Is exercise a chore? No more!

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You’re more likely to stick with an exercise program if you’re having fun. If you’re not enjoying your workouts, try something different. Join a volleyball or softball league. Take a ballroom dancing class. Trade your running shoes for a swimsuit. Remember, exercise doesn’t have to be drudgery.











Summer sun: Know the danger zone

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Be smart when it comes to sun protection. The sun’s rays are most damaging between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Schedule outdoor activities for other times of the day, even in winter or when the sky is cloudy. If you must be outdoors during these peak hours, seek shade whenever possible.











Calcium: Think outside the cartoon

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If dairy foods are off the menu, how can you be sure you’re getting enough calcium? Try going green. Broccoli and dark green vegetables, such as spinach, kale, and turnip and collard greens, are good sources of calcium. Also look for calcium-fortified foods, such as soy milk and fruit juices.











Dietary supplements: Skip megadoses

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If you want to take a vitamin-mineral supplement, look for one that provides about 100 percent of the Daily Value (DV) of all the vitamins and minerals. Taking more than the recommended daily values (DVs) can increase your risk of side effects. Children are especially vulnerable to overdoses of vitamins and minerals.











Is there more to hydration than water?

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Water is a great choice for staying hydrated, but it isn’t your only option. Beverages such as milk, juice and herbal tea can also help you meet your daily fluid needs. Foods also contribute to your daily fluid needs. Many fruits and vegetables, such as watermelon and spinach, are 90 percent or more water by weight.











Dreading a family holiday gathering?

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Family tension often runs high during the holiday season. Consider this a time to set differences aside. Try to accept loved ones as they are, even if they don’t live up to all your expectations. And be understanding if others get upset or distressed when something goes awry. Chances are they’re feeling the effects of holiday stress too.











Healthy cooking for singles

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Short on time but still want to stick to your healthy-eating plan? For quick and simple cooking, choose a dish that serves as a full meal. Three healthy examples: 1. Beef, barley and vegetable stew. 2. Chicken, vegetable and rice casserole. 3. Vegetarian chili with beans and diced vegetables.











Can you spot poison ivy?

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‘Leaves of three, let them be.’ That old advice still holds true. Poison ivy and poison oak feature three leaflets on one stem. Both plants are common causes of a red, itchy rash consisting of small bumps, blisters or swelling. The best way to prevent the rash is to avoid contact with poison ivy and other poisonous plants. If you’re hiking or walking outdoors, stay on cleared paths. Wear long pants, socks and shoes to help protect your skin.











What are legumes, anyway?

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Legumes are low in fat and high in fiber. Common legumes include beans, peas and lentils. Here are some tips for adding these nutritional powerhouses to your diet: 1. Add beans, peas or lentils to soups, stews, and casseroles. 2. Use pureed beans as the basis for dips and spreads. 3. Add chickpeas or black beans to salads. 4. Snack on a handful of soy nuts rather than on chips or crackers.











Humidifier care 101

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Dry winter air can take a toll on your skin, nose and lips. To increase the humidity indoors, try a portable home humidifier. Set the humidity level between 30 and 50 percent, and fill the humidifier with distilled or demineralized water. Change the humidifier water every day if possible. Clean the humidifier every three days. If the humidifier has a filter, change it at least as often as the manufacturer recommends.











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