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Are you working too hard for your health?

Do you ever feel depressed because all you ever seem to do is work and you rarely have leisure time to spend with your friends or family?

Do you regularly feel tired from working so much that you basically just come home and collapse, eat comfort food and watch TV because it requires the least amount of work?

Do you often agonize over the balance between life and work?

Does your family have heart disease, diabetes, and/or a history of Alzheimer's in your family members who also worked long hours every day?

About a century ago it was common for factory workers to be working 10, 12 or even 14 hour shifts. The 8-hour work day only became a reality during the 1930s when there was so many unemployed people that factories were under pressure to spread the number of hours out amongst a greater number of employees.

Following that success various organizations pushed for a 4-hour or 6-hour work day, but those movements never amounted to anything beyond some interesting cartoons about the economy during the 1930s.

Around the same time such organizations involved in the US Labor Movement, primarily the IWW (Industrial Workers of the World), were also pushing for a 4-day work week and other such interesting ideas that never took hold.

If you answered yes to a bunch of the questions at the top, you probably are feeling pretty overworked yourself - or your family has a history of working too hard too. However ask yourself, did working that hard increase the quality of life for you or your family?

Given the choice which do you value more, leisure time or having more money?

Well lets try to answer that question using MATH.

Lets pretend for a moment that you currently work 8 hours per day, 5 days per week for a total of 40 hours per week. And while we are at it, lets assume you are making $20 per hour - so $800 per week, minus taxes/etc.


Then one day your boss offers you a new option: 6 hours per day, 5 days per week for a total of 30 hours per week. Same pay, but less hours so it would be $600 per week, again minus taxes/etc.

At which point you have to ask yourself, would you prefer to work 40 hours per week and be exhausted after work, have very little leisure time, etc.

Or would you prefer 30 hours per week, 10 hours of extra leisure time, and a pay cut?

According to surveys conducted across Canada, most Canadians say they would take the 30-hour work week and would love to have extra leisure time.

There is a third option too. 8 hour work days, but only a 4 day work week. 32 hours total. This way you get a whole day off for leisure time.

Or even a fourth option. 10 hour work days, but only a 4 day work week. 40 hours total. This way you still get a whole day off for leisure time, but are still managing to work 40 hours per week.

However options 3 and 4 seem to miss the point. Overworking causes health problems, like a 33% higher chance of stroke and a 15% higher chance of heart disease. Other health problems like diabetes and Alzheimer's are also associated with overworking.

Taken together this also means that people who overwork have a much shorter life expectancy. Their risks of stroke, heart attack, heart failure, heart disease and many other ailments are dramatically increased. It is difficult to say how much this effects the longevity of people working long hours, but it is safe to say that people working 50 or more hours per week have an average shorter longevity than people working 40 hours per week or even 30 hours per week.

Here are some more facts for you:

The United States is the only country in the Americas that does NOT have paid parental leave. Canada and other countries in North / South America have an average of 12 weeks of paid parental leave. This effects the physical well being of adults working long hours and their ability to balance work and family.

134 countries in the world have laws setting the maximum number of hours a person can work in a week. The USA is one of the few countries without such a law.

Americans work 137 more hours per year than Japanese workers, 260 more hours per year than British workers, and 499 more hours per year than French workers. (According to the International Labour Organization.)

The USA has no federal law requiring paid sick days.

Most countries in the world have laws requiring workers to have at least 20 paid vacation days.

Many countries also have paid holidays. The USA has zero. Canada has 9 paid holidays.

I could just keep going. There are lots of facts and figures on this topic I could quote. But my purpose here isn't to tell people to work less hours. It is to encourage people to have more leisure time for the sake of their health and to hopefully have less stress. If you truly love your work and it is stress-free, or maybe you even love having a little stress, then maybe it isn't such a big deal that you work so hard.

But for many of you then you have probably already concluded that having more money doesn't make you any happier. Therefore I want to offer 12 steps you can take in an attempt to have less stress, live healthier and ideally also live longer and fuller.

After all, what is the point of working 50+ hours per week every week until you die at the age of 55 because you didn't take good care of your health? Wouldn't it make more to have more leisure time, take care of your health and live to the ripe old age of 95?

12 Steps to Live Longer, Healthier and More Stress-Free

#1. Do something every day that doesn't cost you any money and yet makes you happy. It might be spending time with your kids, taking the dog for a walk, or going for a nature walk with a friend.

#2. It is okay to ask your boss for less hours at work. The worst they can do is say no. They can't fire you for asking for less hours (because if they did, that would be grounds for a lawsuit).

#3. Remember to use your paid vacation time and/or sick days if you have them. Don't bother saving them up because otherwise you probably won't get to use them at all.

#4. If your work place has the option to do so, asking to work from home might be a good solution for you. Saves on travel time and most companies report higher productivity from people who work from home.

