Summer, kids and physical activity

Did you know that Canadian children are receiving a failing grade when it comes to physical activity? According to the participaction report card, Canadian children are not getting enough physical activity during the day, they should be getting at least an hour everyday. We’ve talked about all the benefits for adults regarding physical activity, but for children it’s even more important. So many great things happen when they’re active. According to the participaction report card physical activity improves children’s overall performance, movement inspires thinking/creativity, decreases anxiety (mild-moderate) and improves their mood.

With all of the technology out there, it’s easy for anyone, not just children to get lost and spend an entire day in front of a screen. How can we find a happy medium for our children, so there’s some time for electronics and more time playing.

Here are some suggestions

1- Unschedule your schedule. Not every part of your day needs to be planned. You might find this stressful and unproductive, but this allows children to feel like they're contributing to the decision making process. If you get lots of ideas for the one day, write them down, so you have back up when your kids look at you and say, “I don’t know”.
2- Consider sending your kids to adventure camps or other camps - opportunity to make new friends and learn something new.
3- If you are leaving your children at home  for the day, create a chore list for them - builds responsibility, time management and trust. This takes a bit of prep work on your part, but it’ll be worth it.
       1. Weeding the garden or flowers
      2. Make their own lunch
      3. Clean the yard or the house
      4. Start supper
      5. Educational work - read, math questions etc

Decide what they’re allowed to do outside of the home

  1. Can they go biking or to the park in the neighbourhood
  2. Play in the yard
  3. Go swimming

If you’re struggling to get your kids to do anything but sit in front of a screen, you will need some support and ideas.

  1. Find like minded parents - who want their kids to be active as well
  2. Set electronic rules - EG- an hour a day, Consider changing the WiFi password- have them earn it. Be Firm.
  3. Make a list of all the activities your family likes to do. This way if they’re “bored”, they can look for some inspiration
  4. Make a friend list, if your child is old enough, have them make the call and set up a time to hang out, or get themselves to their friends house (You may have to ride there a few times with them to show them the way. Teach them to read a map or write down the directions - road safety always important).
  5. Think about all the things you did as a kid that kept you entertained -- make your own list of ideas
    1. Climb a tree- or build a treehouse
    2. Pick up games - like baseball, basketball or soccer
    3. Swimming on their own. Make it to the pool, pay (cash - know what to get for change), get a locker and swim
    4. Build something - Bird houses or a reading bench
    5. Make swords or daggers out of toilet paper rolls or paper towel rolls and masking tape
    6. Create their own slip n’ slide
    7. Yard bowling - soccer ball and empty bottles (add a bit of water for weight)
    8. Do a park tour - pack a picnic and try to find parks in your area or surrounding neighbourhoods
  6. Rainy days
    1. Puddle jump, let your kids get dirty. Make Mudpies
    2. Build a fort out of sheets, pillows and blankets -
    3. Go to the library or do story telling
    4. Lego without instructions - who can build the tallest tower
    5. Bake - teach them how to bake, by only using verbal guidance- encourage reading directions (manage the oven accordingly).
    6. Board games - make them read the instructions
    7. Museums- let them wander
    8. Let them sit in silence and let their imagination go, great things come when we ponder
    9. Have them make their own “music video” (yes make them sing and dance- make a routine)- Then have them perform it

For more ideas, here are some websites
23 Activities for Tweens
Top 15 Indoor Games And Activities For Teens
50 Fun Spring Activities for Teens
25 Exercise Games and Indoor Activities to Get Kids Moving

Summers can go by in a flash. Being active and making memories is what it's all about. Looking back at my child, it wasn’t about the sitting around, it was about the adventures, playing games and being with friends and family.

Participation Report Card

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When we were little our parents were forever trying to get to bed on time, because we needed to get our sleep. I hear myself saying the same thing to my son. Those 10-12 hours are so important when we're growing up. But what about now? As adults, sleep is still so very important. So why is it that we take it for granted?
We’ve allowed technology into our bedrooms, a place that should be designed for calm, rest and relaxation. Not just with televisions, but with our phones, ipads, and other electronic devices. It is time to take back the bedroom. Make it a place that invites you to rest. Our lives are hectic and at times we don’t feel like there are not enough hours in the day to get everything done. Well good news, the work and chores will be there tomorrow and after a good night’s rest you will be even more productive and have a clearer head.
If you're struggling to unwind here are some suggestions to help you reclaim your sleep.


