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Bubbles
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Summer makes family time easy. With no winter clothes to struggle with you can be out of the house in minutes. Family play will help you bond, get siblings cooperating and create stories to share and laugh about over dinner. When you’re back for a break you want snacks that are quick and easy to eat, like pre-cut veggies, fresh fruit and individual yogurts. Backyard sports: Even a small yard or a narrow driveway can have a basketball net, room to kick the soccer ball around (designate goal posts with paint cans) or a net set-up for badminton and volleyball. It can be fun to have a chalkboard in the garage and keep a tally of your success all summer. Losers buy the ice cream? Water Balloon Tag: No matter how old (or young) you are everyone will love filling a bucket of water balloons.  Then you can play a soggy game of tag, with the person who is “it” tossing the balloons trying to break them on other players (keep it below the belt). Family Olympics: Organize a weekend day to host a “Family Olympics”. Each person can be responsible for one event (or more). You can include anything(…)

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Why Competition is Good for Your Health
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Every year it happens: I toy with the idea of returning to competitive figure skating, even in my 30s. As it turns out, I’m not alone. Although, according to Statistics Canada, only six percent of adults are actively involved in competitive sports on a regular basis, there are many of us who use an event, like a marathon, competition or race, to motivate us with our fitness goals. Every year, hundreds of thousands of Canadians gear up for competitive events in every thing from body building to dancing to dragon boat racing, all for the love of fitness and pushing ourselves to another level, both physically and mentally. Because of sports, from a young age, I learned to do things like cope with stress, be disciplined, eat nutritiously, get plenty of sleep and I also learned the limits of what my body could do—jumps, spins, falling down, etc. All of that knowledge added up to a healthy dose of confidence as I got older, especially when it came to teaching fitness for a living in my 20s. For my friend, Matt, an avid cyclist, it’s the annual Ride to Conquer Cancer that gives him the motivation to train hard on(…)

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Picnic Season Extends To Fall
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Fall is enticing with its bright colours, earthy smells and just enough chill to require the cozy sweater you’ve been craving. It’s also a great time to get outside and have a picnic. Here are some menu ideas that keep taste and cholesterol count in mind: Appetizers: healthy dips like homemade low-fat hummus or low-fat bean dip with whole-wheat pita cucumbers are in season, serve with low-fat yogurt and chive dip Mains: mix up some canned salmon with plain yogurt and fresh dill and roll into a whole wheat wrap pre-bake chicken breasts , slice and create gourmet sandwiches with mustard, low-fat mayo and arugula tomatoes are ripe into the fall—slice and toss with a white wine vinegar and drizzle of olive oil (serve in plastic drinking cups) for a veggie main course, spread low-fat chevre to a whole wheat baguette and top with roasted red peppers Snacks combine plain popcorn, toasted pumpkin seeds and unsweetened dried cranberries for a heart-healthy trail mix Desserts bring skim-milk cheese to serve with seasonal apples, pears or figs share a couple squares of good quality, dark chocolate In between courses goof around while getting in some heart-healthy exercise. Try leg wrestling. Two people(…)

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Teaching your kids about heart health gives them some tool for healthy living
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If parents start to teach kids and teens about the importance of heart health from a young age these lessons become part of their day-to-day living. Studies published by the American Heart Association’s journal, Circulation found that kids who ate fruits and most specifically vegetables had healthier arteries in adulthood. So how do you instil these good habits? Leading by example and serving them heart healthy foods is the easiest way. Make sure you include fruits and veggies into your daily life—carrot sticks as a snack, a side of veggies with meals and orange wedges with breakfast. You also want your kids understand what the heart does and why we need to feed it with healthy food. If children are able to connect cause and effect they will be more likely to make the right decisions—by eating well and staying active. You can talk about blood cholesterol and explain what it does by using two straws with different diameters (a small one and a bigger one) to suck up water. Tell your kids that certain less healthy foods make it harder for blood to flow back and forth from the heart. Make the learning fun. For younger kids print a(…)

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