Play for your brain’s sake

About Janet Omstead

To re-ignite people’s passion for play (movement) to fight chronic disease while improving their quality of life as they age.
29 01, 2021

Play for your brain’s sake

By |2021-02-10T14:18:14+00:00January 29th, 2021|

October 20th, 2019, was a very emotional day in our lives.   Our daughter ran her first 1/2 marathon at 24 years old.   While this is a significant accomplishment for anyone, it was particularly poignant for her. Five years to that day, she had gone to the emergency room for a mental health crisis.   After suffering for [...]

22 01, 2021

This is your wake-up call

By |2021-01-22T12:35:14+00:00January 22nd, 2021|

With the pandemic, we've all be through nothing short of a collective wake-up call. When life gets crazy and responsibilities at home and work pile on one top of the other, it's easy to let our health and fitness slip. Now, more than ever, people appreciate just how much our physical and mental health is the most precious resources we own.

15 01, 2021

How to reframe exercise as play

By |2021-01-15T12:45:51+00:00January 15th, 2021|

I genuinely see play as a habit that anyone can do regardless of confidence, fitness level, or social status to help manage their health. How? Much like free play, the instructions for exercise are not "rules" set in stone. They are guidelines - a suggestive framework for being your healthiest - that you can adapt to make your own. 

8 01, 2021

The power of data for better health

By |2021-02-10T14:19:29+00:00January 8th, 2021|

If you're ready to make some changes to the way you exercise, eat or manage stress, here's a pro tip: find someone who can help you keep accountable and push you outside of your comfort zone. I did with Project PR and WHOOP. Not only was the challenge fun, but it proved to me the power of data for better health.

1 01, 2021

How to pick just ONE new healthy habit in 2021

By |2021-02-10T14:20:01+00:00January 1st, 2021|

If you haven't been able to make your health a priority, I could certainly tell you why I think you need to make a change. But is that going to motivate you actually to make a change? Probably not. The truth is that mastering change has to start with the right mindset, and focusing on less will get you more sustainable results in the long run. Why not pick just ONE new habit for 2021?

11 12, 2020

How to find joy again

By |2020-12-11T02:47:13+00:00December 11th, 2020|

If exercise is a keystone habit for a healthier life, I want to show you easy it is to implement play as a lifelong adventure!  Everything you need to move more is right outside, or even inside, your front door: stairs, rocks, benches, trees, fences, sidewalks, parking lots, green spaces - they are all functional movement spaces.  Yes, you can find joy again! Helping you recapture that "feel good" sentiment is what I'm here to do.  Have fun, feel good, and improve your health!

4 12, 2020

5 ways to make healthy changes that stick

By |2020-12-04T01:35:44+00:00December 4th, 2020|

This year, 2020, brought on many unexpected changes to our lives because of a pandemic. Planning was hard.  And maybe your health and wellness objectives got put on the back burner so that you could cope with the day-to-day challenges of life.  While many would like to see 2020 in the rearview mirror, why not take time now to plan for the year ahead?

20 11, 2020

Be Dutch and “Speel!”

By |2020-11-20T03:50:31+00:00November 20th, 2020|

You might not know this, but as ex-pats, in the late 90's we learned that it rains A LOT in Holland.  The Dutch don't mind at all - they don't live to work; they work to live and "Speel" (play). They especially love to bike. We quickly learned that even though you can't control the weather, you can control how much you play. 

13 11, 2020

Go ahead, give yourself a “time-out”!

By |2020-11-13T12:03:53+00:00November 13th, 2020|

When people can't find the time in their busy lives to increase their movement, I suggest they go ahead and give themselves "time-out." It is possible to keep fit without gyms, and it's time people started to shift their mindset around exercise because COVID isn't going anywhere for a while (yay to the vaccine announcement though this week!)