1- Make your bedroom an electronic free zone. If you use your phone as an alarm clock, set it far enough away from you so if you wake in the night you aren’t tempted to pick it up and surf.

2- Evaluate how much sleep you truly need and work your schedule from there. For me, I like to workout in the morning before my house wakes up. So the alarm is set for 5:15. That means if I want my 7 hours of sleep, the goal is to be in bed by 10:15. Set a schedule and work hard to stick to it.

3- Turn off the electronics least an hour or more before you head to bed (*For children, it needs to be 2-3 hours before they head to bed). You need to unwind and screens serve as a stimulus and don’t actually help you unwind. Read a book, do some journal writing or go for a small walk. If you need “noise” in order to go to sleep, consider some soft music or a mediation audio or the humm of a fan.

4- Make your room as dark as possible. Your body can relate to darkness and knows we sleep when it’s dark. That’s why we feel like hibernating in the winter-  lack of daylight hours. Also, to turn off unnecessary lights in the house. It will help in the unwinding process.

5- Be mindful what you put in your body after 7:00pm. Having a light snack before bed if you’re hungry is fine, but a 3 course meal, caffeine, sugar or alcohol not so good. It will leave you feeling heavy and restless.

6- Exercise, as always so important. Late afternoon/early evening and from there wind down.

It’s the small things we do that make a difference. Just like making exercise a priority for your overall health, sleep needs to be just as important. Try to make one change with your sleep routine over the next few weeks and see how you do. Be patient with yourself good habits take time to form. A solid foundation for good health is the goal.



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Inner Strength

What are the things you do in your everyday life that are “automatic”?  Likely, everyday you brush your teeth, put the dishes in the dishwasher (in theory) and put your shoes on your feet. However, while we do these basic things every day, why is it that  it often takes so much effort to habituate our daily exercise?

Take this winter for example; I set a goal to go outside for at least a 20-minute walk everyday, no matter the weather. I thought this would be perfect goal for me because in the past I’ve gone into hibernation mode and have gotten really comfortable there, snuggled in my sweats and blankets waiting for the snow to melt.  

I know it doesn’t seem too difficult, but when the wind chill hit -40, it took some considerable effort to get dressed properly and a load of self-talk to get out the door. Some days, I only made it for 10 minutes; despite not reaching my original goal it was still worth it. Just knowing that I am prioritizing my health, even just a little bit, makes a big difference for me in the way I feel and the way I live my life.

Even now, being on the doorstep of summer, when I wake up and my first thought isn’t about the walk or the work out, it’s about whether or not I really want to get out of bed. I still have to talk myself into getting up and out the door. Once I get moving, I’m good because for me just beginning to exercise makes me feel better.

A great article I read recently was 9 ways to Build Your Inner Strength by Kevin Daum
I thought this article was fitting for me because putting my health at the top of the to do list, like many other people, is something I often struggle with.
This article gets you thinking about you! Something we don’t do when we’re automatic mode. I can tell you for sure, going outside at -40 wasn’t automatic. It was full of thought every step I took to face the weather. Getting out of the automation of life is a great first step to self-care.
If you don’t have time to read the whole article here  are some of the highlights I took away from it.
1-   Ask why? Focus on purpose. This cultivates strength and motivation
2-   Put yourself first. Make your own well being top priority
3-   Train your mental and emotional body as well as your physical self
4-   Decide, commit and act
5-   Don’t let fear factor your decision-making. Don’t reject an opportunity because you’re afraid you can’t do it or something might go wrong
6-   Embrace what scares you. Take that challenge to increase your self confidence
7-   De-clutter your mind. Find a quiet place or try mediation. Turn your brain off for a little while
8-   Become your own best friend. Spend time alone
9-   Practice calm and self control in adversity- Negativity gets you nowhere

For me, getting out and walking first thing in the morning was so many of these recommendations.
Remember to take time this week (day) to focus on you.



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Why You Should Exercise Outside

In my hometown, there was a gym I used to frequent that is a training centre for several national athletics teams. It was entirely out of convenience that I worked out there, because I actually went to the centre to bike and run the surrounding trails. Getting a weight workout before or after my “fun” workout was just an added bonus. However, my casual gym workouts were often interrupted when the national teams would start tossing around weights I struggled to pick up.

