Support International Youth Day by getting in on playtime with the brood
The question comes up every Father’s Day: “Dad, when is Kid Day?”
The reply? That’s easy: “Every day is Kid Day!”
Technically, however, that response isn’t accurate. There really IS a Kid Day! Since 1999, the United Nations has designated Aug. 12 as International Youth Day. But that’s not the point, is it? The point is that children play all day while the grown-ups work hard to pay the bills!
Case closed? Not quite. Active play time, it turns out, is vitally important to the health and wellbeing of our children. According to the Canadian Paediatric Society, physical inactivity and obesity are growing problems in Canada, with as many as 26 per cent of children and youth being overweight and obese. These kids face a higher risk of chronic disease, and may not grow up to be as healthy as they could be.
International Youth Day is also sounding the alarm, with this year’s theme being “Safe Spaces for Youth.” Leisure activities, the UN points out, are “essential to the psychological, cognitive (this is stuff like: construction of thought processes, problem solving and decision making) and physical development of young people.”
Every dad wants the best for his children, and there’s plenty dads can do to promote active play.
Structured vs. unstructured play
In general there are two types of play: Structured, which helps kids learn fundamental movement skills through adult instruction; and unstructured, which is spontaneously directed by children themselves. Balancing both types is important, so what’s a dad to do?
Get in on the structured-play action!
Signing the kids up for soccer camps, gymnastics classes and other types of structured play will do the trick, but the costs can add up in a hurry. So why not take the lead yourself? From pick-up road hockey and lake swimming to family hikes and bike rides, there are plenty of free ways to get active with the brood. It’ll do them — and you — some good!
Pick your spots for unstructured play
Many of the best places for structured play — parks, sandy beaches and nature trails — are also ideal for letting the kids do their thing without you. So sit back and relax as they clamber over rocks, climb trees and wear themselves out playing tag.
Great job dad, you’ve earned a break, after all, by helping to make yet another “Kid Day” active and healthy!
Think satisfying your cravings derails healthy eating? Think again!
It’s the kind of question Captain Obvious would ask: Why are there so many commercials for pizza during CFL broadcasts?
The obvious answer: Because pizza goes so well with watching the big game on TV!
Now, here’s something that isn’t quite as obvious: A few cheesy slices can help you lose weight.
Go ahead: Treat yourself
Believe it or not, research suggests that treating yourself once in a while — say, when the big game is on — helps you stick to a healthy eating plan. Controlling cravings isn’t easy, after all, and if you never satisfy those cravings it can be tempting to bail out completely. You’re only human, right?
But if game day also happens to be pizza day, you’ll know a well-earned reward is just around the corner — and that will make rest of the week that much easier.
So when those pizza commercials follow a touchdown or timeout, there’s no need to change the channel or cover your eyes like you’re watching Friday the 13th. Simply smile, reach for a slice, and reward yourself for staying strong!
More pizza pointers
Reaching for a homemade slice is a win-win-win: It tastes better than cardboard frozen pizza, is usually healthier than ordering in, and will save you money to boot. Here’s something else — let’s call it a fourth win — that will make weight loss even easier: A tasty, easy and healthy recipe for grilled barbecue chicken pizza you can prepare before the big game or at halftime. Football, pizza, barbecues…who could ask for anything more?
You can’t rock the beach, barbecue or dock if you overdo it
In Canada, summer is the season of giving.
Not gift-giving, of course, but giving it. You know: Playing hard on the beach, at the park, around the barbecue, on the dock, you know the drill. In summer, Canadians just like to giv’r!
Overdoing it spoils the fun
Going all out in the hot sun can easily lead to overexertion and, in turn, a range of health issues such as fatigue, low blood sugar, and dehydration. That’s why it’s so important to recognize and respect your body’s limits. After all, you can’t giv’r like a champ if you don’t take regular breaks, get enough sleep at night, eat enough food throughout the day, and drink plenty of water and other fluids.
Playing hard goes hand-in-hand with working hard — as the old saying goes — and here again guys should listen to what their bodies tell them. Overexertion or strenuous movement and falls, it turns out, account for nearly half of occupational injuries reported to the Canadian Community Health Survey.
So go ahead and go for it this summer, but be smart about how you do it. After all, come fall, you may want to giv’r then, too…
Dropping just a few pounds improves everything from sleep to sex
What springs to mind when you hear the words “Big 3?” NBA fans might think of Larry Bird, Kevin McHale and Robert Parish. Car buffs could point to Ford, GMC and Chrysler, while millions of Canadian cellphone subscribers might shudder and say Bell, Rogers, and Telus.
But there’s another Big 3 that, unlike your wireless provider, may actually reduce your monthly bills. Which awesome Big 3 is this?
Your sex drive is affected by high blood pressure and other conditions that you’re likely to have if you’re overweight. Additionally, erectile dysfunction can be a problem for obese and overweight men. Plus, the people you have sex with will be all over a fitter, firmer partner. Need we say more?
You’re feeling great, you’re getting some, so why not stick around to enjoy it? Dropping pounds lowers the risk of life-shortening conditions such as heart attacks and sleep apnea, a sleeping condition in which your breathing starts and stops but seems to you like heavy snoring.
If you’re thinking about fitting easy exercise into your day, we’ve got your back.
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You’ll never guess how many calories are in some of those $7 blended coffee drinks. Believe it or not, you’d have to eat more than three Boston Cream doughnuts to match the thousand-plus calories in some over-sweetened and cream-heavy blended beverages. That’s nearly half the recommended daily calorie intake for guys — in one drink!
At the other end of the spectrum is black coffee, which has next to no calories. But as the frappuccinos of the world show, that number jumps quickly when we start adding cream, sugar and syrups.
Thing is, you can savour coffee without adding to your waistline and without having to take it black. Here’s how:
There are plenty of tasty ways besides cream and sugar to add flavour to coffee and cut through its bitterness. Take cinnamon and cocoa: Add a teaspoon of either, and the comforting flavours of hot apple cider and hot chocolate will stimulate your senses.
These low-calorie additives yield other health benefits. Cinnamon has been linked to lower blood-sugar levels — good news for guys with Type 2 Diabetes — while cocoa lowers the risk of heart disease and cancer.
Reach for the light roasts
Dark-roast brews are everywhere these days, but their lighter-roast rivals require much less cream and sugar to curb bitterness and cover up any burnt taste. Plus, research shows that lighter roasts protect the body against cell damage and inflammation better than their darker counterparts.
Eat before you sip
Because the body releases insulin in response to caffeine, drinking coffee can cause a drop in blood sugar. This can leave you feeling tired and hungry before your day even begins, and may induce you to drink more coffee and snack on junk food. The solution: Eat a quick, healthy and easy-to-prepare breakfast — such as this — before your morning cup of joe.