#5. If you have a baby and want to take some time off to spend time with your newborn, it is okay to do so. You might even wish to take extra time off which is unpaid, and that is okay too.

#6. If you somehow suggested to your boss that your entire company switch to a 6 hour work day (possibly with shifts from 9 to 3 and from 3 to 9) that would be just plain awesome. Your whole company, including your boss, would benefit and live longer/be happier as a result.

#7. Take siestas or naps if you get a chance. People who take naps in the afternoon live longer, have less weight problems and have less mental health problems.

#8. Pick a sport or activity you think you could still be doing into your old age and then do it regularly. eg. Dancing is a good activity for both young and old.

#9. When you feel overworked don't go straight for the junk food when you get home. Take your time and make something nutritious instead. The junk food may make you feel happier temporarily, but it is not good for your health or your long term happiness.

#10. Exercise regularly. You don't have to do it constantly, but you should make an effort to at least be doing something that gets your heart rate going. For best results pick exercises or sports that you enjoy doing and makes you happy.

#11. Work towards finding a job where you work less hours, have less stress and feel happier about yourself. Working just to pay the bills may keep bread on the table, but your long term happiness should be the primary goal.

#12. Be creative in how you spend your leisure time. Try new things. Avoid doing the same thing all the time, especially if it is something that doesn't actually bring you happiness.


PERSONAL NOTE

I am reducing my work hours in 2016. Last month I started reducing the amount of hours I am currently working. I currently have an abundance of clients and have raised my rates twice in the last year.

My goal in 2016 is to be working 4.5 to 6 hours per day and only 4 days per week. I estimate I will be working approx. 22.5 hours per week. That may not seem like much, but when you consider I *currently* charge $50 per hour for personal training I would still be doing quite well.

As is normal for personal trainers, not every time slot gets filled so the total number of hours I will be working from week to week may vary dramatically, but ideally this will mean more time for me to focus on leisure activities... things like fishing, working on my skills in the kitchen, and woodworking. While still managing to help my clients achieve their fitness goals.

* I may be raising my personal training rate in 2016 significantly.

Arrow Fletching - Kinds and Shapes

There are many different kinds of feather fletching used in archery for arrows. Three of the most commonly used fletching shapes are:

Parabolic Fletch

Shield Fletch

Traditional Fletch

Banana, Low Banana, T-Hawk, Pope + Young and Swift Fletches are less commonly used, but the various shapes have different advantages and disadvantages when it comes to physics and the accuracy of the arrow.

Fletching in general is used to improve the accuracy of the arrow's flight by providing drag that will keep the arrow flying straight, but too much fletching can cause the arrow to behave more sluggishly and fly slowly, which decreases accuracy.

So for example "Swift Fletching" is designed to let the arrow go really fast, but what it loses is some of its accuracy as there is so little actual fletch doing the job of keeping the arrow flying straight.

Another problem with too much fletching is that it can cause the arrow to be effected by the wind more, whereas various smaller designs of fletching will be effected by the wind less - but loses accuracy due to less drag keeping the arrow straight, thus depending on wind conditions it is better to shoot a small-size fletch arrow during high wind and a medium-size fletch when it is not windy.

Large or very large fletching has a role too. Large fletch arrows - sometimes called "Flu Flu Arrows" are commonly used for hunting small game (rabbits, birds, etc) because they are easier to find in wooded areas. Losing the arrow is less likely when the fletch is so large and easier to spot. Because larger fletch arrows also fly slower, it makes it easier for the human eye to track where exactly the arrow went and the archer has a clearer idea of its trajectory.


Often fletching is really a matter of personal preference, as some archers prefer to make their own arrows and do their own fletching. This means there can sometimes be some pretty exotic styles of fletching available.

The person below evidently enjoys very large fletching made from peacock tail feathers.


The fletching below was given an extra individual touch by having extra wisps at the front.


And the one below went green by using Holly leaves glued onto the shaft.


There are lots of options to explore, not just with different kinds of fletching but also in decorating your arrows. Note the painted decorative shafts below.


Happy fletching and shooting!

12 Ways to Enjoy Healthy Living while visiting Toronto

Hello Toronto and tourists visiting Toronto!

Here are a list of 12 healthy ways to have fun in Toronto. Enjoy!

#1. Summer? Go swimming at one of Toronto's many Blue Flag rated beaches. Or visit some of the local pools operated by Toronto Parks and Rec. Or better yet, go to Canada's Wonderland and hang out in the Splash Works all day long - swim all day and go on the water slides.

#2. While you are at the beach you can also do exercises, yoga, go jogging, take the dog for a walk - for those people who take their dog on vacation with them! For those who want more competition, have a beach volleyball game.