Fortunately, a good workout is just as easy to find outside as it is in the bowels of a gym. And studies have shown that a fitness program that involves regular outdoor activity provides benefits that sweating indoors won’t. Let’s look at 5 reasons you should ditch the gym and head out into the sunshine!

Saving Money

    This one is almost too obvious to mention, but it’s an important point. Working out at a fitness centre generally means you’re paying for a membership of some sort. You already own the clothes you’re going to workout in, so save yourself some bucks during periods of nicer weather and head outdoors. If poor weather hits you can always find a gym that has a drop-in price so you’ll still be able to get your fix.

Finding Community

    Starting a conversation in a gym is almost as awkward as starting one at a middle school dance. It happens, of course, but most of us aren’t really into it.

    Running trails at your nearby park or walking around your neighbourhood are great ways of meeting your extended neighbours. You might even discover that some of them have similar goals and interests, or you might be just that one person who motivates them to start their own journey to a healthy lifestyle.

Having positive community connections can really boost your mental health and sense of belonging, over and above what exercise alone will provide. That’s like a 2-for-1 deal!

A Harder but Gentler Workout

    That’s right. Exercising outdoors can have the added benefits of making you work harder with less stress on the body. The variability of terrain outside breaks up the repetition we would normally go through indoors. Walking or running on a trail as opposed to the monotony of a treadmill makes subtle but healthy changes in body positions. You’ll be lifting your feet to avoid rocks and roots, or shifting your balance to accommodate the terrain, and each time you do your body will thank you for switching things up.

    Variables in the out of doors also tend to put you through a more difficult workout. A headwind on a bike or while running will obviously provide more resistance, but a tailwind will move you faster and can activate a different (larger) set of muscle fibres. And running/walking without the cushioning of a treadmill can help to increase your body’s impact resistance, making your joints and bones stronger. Swimmers will have to deal with currents and waves, varying the repetition of motion you would feel in an indoor pool.

Better Health

    If you haven’t heard of Forest Therapy yet, you will. A meditation practice that has been happening for decades in Japan has gained enough popularity for doctors to study the effects of Forest Therapy (Shin-rin yoku) on the body, and the results are impressive.

    Although outdoor exercise isn’t exactly the same as Forest Therapy, many of the benefits come from simply being around a forest. Phytoncides, compounds that trees release to protect themselves from disease can be also be absorbed by people as they spend time in nature, helping us stay healthy and illness free.

More Happiness

    It’s fairly common knowledge that exercise increases the levels of “feel-good” hormones  (serotonin) in our bodies, but outdoor activity gives us an even higher boost of happiness. A study conducted at the University of Queensland indicated that those who exercise outdoors had higher levels of serotonin (feel-good hormones) compared to those who exercise primarily indoors. They also had higher levels of endorphins, chemicals responsible for the post-workout rush commonly known as “runner’s high.”


    So there you have it! When the weather is in your favour, cash in on the bonus points by heading outside for your workouts. If you are following a specific program, ask your fitness partner to adapt your exercises so you can achieve the same goals without slinging weights. Realistically, a gym will provide some benefits that might be more difficult to accomplish without particular machines, and we’ll cover that topic in a future post. But by balancing indoor and outdoor workouts you’ll be sure to maximize the best of both worlds.

Authored by: Kevin Dyck

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Taking care of our skin is important. No matter the type of weather, rays from the sun still affect our skin. As a result, it is important to use skin protection all year round. Damage from the sun can have lasting effects on our bodies and health. While non-melanoma (Basal cell carcinomas account for 80% Ref 1) skin cancer is one of the most common (Ref 2) and curable cancers, it  isn’t something to take lightly. Basal cell carcinomas as well as other damage to your skin can be easily prevented by applying sunscreen daily and wearing UV protective clothing. Here are some key tips on how you can better protect your skin moving forward.

How should sunscreens be applied? (Ref 3)

  • Apply the sunscreen at least 20 to 30 minutes before you go outdoors, whenever you will be exposed for 30 minutes or more.
  • Reapply sunscreen every 2 hours while you are outdoors, even if the product is labeled “all-day.” If you get wet or perspire heavily, reapply sunscreen more frequently.
  • Cover all exposed areas, including your ears, lips, face and back of your hands.
  • Don't skimp; apply a generous layer. Smooth it on rather than rub it in. A rule of thumb is that 45 ml (a shot glass) of sunscreen is needed to cover all exposed skin to attain the stated level of protection.
  • If wearing makeup, sunscreen should be applied underneath the makeup.
  • f you wait to apply sunscreen until you hit the beach, you may already be perspiring, and moisture makes sunscreens less effective.

