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When thinking of the term “exercising” we often think of team sports, or something that we can do as an individual, like running. The thought of ‘family’ doesn’t really come to mind, but often our families are where we first learned the basics of exercising. Kicking the soccer ball in the backyard, doing chores around the house, riding a bike or simply going for a walk around the block. These small activities laid the foundation for many of the exercises we continue to do throughout our lives.

Although many of us share memories of doing activities like these growing up, organizations like ParticipACTION are noticing that there is now a drop off in activity by youth. According to their study, only 9% of Canadian kids ages 5 to 11 accumulate the recommended guideline of 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity per day, at least six days a week.

Take steps now to combat this and it will be easier for you and your children to retain a heart-healthy lifestyle over each of your lives. There are many activities that you as a family can do together, and to help provide you with some ideas of fun things to do, we’re sharing 8 of our favorites.

Walk or a Hike

Going for a simple walk around the neighborhood can be a great activity for any age. If you’re looking for something more challenging, organizing a hike with your family can be a great way to maintain your physical fitness while seeing more of the great outdoors. Look at national parks in your area and make a day or weekend of it! Just make sure that you’re properly prepared if you do plan to go out into the wilderness.

Cycling

Families with members of all ages can definitely enjoy the benefits of cycling. The exercise can actually be better for older members of your family as it usually has less impact on the muscles and joints. Organize a bike ride around your neighborhood with your family and see the many parts of your community.

Swimming

Especially during the summer months, swimming can be a great activity for the whole family to enjoy and cool off. Many municipalities offer plenty of family time swims, as well as free swims at pools. If you’re really adventurous, take your family out for a beach day. There are a wide variety of beaches in Ontario, so get out there and explore!

Organize Family Play Times

This sounds super simple, because it is! Simply organize some fun games or sports that you can do in a park or in a backyard that will get you moving. Common games we love to play include, soccer, tag, and water fights. Want to get really creative? Invite extended family or friends from the neighborhood. They may be able to introduce your family to a new game or activity that you may not have been aware of.

Create An Activity Pack

Have some downtime with your family? Build a backpack of basic activity gear with items such as balls or other catch-and-throw objects (like a Frisbee), a jump rope, sidewalk chalk, pylons (to serve as targets or goal posts), a Dyna Band or any other equipment that suits your family’s interests. This pack will help save you on slower days.

Go To The Playground

The Playground offers endless opportunities of fun to be had. Ask your kids about fun games that they like to play with their friends during recess such as grounders, tag, hopscotch, monkey bars and 4-square. This can be difficult for some members of the family, as playgrounds aren’t really meant for adults and can be difficult to maneuver.

Yoga

Yoga is beneficial for anyone at any age. It allows you to center yourself and to stretch out many areas of your body to stay flexible and mobile. The best part is that you can do Yoga anywhere, so whether you’re at the beach, in the backyard, or at home, you’ll always have a space to do this great exercise.

If you would like more ideas on how to stay active with your family, we highly encourage you to go and check out the Participaction’s site. They have a plethora of programs and ideas to help keep you active.

With the summer season upon us, it means that many Canadians will be taking full advantage of the outdoors. Summer allows us to enjoy activities that we wouldn’t normally have the ability to do the rest of the year as the environment is often too cold.

For these reasons, Canadians tend to gravitate towards BBQing and eating outdoors as primary summer activities.

The change in climate doesn’t always provide you with the best benefits though, as foods that you reserve for summer can also bring a lot of risk to your diet. Many of us are prone to gravitating towards less healthy choices that might be higher in fat, such as burgers and hot dogs.

Here are some heart-healthy food ideas for you to consider this summer:

Heart Healthy Meals

Tilapia and Vegetables

Grilled Corn Salsa

Piri Piri Chicken

Bulgur Wheat Salad

Peachy Chicken Salad

Summer Fruit Smoothie Ice Pops

Vanilla Lemon Berry Parfaits

Tart Apple Buttermilk Cake

Recipes From Our Resident Expert, Marsha Rosen, RD
Here are some heart-healthy recipes provided by Marsha Rosen, RD (Registered Dietitian). Marsha is 
Mike Salem’s sister and in addition to offering private nutrition counselling, Marsha provides group lectures, seminars and cooking demonstrations.

