Four Ways to Boost Your Family’s Activity Level

by Don Zabloski

When it comes to being active as a family, there is no one-size-fits-all strategy. Every family is unique and will make active choices that work for them. Some families may thrive on friendly competition, while others prefer not to keep score. One family may choose to devote themselves to a beloved sport, while another finds that they thrive in a variety of activities. Here are some active suggestions to try on for size with your team.

1. Tackle a new challenge
Trying something completely new can be energizing. It could be learning to cross-country ski on a nature trail or working up the courage to jump off the diving board at the community pool. Brainstorm activities you’ve never tried but always wanted to—how about bowling, archery, mini-golf or trampolining? Spend a weekend afternoon at the local recreation centre as a family, experiencing all that it has to offer for adults and kids alike. Or, head outside to the local park for a walk, run, hike or scavenger hunt. Continue reading “Four Ways to Boost Your Family’s Activity Level”

What Runners Should Know About the Air Quality Health Index

by Sarah Gutenberg, BSc (Pharm), CRE, CTE

As committed running enthusiasts, we can all agree with Sting on the importance of “Every Breath You Take.” Having an efficient set of lungs is essential to supply oxygen to our circulatory system and muscles, and to enhance our individual performance over time. Unfortunately, we cannot always be sure that the air we breathe is clean and free of pollutants that may seriously impede our lungs’ ability to absorb oxygen. Continue reading “What Runners Should Know About the Air Quality Health Index”

Why It’s Better to Over-Fuel Than Under-Fuel

by Megan Kuikman, RD

Most athletes are concerned about how nutrition can help them recover faster, perform better or reach an ideal body composition. However, adequate calorie intake should be a main focus for all athletes, as the negative consequences of under-fuelling can be more detrimental than over-fuelling.

Under-fuelling means not eating enough calories to cover the calories burned through exercise, plus the calories to simply get through the day. Energy from calories is required for the heart to beat, for the lungs to breathe and for the brain to think. Even if a person was to sleep all day, they would still require calories. If not enough calories are consumed, there are metabolic and hormonal changes that occur (in both females and males) that are detrimental to one’s health. Continue reading “Why It’s Better to Over-Fuel Than Under-Fuel”

Are smoothies a healthy option for the whole family?

by Tara Postnikoff

Smoothies are an amazing way to get a lot of nutrition in a convenient and tasty way. They can be customized to suit your mood, tastes and nutritional needs. They are great for breakfast, a quick meal, or as a pre or post run snack. The most common concern with smoothies–the homemade versions and especially the store-bought ones–is the high sugar content.

One way to boost the nutritional content of your smoothie is to add protein powder, as well as some additional ingredients to make it a balanced meal. This can make it easier to boost your protein levels throughout the day if you are not getting enough from real foods. However, it is important to know that protein powders are a processed form of protein and should be considered a supplement to the diet; in other words, you should not get all your protein from a powder. Continue reading “Are smoothies a healthy option for the whole family?”

Coconut Oil: Should You Switch?

by Jen Rawson, RD

For a long time, olive oil was king of the cooking oils. Due to its widespread use in the Mediterranean diet (largely regarded as one of the healthiest eating patterns), it quickly became “the” oil to use in cooking. But in the past few years, our views on fats have changed. Suddenly, butter is back, along with highly-touted products like avocado oil, sunflower oil, flaxseed oil and grapeseed oil. But no oil saw as much hype as coconut oil, with claims to reduce weight and waist circumference, strengthen the immune system, give you glowing skin, and even prevent Alzheimer’s disease. So, is coconut oil the miracle cure it’s claimed to be, or has the media buzz overshadowed the science?

Continue reading “Coconut Oil: Should You Switch?”

Peanut Butter Cheesecake Truffles

by Charmaine Broughton

Maybe you’d like to create a homemade gift from the kitchen. Or, maybe you’re like me and are thinking: I just ran 10K in two feet of snow – I deserve a sweet treat! Either way, I’ve got you covered with this delicious recipe from the Peanut Bureau of Canada. Peanuts are loaded with fibre and plant protein, plus they contain heart-healthy fats.

Addictive, decadent and perfect for sharing. These delicious, melt-in-your-mouth cheesecake truffles are a perfect treat for your loved ones or yourself! Continue reading “Peanut Butter Cheesecake Truffles”

Let’s Get the Kids Running

by Randy Brookes

There’s no question that physical activity is crucial for children. Not only does it strengthen a child’s muscles and bones, and prevent excessive weight gain, but it also improves brain function and helps maintain emotional and mental wellbeing.

Yet, the latest findings of the ParticipACTION Report Card on Physical Activity for Children and Youth gave Canadian kids a grade of D+ for their overall level of physical activity. Researchers concluded that only 35% of children ages of 5 to 17 are getting the recommended physical activity levels for their age groups. This pattern of inactivity is having dire consequences, with Statistics Canada noting that 30% of 5 to 17 year olds are overweight or obese, putting them at a higher risk of asthma, Type 2 diabetes and heart disease. Continue reading “Let’s Get the Kids Running”

Taking Stock

by Don Zabloski

The start of a new year naturally leads to reflecting on past accomplishments and setting goals for the year ahead. As a family, it can be a good time to celebrate things that are going well—and possibly press the “reset” button to correct any habits that may have slipped. For example, are all family members making a consistent effort be active and healthy? And, does everyone understand why it’s important to make that commitment?

As with all things, parents need to model positive behaviours and attitudes about healthy and active living. Of course, you have to take care of yourself before you can expect to take care of others. What will you do—or what are you already doing—to renew your physical and mental health? Continue reading “Taking Stock”

Ankle Sprains

with Dr. Richard Beauchamp M.D., FRCSC

An ankle sprain refers to an acute or sudden injury that results in tearing of any of the ligaments of the ankle. Ligaments are strong tissues that attach to the adjacent bones of a joint, providing stability and limiting excessive movement. Sprains are usually graded according to the severity of the injury, as follows:

Classification: Grade 1
This refers to a mild stretch of some of the ligament fibres only. The individual is able to initially walk on the ankle without much discomfort. There may be some swelling, but recovery is usually complete in a few days. Continue reading “Ankle Sprains”