#3. Autumn? Go hiking. Now is a good time of year to visit one of Ontario's many waterfalls, especially in the Hamilton / Niagara area. Hike to Hilton Falls near Milton, Ontario - take the dog with you and your camera, because the trees at Hilton Falls during the Autumn will be incredibly beautiful. The hike to Hilton Falls from the parking lot is about 20 to 40 minutes depending on what route you take.

#4. Another great thing to do at Hilton Falls is bring your bicycle. The park has lots of bicycle trails you can use. Toronto and the surrounding area has literally hundreds of bicycle trails for you to choose from.


#5. Join a 5K run. Toronto has many marathons, half marathons, 10Ks 5Ks and other running events for amateur runners. During Spring and Summer there are sometimes 15 or more events each month. Consult http://www.runguides.com/toronto/runs to learn more about different events happening in Toronto.

#6. Winter? Lace your skates up and visit one of Toronto's many public ice rinks. My favourite to go to is the rink in front of the Toronto City Hall - I find they use the zamboni more frequently there and it keeps the ice in better condition, and that rink has multiple options nearby for hot beverages.

#7. Archery Lessons - Learn how to shoot properly with an experienced instructor. Contact me to sign up for archery lessons in Toronto. I even teach archery during the Winter, so if you are curious to learn more about Winter Archery Lessons please contact me.

#8. Archery Tag - Shoot arrows at your friends or friendly strangers at an archery tag event. Hint - It helps if you already know how to shoot properly. Visit ArcheryToronto.ca to learn more about archery tag locations in the GTA.

#9. Join a Meetup group for a sporting activity on Meetup.com. Nobody cares if you are not a local, they only care if you show up to the event. eg. http://www.meetup.com/torontosports/ has everything from indoor volleyball, badminton and a range of other activities to do.

#10. Tennis and Golf. Now I personally hate golf - I see it as a sport for people who like to sit in a cart and follow their balls around. But tennis on the other hand takes a lot of energy to do and I respect that. Regardless, Toronto has many tennis clubs and golf clubs to choose from, so if you bring your racket or golf clubs with you on vacation, Toronto has lots of options for you to choose from.

Note - So far I have only been listing exercises for things to do in Toronto. These last two are food based options.

#11. Take a cooking class. BlogTO and Groupon have lists of cooking classes you can choose from, many of which are about healthy cooking, vegan cooking, etc. So while you might not normally think of doing that while on vacation, it is still a fun option to consider. Toronto has literally hundreds of places that teach cooking. I know of one where their primary goal is actually religion and they offer vegan cooking lessons for a donation. That is pretty reasonable when you think about it, so if you don't mind people chanting Hare Krishna that is certainly an interesting option. (Those Hare Krishna people are really huggable and nice.)

#12. Go for a walk and window shop many of Toronto's fine restaurants until you find one that looks both interesting and healthy. Depending on the neighbourhood you are in this is harder than you would think. Some neighbourhoods have only restaurants that serve unhealthy / greasy food. But if you pick a good neighbourhood with lots of options you can not only work up an appetite with your walk, but once you pick a favourite to try you can walk back to that option and see just how good their food really is. If you want to speed up the process the neighbourhoods I recommend are:

East Danforth
Queen West, west of Bathurst
Eglinton West, west of Yonge
Yonge Street, north of Mount Pleasant
Queen Street East, north of Beaches
Toronto's Vegan Village (Bloor Street West, north of High Park, and the surrounding area)
Kensington Market

There are more, but these will get you started. Happy walking and eat healthy!

Age Requirements for Archery Lessons Updated - 2016 and Beyond

Earlier this Summer I began contemplating changing my minimum age requirements for archery lessons. Previously they had been a minimum of age 10 or higher, but as of 2016 I will no longer be accepting students younger than 15 and maintaining a minimum age requirement of 16.

Why the change you may ask?

Multiple reasons...

#1. Lack of attention span. This is more common with teenagers, 13 to 15, in my opinion. Often teenagers in this age group just want to try archery and once they've tried it they either love it or they begin to lose interest. If they lose interest their attention span goes out the window and it is a bit like teaching someone who isn't even listening. "Failure to listen" has basically become a pet peeve of mine when teaching teenagers who just don't want to listen.

#2. Lack of emotional maturity. I find this is more of a problem for kids ages 10 to 13 and I have to be extra watchful of what they are doing to make sure they don't do something unsafe. I have the same concern for kids under the age of 10 too, which is why I previously set the standard of minimum age 10.

#3. Youthful Stubbornness. I wish there was a better way to describe this. I have on occasion encountered teenagers who not only refuse to listen, but just outright ignore the instructor and do what they think is right - and is ultimately wrong judging by their arrows flying right over the top of the target and have to coax them to shoot and aim properly, however no amount of coaxing will work if they are so stubborn that all my efforts are basically an exercise in futility. I encountered one such student in 2014 that was so stubborn I became suspicious that they might have a learning disability that caused them to refuse to listen to instructions. To this day I am unsure which it was as they seemed intelligent, but were so stubbornly opposed to listening / following instructions.