If you have a nutrition question for our dietitian, you can email Marsha here…

Do you have a heart-healthy recipe that you would like to share? Send your recipes to info@mikeynetwork.com

Serves 4

Ingredients

QUANTITYINGREDIENT
4 – 10”Whole wheat tortillas
8 – 12Leaf lettuce leaves, green or
red, washed
8 oz.Turkey breast, cooked, sliced thin
1-2Ripe tomatoes, cut into 16 wedges
1Ripe avocado, cut into 16 slices and tossed with 2 tsp.
Squeeze of lemon juice
Salt & pepper to taste
1 cupShredded romaine or arugula
1/2 cupLow-fat Ranch dressing

Instructions

  1. Wrap tortillas in barely damp, doubled layers of paper towels. Microwave on high for 45 to 60 seconds. Alternatively, heat tortillas individually in an ungreased large skillet over medium heat.
  2. Lay tortillas on a cutting board and layer ingredients.
  3. Fan the leaf lettuce on the top three-quarters of each tortilla, then lay the turkey slices on top, followed by tomato and avocado.
  4. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Top with the romaine or arugula and some of the dressing.
  5. Fold up the bottom quarter of the tortilla; roll each sandwich into a cone shape.
  6. Secure the tortilla with a toothpick. Serve immediately.

Recipes From Our Resident Expert, Marsha Rosen, RD
Here are some heart healthy recipes provided by Marsha Rosen, RD (Registered Dietitian). Marsha is Mike Salem’s sister and in addition to offering private nutrition counselling, Marsha provides group lectures, seminars and cooking demonstrations, and is a sought-after contributor to health-related publications.

If you have nutrition question for our dietician, you can email Marsha here…

Do you have a heart healthy recipe that you would like to share? Send your recipes to info@mikeynetwork.com

Move your body

Ensure you’re always moving! Consider going for a stroll during your lunch break or exercises in your spare time.

Know your numbers

Visiting your doctor and checking your vitals is important for your heart-health. Schedule regular check-ups with your doctor.

Eat chocolate

Eaten in moderation, dark chocolate can actually be good for you. It can help lower the risk of heart disease.

Understanding what types of heart-healthy foods to incorporate into your diet can be a confusing process. There are many articles online stating that certain foods or diet fads can benefit you; but who’s to know what is real and what isn’t? Fortunately for us, our Registered Dietitian, Marsha Rosen, has curated a list of heart-healthy foods that are highly beneficial for your diet.

Your list of foods for a balanced diet should include a variety of choices from all food groups.

Here are some excellent suggestions to begin with and build on.

5 Heart-Healthy Foods

Salmon – Salmon and other fatty fish like mackerel, anchovies, sardines, herring, trout and arctic char; are extremely good for heart health as they contain plenty of omega-3 fats, which can help to lower the risk of heart disease. It’s recommended that you aim to eat at least 2 servings of fish a week.

There are three types of omega-3 fats:

  • ALA (alpha-linolenic acid)
  • EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid)
  • DHA (docosahexaenoic acid)

All three types of omega-3 fats are important to have in your diet.

Other foods that contain omega-3 fats include:

  • Eggs
  • Margarine enriched with the omega-3 fat DHA – made with fish oil
  • Yoghurt – fortified with Omega-3
  • Soy beverage – Omega-3 fortified
  • Soybeans – edamame

Oatmeal – Oatmeal is a high in soluble fibre, which can help to lower cholesterol. It’s recommended that you avoid eating instant oatmeal, as it often will contain sugar, and instead opting for traditional old-fashioned oats.

Berries – Berries such as strawberries and blueberries are believed to carry antioxidants that help to decrease blood pressure and dilate blood vessels. This is attributed to the benefit of compounds known as anthocyanins, and flavonoids.

Potatoes – Although potatoes can be more challenging to your heart healthy dining, if you don’t deep fry them, they can be extremely good for your heart. They’re rich in potassium and high in fibre (if the skin is left on), which again, can help lower blood pressure and the risk of heart disease.

Tomatoes – Similar to potatoes, tomatoes are high in heart-healthy potassium. Plus they’re a good source of the antioxidant lycopene. Lycopene is a carotenoid that may help to get rid of “bad ” cholesterol, keep blood vessels open and lower heart attack risk.