6 11, 2020

Slow and steady wins the race

By |2020-11-06T01:09:39+00:00November 6th, 2020|

Why keep strong as you get older? Strength is a crucial component of staying healthy, mobile and flexible as we age. Unless you are regularly playing and strengthening your muscles, you can lose as much as 3 to 5% of your muscle mass each decade after 30.  The adage "use it or lose it" is real - but it doesn't mean it can't be fun!

30 10, 2020

What’s your sleep score?

By |2020-10-29T21:56:39+00:00October 30th, 2020|

Not only does getting the right amount of sleep to improve your ability to recover from physical and emotional stressors, but it also helps keep your brain and body functioning optimally. For me, nothing out there compares with on-demand health monitoring products like WHOOP because behaviour change is at the forefront of what the data feedback gives. Don't allow a lack of sleep to undermine your health and future quality of life.   

23 10, 2020

How can play keep you healthy in a pandemic?

By |2020-10-23T02:47:28+00:00October 23rd, 2020|

Physical inactivity is one of the leading global risk factors for morbidity and premature mortality. And now there is COVID. How can play keep you healthy in a pandemic? People who feel overwhelmed by everything happening in the world can still benefit from even modest activity. Regardless of your age and stage in life, try doing more things that bring you joy — just like when you were a kid. 

9 10, 2020

13 things to give thanks for

By |2020-10-09T00:31:09+00:00October 9th, 2020|

Every year at Thanksgiving, I take a moment to reflect on how grateful I am that my husband, daughter, son, and I are all still here. I didn't realize how vital practicing gratitude was until a few tragic events happened in my life that made me see every day as a gift. Here are, in no particular order, 13 Things I wish for you ALWAYS to Remember at Thanksgiving and beyond.

25 09, 2020

How to manage your health with PLAY

By |2020-09-25T00:59:21+00:00September 25th, 2020|

With so many people working from home and uncertainty at an all-time high, people forget to put their health first.  By implementing the right healthy habits now, the better you will be able to handle the changes in your body in the future and have an even better quality of life as you age.  Movement truly is medicine. Let's play!

18 09, 2020

3 healthy habits to adopt to play like an athlete (even if you are far from one)

By |2020-09-18T01:32:18+00:00September 18th, 2020|

We are all born the same - you, me, and Olympic athletes. Each of us enters into this world with an innate ability to want to move our bodies and to play. Exercise (or play) trains you to be a person of action. Find the way to play that makes you want to take action and have fun!

28 08, 2020

The #1 reason you don’t need a meal plan

By |2022-09-01T16:43:20+00:00August 28th, 2020|

Everyone on this planet has different DNA. Meal plans are not just for our weight and size. Proper nutrition must consider our amount of muscle tissue, activity level, stress levels, quality of sleep, health status and even our body type, our genetics and our past health history. Exercise and nutrition don't need to be complicated. It needs to be consistent.

24 07, 2020

Why does movement (play) matter more now than ever?

By |2020-07-24T02:34:22+00:00July 24th, 2020|

It is a privilege to move our bodies. I have had a front-row seat in my personal life with mental illness, and I can honestly say every effort towards moving a little more equals progress for your mental health.  Your brain and body will thank you, even after COVID is gone.

10 07, 2020

What is the most important investment you can make?

By |2020-07-10T15:26:22+00:00July 10th, 2020|

Your most important investment is REALLY your health and vitality. Yet, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), 1.4 Billion (60 to 85% of the population worldwide) does not engage in the minimum amount of movement to keep healthy, which makes physical inactivity (aka being sedentary) the fourth leading risk factor for global mortality. That's NOT cool. I'm here to change that!

3 07, 2020

What does healthy active ageing look like to you?

By |2020-07-03T15:48:35+00:00July 3rd, 2020|

Canada celebrated its 153rd birthday this week. If a person could live to that age, I wonder what pearls of wisdom they would share? I wonder what dreams got fulfilled and what goals got lost? What would their quality of life be like? I found myself questioning this when I was younger as I watched my [...]