#4. Parents lying about their kid's age. Because I had previously set the standard minimum age of 10 I am pretty sure some parents were lying about their kids age so they could get their 8 or 9 year old archery lessons. Parents claiming that their kid is "small for their age" for example makes me worried they are just plain lying to me, and the behaviour of their kids often reveal their true maturity.

#5. I am not a babysitter. Parents have sometimes been known to sign their kids up for archery lessons and then disappear during the 90 minutes I am teaching, ignoring my request that they stay present at all times during the lesson. I require parents to stay present in case the kid has any health issues (allergic reactions, asthma, etc) and also so that their kid behaves themselves, thus reducing the chance that they might misbehave in a manner which is unsafe on the archery range.

By increasing my minimum age requirement to 16 I am guaranteed to get more mature students who have longer attention spans, more emotional maturity, less likely to refuse to listen due to youthful stubbornness, a significantly higher age that parents will be less likely to lie about their kids age, and lastly because they are at least 16 years old I don't feel like I am babysitting a kid any more.

Now in theory it is still possible that parents might try to lie about their 15 year old's age and claim they are 16, but I would hope that parents don't try to deceive me in that manner. If they did and I discovered the falsehood I believe cancelling the lessons (with no refund) would be an appropriate punishment for such deceit.

I should note that there are many kids I have taught in the past who listened, were very attentive, very safety conscious and their parents were equally responsible and took an interest in what their kid was learning - sometimes even developing a keen interest for having lessons themselves. It pains me that I have to change my rules / requirements, but sadly some bad eggs have spoiled it for other potential students.

As your kids get older contact me about getting them archery lessons for their 16th birthday. Have a great day!

Above - Jeff and Austin, father and son, admire a shot at 60 yards that went half way through the target.

What kind of bow should I purchase?

Q

"Hello! I am 5'8" tall and 180 lbs (a little chubby as I like to say). What kind of bow should I purchase since I am a beginner and new to archery? I am thinking recurve, but can you recommend a brand and how many pounds?

Also what other equipment should I get?"

- J.T. Turner.

A

I would recommend you get a 25 lb Samick Sage. You can get one at Tent City in North York, Basically Bows on Queen Street East or Bass Pro in Vaughan - prices vary by location, the most economical option is Tent City. There are other brands you could try, by the Samick Sage has very good reviews and is readily available. It was even recently shown on the cover of Ontario Out of Doors magazine.

Make sure you do the eye dominance test first so you know whether you should be getting a right handed or left handed bow.

I have an older post on this same topic you should read:

What is a good bow for an archery beginner?
Regarding other equipment you will need I recommend the following:

12 arrows with removable screw-in arrowheads. Do NOT get the glued-in arrowheads, they break too easily and once broken the whole arrow is basically garbage. If a screw-in arrowhead breaks, you unscrew it and then just screw in a new one. Note - 12 is a good number to start with.

Bowstringer so you can easily string your bow and not twist/damage the limbs of your bow using the leg method (which is meant for longbows, not for recurves).

Spare Bow String. In case your bow string ever breaks in the future, it is nice to have a spare.

Spring Loaded Arrow Rest
Arrow Rest. The Samick Sage is nice because it can be fitted with a traditional fur arrow rest, a cheap glue-on arrow rest or a more modern mechanical arrow rest. For beginners I recommend either the fur arrow rests or a spring loaded mechanical arrow rest like the one on the right. I am not a fan of the cheap plastic arrow rests because they break too easily.

For more advanced archers I recommend the Cavalier Super Flyte Arrow Rest (shown below). I find it is more accurate than many other styles of arrow rests, but it is a bit annoying to use because if you squeeze the arrow between your fingers then it slides off the arrow rest very easily. It is super accurate, but very annoying for beginners who tend to squeeze/bump the arrow too much.



Brass Nock Bead(s). Most people only use one nock bead, but sometimes people use two. When using one it goes above the arrow when nocked to prevent "stringwalking" up and down the bow string. Some people prefer to use two nock beads so the arrow cannot slide either up or down. Make sure the nock bead is installed properly, so when in doubt get an archery instructor or the sales rep in the store to do it for you.

Brass Nock Beads

Archery Finger Glove. I recommend Neet. I have reviewed many different archery finger gloves, tabs and mechanical releases (for compound shooters) but when it comes to finger gloves the company I find works best is Neet.

Neet Archery Finger Glove
Overall expect to be spending $300 to $400 on everything. Getting a quiver is optional. I personally find quivers annoying.
Looking to sign up for archery lessons, boxing lessons, swimming lessons, ice skating lessons or personal training sessions? Start by emailing cardiotrek@gmail.com and lets talk fitness!

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