The Best Sunscreen Ingredient to Look For (Ref 4)

Since UVA and UVB rays are both harmful, you need to find sunscreens that protect against both.
Ingredients to look for:

  • Stabilized a avobenzone
  • Escamsule (a.k.a. MexoryITM)
  • Oxybenzone
  • Titanium Dioxide
  • Zinc Oxide

What type of sunscreen should I use?  (Ref 5)

The sunscreen you choose is a matter of personal choice, and may vary depending on the area of the body to be protected. Available sunscreen options include lotions, creams, gels, ointments, wax sticks and sprays.

  • Creams are best for dry skin and the face.
  • Gels are good for hairy areas, such as the scalp or male chest.
  • Sticks are good to use around the eyes.

Regardless of which sunscreen you choose, be sure to apply it generously to achieve the UV protection indicated on the product label.  

Does Sunscreen expire? (Ref 6)

Sunscreens are designed to remain at original strength for up to three years. This means that you can use leftover sunscreen from one year to the next. Some sunscreens include an expiration date — a date indicating when they're no longer effective. Discard sunscreen that is past its expiration date. If you buy sunscreen that doesn't have an expiration date, write the date of purchase on the bottle and be sure to throw it out within three years. Also, discard sunscreen that has any obvious changes in color or consistency.

Other ways to protect your skin (Ref 7)

In addition to wearing sunscreen, dermatologists recommend taking the following steps to protect your skin and to find skin cancer early:

  • Seek shade when appropriate, remembering that the sun’s rays are strongest between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m (some suggest until 4pm). If your shadow is shorter than you are, seek shade.
  • Wear protective clothing, such as a long-sleeved shirt, pants, a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses, when possible.
  • Use extra caution near water, snow and sand as they reflect the damaging rays of the sun, which can increase your chance of sunburn.
  • Get vitamin D safely through a healthy diet that may include vitamin supplements. Don’t seek the sun.
  • Avoid tanning beds. Ultraviolet light from the sun and tanning beds can cause skin cancer and wrinkling. If you want to look tan, you may wish to use a self-tanning product, but continue to use sunscreen with it.
  • Check your birthday suit on your birthday. If you notice anything changing, itching or bleeding on your skin, see a board-certified dermatologist. Skin cancer is highly treatable when caught early.


  1. Harmful Effects of Ultraviolet Radiation

  2. Skin Cancer (Non-Melanoma): Statistics

  3. Cleveland Clinic - Sun Damage: Protecting Yourself -

  4. Aynbinder, T. Do I really need to wear sunscreen every day? I work in an office, and I'm inside until at least 6–7pm during the week.–7pm-during-the-week

  5. SCHAUMBURG, Ill. Sunscreen 101: Dermatologists answer burning questions about sunscreens

  6. Gibson, L. Is sunscreen from last year still good? When does sunscreen expire?

  7. Sunscreen FAQs

  8. Epstein, J. et al UVA & UVB

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6 Ways Exercise Makes Your Life Easier

It doesn’t matter how hard we try to fight it, but most of us have to move at some point in the day. There’s a store down the street to walk to or a neighbour’s house we want to visit, maybe even a dreaded flight of stairs. Participating in a well-designed fitness program makes all of these daily tasks easier, so let’s take a look at what you’re going to accomplish by pursuing an active lifestyle.

1. Feeling Smarter

The first day of an exercise program can be a tough one. We’re asking our bodies to change the way we’re used to using them. It can be hard to stay positive and motivated when we feel like what we’re hoping to accomplish is months or even years down the road. But as early as that very first workout, you’re going to experience the benefits. The increased blood flow throughout your body quickly reaches your brain and you’re more alert and awake. Your focus afterward is better, making decisions easier, choices quicker, and your overall thinking more clear.

2. Feeling Happier

That first workout makes you happier too! The body reacts to the new challenge by releasing endorphins, a chemical known to reduce pain and produce feelings of euphoria. Our moods lift after exercise, not just from taking that first step toward a healthier life, but on a real chemical level as well. As we mentioned in our post (Exercise and Mental Health, link), studies prove that exercise helps improve the symptoms of depression.

