wired into your home to prevent WiFi exposure, as can your television “box” and any other things that are wireless and transmitting and receiving signals.

3.    Switch your cell phone to airplane mode or turn it off at night.

4.    EMF-reducing sleep sanctuary or canopies may help block EMF according to renowned doctor Dietrich Klinghardt, from the Academy for the Healing Arts and Neural Therapy and Biology.

5.    Finally, there is one other thing you can do to neutralize the toxic effects of EMF and RF exposure, and that is to GET OUTSIDE!

By simply spending time in nature and grounding yourself so you have direct contact with the earth, you are opening the gateway for an influx of electrons to be absorbed and distributed throughout your body. This transfer of electrons can help to neutralize oxidative stress and minimize any derangements in the electrical activities of your body.  So put down your phone and open the door to a healthier future!

Let’s put together an exercise program and activity schedule that will keep you outside.  We want to help you take control of your health! Call or email us at 416-207-9395.

To your best health!

The Life Force Physio Team

Physiotherapist serving Etobicoke, Mississauga and surrounding area.




Marshall, T.G., & Heil, T.J.R. (2017). Electrosmog and autoimmune disease. Immunology Research.

Conquer Inflammation Naturally

Conquer Inflammation Naturally

Pain, swelling, redness, immobility and heat -- these are all common signs of inflammation, and these signals only go skin deep. Chronic inflammation also occurs on the inside of our bodies and can present itself in other ways. When inflammation triggers sensory nerve endings, it can result in symptoms such as fatigue, rashes, and chest, abdominal and joint pain.

What is Inflammation?

Inflammation is a natural function with a bad reputation. It’s a word most of us associate with pain, discomfort and poor health -- yet its ultimate purpose is actually to help us. Without inflammation, injuries could fester and infections could become deadly.

When the body is injured, inflammation is a signal to the immune system to send white blood cells so the healing process may begin.  Unfortunately, when inflammation continues on for too long, it can potentially trigger numerous other chronic health issues in the body including cancers, depression and asthma. In fact, some say inflammation is the “new cholesterol” due to its direct link to heart disease.

In some cases, inflammation occurs when the immune systems revolts against us and attacks our own bodies. Autoimmune diseases include rheumatoid arthritis, type 1 diabetes, IBD, among dozens of others. There are over 80 different autoimmune diseases.

Top Tips to Reduce Inflammation

First, let’s take a quick look at inflammatory foods that you definitely don’t want to put into your body.  You probably already know all the usual suspects by name – sugar and artificial sweeteners, fried foods and saturated fats, processed meats and grains, dairy, caffeine and alcohol. These foods can disrupt gut bacteria, spike insulin levels, and bolster inflammation.

Wondering what those anti-inflammatory foods are? The good news is they are delicious.

1.    Eat Raw, Organic Fruits & Veggies

Organic foods are a great place to start when looking to adhere to a more anti-inflammatory diet. Grown in mineral-dense soil, organic foods tend to be more alkalizing and have a higher vitamin and mineral content.

In order to keep those vitamin and mineral levels high, it’s also helpful to eat raw fruits and veggies, which are also known as life-giving foods. Cooking can deplete minerals, which is why it’s important to take every opportunity you can to get eat fresh and raw so you get to enjoy the full nutritional benefits. For example, Vitamin K is found in dark leafy greens like broccoli and spinach, and is excellent for reducing inflammation.

2.  Add in lots of Alkaline foods

In addition to fruits and vegetables, nuts and legumes are also alkaline foods that can help balance your pH and reduce acidity. While being mindful of your body’s pH, you might be wonder about the impact of acidic foods, like tomatoes or citrus, and how they affect inflammation. Surprisingly these foods don’t create acidity in the body. Instead they may actually help to restore your pH balance. Even apple cider vinegar is alkaline-forming (however, other vinegars are not).

3.  Fish & Plant Proteins

Believe it or not, most high protein foods, like meat, can actually be acid forming. In this case, plant proteins, such as almonds and beans, are great alternatives to reduce acidity and inflammation.

Need your meat? Then eat more fish. Fish oils, as well as other foods rich in healthy fats like omega 3, are proven to have a variety of health benefits, including significant anti-inflammatory effects.

Fish is also a great source of Vitamin D. Vitamin D deficiency has been associated with a wide range of inflammatory conditions.

4.  Antioxidant-Rich Foods

Those susceptible to chronic inflammation may also benefit from supplementing their diets with food sources that contain bioactive molecules. For example, curcumin is the compound found in turmeric root that gives curry its bright yellow color. A powerful antioxidant, curcumin’s ability to reduce brain inflammation has been shown to be beneficial on both Alzheimer’s disease and major depression. Curcumin has been shown to not only prevent memory problems from worsening, but also to improve them.

Complement your curry with a little watercress salad on the side, including pears, dill weed, onion and chives – all sources of the antioxidant known as isorhamnetin.

Add a little red wine and some berries for dessert, which are rich in resveratrol, and you’ve got yourself an anti-inflammatory party. Resveratrol is an antioxidant produced by certain plants in response to injury or when under attack by bacteria or fungi. This is what makes dark-coloured grapes and berries such excellent health boosters for your body.

And of course, you can’t forget the dark chocolate! The flavonoids found in cacao are extremely potent antioxidants and anti-inflammatory agents, which are great for your brain and your heart. New research also shows that consuming dark chocolate with a high concentration of cacao (minimum 70% with 30% organic cane sugar) has a positive effect on stress levels and inflammation, while also improving your memory, immunity and mood. You read that right – chocolate really is good for you (but make sure it’s good quality and that you are not over doing it).

5.  Going Beyond Diet- get your stress in check!

While diet definitely plays a role, stress is also a major contributor to inflammation in the body. Stress can be triggered by lack of sleep, lifestyle changes, or any other number of factors. Getting a good night’s rest and making time to meditate or practice other stress-reducing activities, like yoga or Tai chi, are also very effective ways to promote good health and reduce inflammation.

All it takes is a few conscious decisions about your diet and lifestyle and you are on your way to a healthier you.

Are you dealing with chronic health issues triggered by inflammation? Do you still have more questions about how you can make greater changes towards a pain-free life? Do you want a customized approach to managing inflammation and preventing disease? Please feel free to contact us, and we can find your best solutions together. Call or email us at 416-207-9395.

To your best health!

The Life Force Physio Team