26 06, 2020

The simplest nutritional change everyone can make

By |2020-06-25T19:59:35+00:00June 26th, 2020|

A while ago, I asked this question on my Facebook Page:  What do you think is the simplest, but perhaps not the most obvious, nutritional change everyone can make? It's one of the most commented-on posts I've ever had!   Here were some of the most popular guesses in no particular order: drink more water eat [...]

12 06, 2020

Covids “Silver Lining” Play Book

By |2020-06-12T12:45:25+00:00June 12th, 2020|

Rather than inspiring people to keep active for their physical and mental health, getting and keeping in shape has been turning people off with serious consequences. With more data coming to the surface as global public health agencies navigate through the Covid-19 crisis, it is clear that particular lifestyle habits (smoking, obesity and physical inactivity) increase the risk of being hospitalized. There is a silver lining though!

15 05, 2020

Cultivating mental resiliency

By |2020-05-15T12:20:24+00:00May 15th, 2020|

Did you know that if you do something new for 21 days in a row, you can re-wire your brain to work and think more optimistically and give yourself a much-needed boost of mental resiliency?  After COVID-19, life should not go backwards. Focus on where you can move forward by holding onto the vision of the health you want. Create lasting positive change. 

8 05, 2020

Patience is a virtue

By |2020-05-07T13:31:06+00:00May 8th, 2020|

Yes, we all want COVID-19 to end, and we all want life to go back to "normal." Some estimates are it might take as long as a year to find a stable vaccine that has few side effects. A lot like your health, being impatient for a quick fix by dieting and exercise regimens in the short term, might feel like the right thing to do, except it's not. Respect the process.

24 04, 2020

Living outside of your comfort zone

By |2020-04-23T12:55:35+00:00April 24th, 2020|

I wouldn't be a good coach if I encouraged the people I work with to stick within their limits. When I have clients that are stuck in their health journeys, I really understand their fear of change. What's the worst that can happen? What's the upside? What's the best that can happen? You have to lean into negative feelings to get you to the other side of what you know you deserve.

6 04, 2020

Motivation Mondays – You don’t need to be athletic to move your body!

By |2020-04-24T14:45:37+00:00April 6th, 2020|

You don't need to be athletic to play. When you focus on enjoyment, rather than performance, moving your body becomes more playful and fun. Find something you LOVE to do rather than HAVE to do. You will be amazed at how consistently you'll want to show up. No time like the present to move a little more!

31 03, 2020

Managing High Blood Pressure

By |2021-06-01T01:10:44+00:00March 31st, 2020|

If you don't know your number, it's time to get your blood pressure checked. You can probably recite from memory the lifestyle factors that are recommended for promoting heart health and controlling blood pressure. Regular physical activity and a plant-rich, low-salt diet to managing stress and body weight help in managing high blood pressure. But the [...]

27 03, 2020

Someday things are going to be okay again

By |2020-03-27T13:51:16+00:00March 27th, 2020|

Yes, things suck right now globally on such an unimaginable scale, and they are getting worse before they get better. I'm not saying it hasn't hurt to change our daily routines, but honestly, this is where short term pain means long term gain.  By re-evaluating what matters to you and how you will manage your life when this is all said and done. We all can see that our health is the only thing that truly matters.

23 03, 2020

15 EASY ways to play (exercise) more during the day when you are stuck inside

By |2020-03-23T19:50:34+00:00March 23rd, 2020|

While the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) continues to evolve, no one knows how long we will be at home for, or having to stay inside. Rather than sitting on the couch or surfing the internet, how can you start a routine, or play "habit" where you're moving your body now so that it will pay off for the weeks to come? Here's your chance to do something different than you've done before! Play (exercise) is an incredible opportunity to find joy in life and to engage our mind, body and spirit in the relentless pursuit of happiness. And it's FREE. Why not FaceTime, Zoom, or Google Hangout with friends or family and get moving (at a distance) together?