3. Feeling More Energetic

The first week of exercise has dramatic effects on the body as it becomes more efficient. It becomes better at producing energy and your workouts begin to feel easier. You’re going to start to find that your day to day tasks, climbing stairs or walking around the block, aren’t as tiring.

4. Feeling Lighter

You’re not just feeling lighter, you are lighter! After one month of participating in an exercise program your metabolism speeds up, meaning that it burns calories at a faster rate. Even during rest your body is going to be a calorie burning machine. If your goal is to lose weight and you’re eating well, this is when you’ll notice the pounds dropping. Gravity won’t be such a nag anymore while you’re more easily sauntering through your day’s activities.

5. Feeling Stronger

After as little as one month you muscle mass will begin to change as the fibres grow in response to the new workload. You’ll be able to manage your old workouts with ease, and day-to-day chores will start to become less taxing. You’ll be carrying the groceries or picking up your kids and grandchildren with ease. And speaking of chores, exercise itself won’t feel like one anymore as you will actually start looking forward to the challenge.

6. Feeling Confident

So you’ve been doing this exercise thing for a year now. It’s simply part of what you do when you happily start your day. And that’s the key: happily. The mental benefits of ongoing exercise are long-standing. You’ll have improved self-esteem and increased confidence and your body will be better equipped to deal with life’s daily stresses. Your activity will be just another healthy habit, something you barely even think about anymore.

The benefits of regular exercise are unmistakable. If you are unsure of where to begin contact your doctor or other qualified healthcare professional. By building a team of people to work with, your chances of success are stronger, and they can help monitor your progress and modify your plan accordingly as your heart grows stronger, your body becomes more efficient and your fitness grows.

Authored by: Kevin Dyck

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Embrace the suck...

There’s a t-shirt I saw once that read, “Running - Embrace the Suck.” Being a runner I laughed because, well, sometimes running does indeed suck! Whether because of simple inertia or more complicated motives, we humans are more given to sedentary lives than active ones. Activity takes effort and can be uncomfortable, while sitting on the couch can be done with little output at all, mental or physical.

But like so many things, this all works in a cycle. We’re told over and over that exercise is good for us. Physical fitness improves our lives through increased energy, weight loss, and longevity. And studies abound that prove - not just suggest - that exercise improves our mental well-being as well. When we start to feel good physically, we start to also feel good mentally. And when we feel good mentally we’re more likely to try new activities, feeling even more fit and energetic! We finally want to be good to ourselves. But how do we start?

The challenge is that without a positive attitude we are less likely to continue with an exercise plan, but positivity is hard to come by when you’re gasping with every step. By the same token, exercise helps produce a positive mental attitude, that same mindset that makes continued exercise more likely.

The Problem:

Exercise and a positive attitude are great methods to continue on a road to fitness, but neither provides an onramp.

The Solution:

A tried and tested approach is to establish a health plan with your doctor or a trusted physical trainer. These people have the knowledge to help you develop a plan that isn’t going to deter you by being too difficult, but will keep challenging you as you progress. There’s no need to sprint through every workout, but you don’t want to saunter either. A healthcare professional can help by monitoring your progress and altering the plan as necessary.

So often we want to get fit and jump from the couch into a pair of running shoes, and then we suffer and stop. Fitness, both mental and physical, takes time and patience. It makes a lot more sense to begin exercising with a gentler approach than it does to rush yourself to a point where you start thinking, “Ya, this does suck!”

Authored by: Kevin Dyck

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News Release: GoGet.Fit one of winners at competition.

GoGet.Fit was chosen as one of three winners at the City of Edmonton HealthHack competition on April 16th. Congratulations, I feel should go to you, our GoGet.Fit users, who took the time to provide feedback these past months. Thank you.

What we did?
The GoGet.Fit proposal provided a plausible solution on how to take the City of Edmonton to become a more active. At the core of the solution was targeting our two key communities on our platform: On one hand the healthcare professionals & community-based fitness partners and on the other hand, the individuals who use the mobile app.

