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Kick Start Your Summer with Exercise

Who's ready for summer? Lounging outdoors, frequenting the local pub and patio, attending neighbourhood and family barbecues, and taking time off work to spend quality time catching up on rest and relaxation. Sounds pretty awesome, right?

These are the things we love to do, and that's okay.

However, don't let the sunshine blind you to the potential pitfalls of summer, like excessive alcohol consumption, lazy days by the pool, and eating processed meat and sugar laden products, like hot dogs and store bought potato salad and coleslaw.

Beat the Summer Pitfalls with an Active Lifestyle

It's important to ensure we are equally taking advantage of the warm weather by being active. The summer season can be a great way to motivate us to get into shape and stay in shape long-term.

Our lives are busy and many of us can’t find the time for exercise. Or, perhaps during this awesome R&R season, you prefer reading a book outside rather than go for a run.

Dedicate Your Summer to Health

This year try something different and kick start your summer by upping your physical activity. You can do it! Here's some motivation material for you...

  • How Much Exercise Do I Need? For starters, you need to know how much exercise you should be aiming for. Health Canada’s new physical activity guidelines recommends 2.5 hours of moderate to vigorous aerobic activity each week (sessions of 10 minutes or more) for adults. For example: that’s 30 minutes per day, 5 days of the week of activity such as walking, running, bicycling, etc. See further information on the Public Health Agency of Canada's website.

  • Buy Yourself a Fury Friend. If you've been thinking about investing in a new best friend of the canine variety, now is the time to do it! Owning a dog is a great way to increase your physical activity because they simply have to be walked. A study led by researcher Matthew Reeves at Michigan State University found that owning and walking a dog not only affects the amount of walking a person does but it also found that dog walkers are more active generally.

  • Join a Running Group. You may be thinking of the poplar Running Room, which has great programs for every level, novice to pro, but they aren't the only runtastic group in town. Look for groups in your neighbourhood, on, or start one with your friends. Once you have committed to a group, you will have no choice but to get outside and run!

  • Swim. If you have access to a pool or lake, make swimming a daily activity. It is a refreshing way to exercise in the summer, not to mention it works muscles you don't even realize you have and it's easy on the joints. After a nice refreshing swim, you can treat yourself by lounging with a book in the shade or catching some sun. Just remember to protect yourself with sun screen! You can purchase an AlumierMD Sunscreen through VitalityMD that is healthy for the skin and even has a bit of tint so you don't have to worry about ruining your foundation.

  • Walk for Transportation. I cannot stress this one enough. Exercise built into your everyday lifestyle will increase your metabolic power and overall health. Use walking or biking as transportation whenever possible. Need a few groceries? Give yourself extra time to walk to the store. Going out for dinner? Choose a restaurant in walking distance to include some physical activity before and after the meal.

  • Healthy Summer Eating. Summer weather brings summer foods, which can be high in fat, sugar and sodium. Be more mindful of what you eat when you're having fun this summer. Try these healthy alternatives at your next outdoor get-together!

No sugar Iced Tea

Easy, breezy, calorie free!


6 cups boiling water

3 tea bags of your choice

Boil 6 cups of water. Remove from burner and add 3 tea bags of your choice. Cover and let stand for 5 minutes. Add cold warm water and pour into pitcher. Stir and place in refrigerator for cooling. Add freshly squeezed lemon if desired (I like to add lemon to my black iced tea). Try with herbal flavoured ice tea for decaf option that has a natural sweetness.

Watermelon Popsicles

Easy, fun and healthy! Perfect for kids too!



Popsicle sticks

Cut watermelon into triangular wedges about ½ inch - 1 inch thick.

Insert popsicles sticks into the rind. Freeze and serve!

Homemade Pita Chips and Dip

Crispy and delicious!


1 package whole grain pita

2 tablespoons olive oil

Pinch of Sea salt

Your favourite hummus or bean dip

Slice pitas in half so that there are two full circles. Place pitas on a cookie sheet. Brush olive oil on both sides of pitas and sprinkle lightly with sea salt. Grill on barbeque until lightly browned and crisp (Can bake in oven if do not have a barbeque). Cut pitas into triangle sections (4-6 per pita) and serve on a platter with dip in centre.


Mathew J. Reeves, Ann P. Rafferty, Corinne E. Miller, Sarah K. Lyon-Callo. The Impact of Dog Walking on Leisure-Time Physical Activity: Results From a Population-Based Survey of Michigan Adults. Journal of Physical Activity and Health, 2011; 8 (3): 436-444

Public Health Agency of Canada. Physical Activity.

#activelifestyle #haveahealthysummer #run #healthyeating #fitness

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Integrative Medical Center, Toronto

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