13 03, 2020

Five ways to get stronger while you wash your hands

By |2020-03-13T11:53:59+00:00March 13th, 2020|

Preventing diseases these days seems complicated. While there are no guarantees in life (each day is a gift), illness and disability are genetically, environmentally, age or lifestyle-related issues that often begin before people know they are affected. When it comes to protecting your health, washing your hands has always been one of the best places to [...]

21 02, 2020

The #1 way to keep motivated to be active as you age

By |2020-02-21T18:36:53+00:00February 21st, 2020|

Having a vision is a crucial component of how you imagine functioning in the future. So many people don't look far enough ahead, and sadly, as we age, unless we work at protecting our health by playing (exercise), eating well and managing stress, our quality of life isn't always guaranteed to be there.  

7 02, 2020

Three Healthy Habits I Learned From My Dog

By |2020-02-07T20:30:33+00:00February 7th, 2020|

Adding healthy habits to your life is easy. Finding creative ways to shape your environment is like adding a silent partner to support your playtime.  For example, putting on Cooper's collar first thing in the morning is a signal that a walk is about to happen.  Likewise, you can put your running shoes by your bed at night as a trigger for your brain to get active first thing in the morning.

24 01, 2020

Happy birthday to me…and you!

By |2020-01-24T03:46:29+00:00January 24th, 2020|

It's my birthday and I want to give you a gift - the gift of motivation to play (or exercise).  I want to give you this today, on my birthday, as a little motivation to connect with someone for your physical and mental health. The world can be your playground and you can fight lifestyle-related diseases at the same time to live a longer, healthier life.

10 01, 2020

How can music help you get fit?

By |2020-01-10T19:08:01+00:00January 10th, 2020|

Look at the whole day as an opportunity to play more, sit less and turn up the music to get fit. The positive effects of heart-pumping movements cause your body to release endorphins naturally - endorphins are your happy and pain-killing hormones - and also improve your circulation because more oxygen is going into your blood. Increasing oxygen decreases stress.

14 12, 2019

5 easy ways your environment can help you improve your health

By |2019-12-14T00:18:22+00:00December 14th, 2019|

As a health coach and personal trainer, I work with a variety of clients and I see first hand the value in investing in healthy habits.  Wouldn’t you rather come at your health as a preventative method rather than reversing an existing problem? “If you don’t make time for your wellness now, you’ll be forced to make time for [...]

6 12, 2019

How to make a health plan

By |2019-12-06T16:03:01+00:00December 6th, 2019|

If you Google "different types of coaching," there are 182,000,000 results. There is a coach for almost anything you need help with – from personal through to career. It's useful having an objective guide to help you make the most of what you envision for your future. "Failing to plan is planning to fail." For example, [...]

21 06, 2019

PLAY your way to better health – The GenWell Project

By |2021-05-31T22:32:14+00:00June 21st, 2019|

As a PLAY expert, I am someone who believes that playing is best done with someone else. You can begin today to PLAY your way to better health! Whether it's a dog walk, a run, a visit to the gym or playing in the local schoolyard, playing is always more fun when you connect with others. [...]

19 06, 2019

Removing one word from my vocabulary changed my life

By |2023-03-21T16:38:31+00:00June 19th, 2019|

I have learned a ton and helped many clients transform their health habits by using the psychology of behaviour change. As a certified health coach, I’m aware of one particular word people use that hurts their ability to live their life to the fullest without guilt. The thought and power of this one word makes people [...]

19 06, 2019

Is the number on the scale truly the golden ticket to total health?

By |2023-03-21T16:37:04+00:00June 19th, 2019|

In an imperfect world, we’ve somehow been taught a “perfect” measurement of health. What is it? The number on the scale. But measuring your weight is just ONE piece of the wellness puzzle. It’s not the full story of your personal measurement “value.” What’s missing? All of the other aspects that impact health, such as physical [...]

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