For the mobile app users:
We created a prototype of a new Behavioral Support Tool (BCT). The new experience is called the “reflective exercise”. This feature identified by Sullivan and Lachman in 2017 as a foundational BCT that's missing from almost all fitness apps, and given we are a “habit” focused app we took it as our mandate to create it for our users.
Here’s how it works, when a GoGet.Fit member misses a workout, at the end of the week they will receive an email with a reflective exercise whose goal is to insure that a missed workout does not happen again for the same reason.
Here are the three questions we ask you to reflect on:
1st.                Reflect: Identify what the reason you missed that workout?
2nd.             Prepare: What could you do next time to avoid this outcome (2 ideas)?
3rd.              Take action. Choose which is the best idea to rescue your workout next time.

The new Industry Listing Page:
The other feature we worked on for the competition was a new fitness partner industry listing page. It was created to enhance the networking of the healthcare providers with community-based fitness partners.  This industry listing page of local searchable fitness partners removes the barrier of “where to send a patient” for healthcare providers (e.g. doctors) when counseling a patient to become more active. This means it’s just a click away-- a direct access to dedicated “community-based” local exercise experts who can provide guidance and support for patients in their pursuit to become active in their day-to-day life.  We feel that Networking these two communities is one of the keys to resolving the inactivity healthcare crisis that directly impacts almost 85% of Canadians.  
Did you know that most of these Canadians will try to become more active at some point in their adult life, clearly if left unsupported over 80% will continue to fall off the wagon within months and will continue to suffer the results of lifestyle modifiable disease burdens from inactivity. 

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When the Weather doesn't cooperate

What happens when the weather doesn’t want to cooperate? 

What is your back up plan?

Working out indoors can seem boring, but the thought of going outside and trying to brave the weather seems defeating at times. In Alberta, spring hasn’t found it way here yet. With the snow falling, melting and then freezing. Going outside for a skate/walk isn’t appealing and can be somewhat dangerous if you don’t have the proper footwear. 

So now what?

Here are a few ideas to help you.

Please consult your doctor or exercise specialist before proceeding with any exercise programs. And, know your limits

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You've made and chased goals before. If you were really motivated to achieve a specific goal likely you set some steps in  place in order to achieve that goal. We achieve many goals daily, but we don’t even realize it. Consider a quick clean of the kitchen. You know all the steps (dishes, clean the counter, quick sweep, dishes in cupboards- done!), you have a process in place to get it done. We also know what it takes to get a deep “spring” clean done, there is a lot more planning and steps that happen compared to a light clean, but the basics are the same. Whether you do the light clean or deep clean, when you finish you have a great sense of accomplishment and have a feeling of pride that you got it done. 

Goal setting for your health is very, very similar. Like cleaning your kitchen, getting a workout done feels great. You feel accomplished and proud of yourself (maybe a bit of a swagger, “I did it.”) for taking the time to complete a workout.

Now, taking a look at your week (like I do sometimes), it might feel super busy. When this realization of “busy” is your week, is when it’s time to schedule your workouts. When you set a goal for 15-20 minutes of exercise per weekday and maybe schedule a longer workout on the weekend, you’re setting yourself up for success. 

Let’s take this deeper. Here are a few realistic steps for incorporating exercise into your daily life.

1. Schedule all of your workouts in advance. (On the previous weekend)
2. Layout your exercise clothes (where they are waiting in anticipation to be used) or get them in your gym bag in advance. (make it a daily ritual)
3. Leave your running shoes or gym bag where it interferes with your day, for example, some people leave their running shoes in the middle of the entrance for when they return home to “greet them”… OR Other people leave their gym bag on their drivers seat to give them a nudge. (WE WANT to hear about your little tricks to get you out personally, please message me at
3. Tell someone. Support keeps you accountable. 
4. Once you’re done exercising, take a few seconds to log the workout and reflect on how you’re feeling.

The path to better health, may feel like a mountain. We want you to look at this journey one step at a time. When you do, exercise doesn’t feel so daunting. Being realistic is key. Even if you can only fit in a 10 minute walk at lunch that’s “exercise for your heart!”. You will feel better getting in some movement.

So, if you haven’t scheduled your workouts for this week, go to and get them scheduled. It will feel good to know you’ve made a plan and it will feel even better when you’ve marked them as complete! 

You’ve got this, now GoGet.Fit!




Talking test for how hard to workout

Getting started? How to know how hard your work out is.
There is a very simple way to pay attention to how physical activity affects your heart rate and breathing. Try talking! Whether you can talk and breathe at the same time is how you can measure how hard you are working out.

The talk test is a simple way to measure relative intensity. If you can speak comfortably, you are in the low intensity zone. As you head into the moderate intensity zone, Which is the minimum you want to work during a cardio workout, you should be able to talk but you won’t be able to sing. If you can only say a few words before stopping to take a breath, then you are in the vigorous zone. Which zone you are in depends on the amount of energy being used by the body whilst doing the activity. 
Which activities put you in the low intensity zone?
•    Walking slowly, for example to the mail box, to and from work or in a shopping mall
•    Carrying grocery bags
•    Stretching
Which activities put you in the moderate intensity zone?
•    Walking briskly ( but not race-walking)
•    Water aerobics
•    Bicycling slower than 16km per hour
•    Tennis (doubles)
•    Ballroom dancing
•    General gardening
•    Downhill skiing
Which activities put you in the vigorous intensity zone?
•    Race walking, jogging, or running
•    Swimming laps
•    Tennis (singles)
•    Aerobic dancing
•    Cross-country skiing
•    Bicycling 16km per hour or faster
•    Jumping rope
•    Heavy gardening (continuous digging or hoeing)
•    Hiking uphill or with a heavy backpack

Eventually you want to get to a level where you can someday do the following: The ultimate goal- time in the moderate zone 2-3 times per week and the vigorous zone 1-2 times per week with adequate rest in between. If you don’t make it, don’t be discouraged – build up to it. But the benefits are a stronger heart in just trying to get there. Any time spent in the moderate cardio zone is beneficial for your heart. In the end, breathing heavy and sweating for even 10 minutes (where you are still smiling) translates into a happy and healthier heart. Now just get out and start. Happy hearts and smiles!

Article by Haley O'Sullivan

3-American Council on Exercise. ACE Personal Trainer Manual, 5th Edition. San Diego: American Council on Exercise, 2014.
4-Foster, Carl Ph.D.; Porcari, John P. Ph.D.; Anderson, Jennifer MS.  "The Talk Test as a Marker of Exercise Training Intensity."  Journal of Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation & Prevention.January/February 2008 - Volume 28 - Issue 1 - p 24–30.  doi: 10.1097/01.HCR.0000311504.41775.78.

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Coping with Daylight Savings

Daylight savings, well, we all know, it impacts us bi-annually, that is, there’s no getting away from it! So, what to do to minimize the negative impact (Did you know heart attacks have a spike at this time)?  That  “spring ahead” thing in spring, well, it directly cuts into our sleep, our well-being, and our general demeanor (decreased tolerance). The thought that spring is close is exciting. The thought of a 23 hour day that doesn’t cut our awake activities but takes a chunk off our sleep, is the issue.

A few things to keep in mind this week: 10 points on coping with Springing ahead and not feeling flat.

1.     Sleep hygiene: create calming rituals before bed to gradually relax yourself like taking a warm shower or bath,  putting in ear plugs to drown out unwanted noise or to wear an eye mask to block out the remaining daylight.

2.     Avoid taking naps. If you have to take them, take them early and for no longer than 20 minutes. An exception… you are allowed and should sleep as you want the day after the change.

3.     Avoid coffee and caffeinated beverages four to six hours before bedtime. (My boyfriend disagrees but this is solid advice)

4.     Alcohol also prohibits you from getting quality sleep, so avoid it late at night. Especially, the night before the change, really, avoid the ethanol!

5.     Staying consistent with the amount of sleep you get each night helps, too – that includes weekends.

6.     Keeping to your schedule, whether it’s fall or spring. Keep things as close to normal as possible. Have a good nighttime ritual and avoid screen time right before bed.

7.     Give yourself more time to adjust before the workweek begins, if possible, reset your clocks at the start of the weekend, like Friday night or Saturday morning. Allowing yourself and family more time to adjust to the time change.

8.     Exercise. Working out releases serotonin, a chemical in the brain that helps our bodies adjust. Exercise regularly, preferably outdoors, and early in the day. A brisk morning walk is perfect. Avoid exercising too late in the evening though, as this could interfere with the quality of your sleep.

9.     Digest. After the time changes, you may be hungry for meals earlier or later than before. Be sure to give yourself ample time to digest your dinner before heading off to bed.

10.   Try to spend time outside during the day, if possible. Dim the lights in the evening, so that your body understands that it’s time to wind down.