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How to de-clutter your space

Cityline | posted Tuesday, Apr 21st, 2015

From toys to magazines, from office supplies to clothes, clutter is bound to build up within your home sometimes! But no need to worry, Yanic Simard shares some key tips on how to get rid of clutter to restore order to your space:

  • To decide what stays in your space and what doesn’t, start with taking everything out of your space (minus your furniture) to start fresh.
  • Remove extra furniture out of the space, such as office chairs.
  • When you are putting your things back in the room, only bring back the essentials plus some décor. This will also help you create a focal space.
  • Try not to over-do it with artwork.
  • When you go shopping, make sure that what you are bringing into your home is necessary. Do not force items in your space just because you got them on sale. Resist the temptation!
  • When you have less items in your space, you will be able to concentrate on the small number of beautiful pieces that you do have.
  • Return the extra pieces into your room back to where they belong, organize them or give them away.

For more de-cluttering tips from Yanic, watch the video below:

Social Stream: #BTinDisney

Winston Sih | posted Thursday, Apr 16th, 2015

Breakfast Television and Cityline are live from Walt Disney World April 20 and 21 with fans to celebrate BT’s 25th anniversary, thanks to WestJet Vacations.

Whether you’re in Walt Disney World with the BT gang or joining the fun at home, check out our behind-the-scenes updates on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Vine postings using the hashtags #BTinDisney and #BT25 in the social stream below.

Tune into Breakfast Television April 20 and 21, and Cityline April 20 to see all of the fun live from Orlando, Fla.

Check out behind-the-scenes video blogs and updates here.

Click here to upload photos and videos!

How to start running: A step-by-step guide for beginners

James S. Fell | posted Thursday, Apr 16th, 2015

Running is the king of both convenience and calorie-burning, but it takes planning, patience and persistence to become a regular runner. I tried and failed at least four times before I finally got it to stick. I’ve been a regular runner for over six years now, and I think it might hold this time. Here are my tried and tested running tips:

1. Pick a “go” day. Give yourself a couple of weeks to get everything prepared, but have a day that is specifically marked on your calendar as the day you start running. Start getting excited about this new you who is a dedicated runner.

2. Find a friend. Or a family member. This isn’t critical, but having someone who is of similar abilities who is going to join you on becoming a runner can be a powerful motivator. They don’t have to join you for every run.

3. Get tuned up. Researcher James Annesi reported in a 2001 article in the Canadian Journal of Behavioural Science that for aerobic training in general “music significantly improved positive affect. The elevated emotion was considered important for new exercisers during the initial months of attempting to adapt to the demands of a regular program.” Additionally, runners were surveyed and “a preference for music while training was indicated by 87 percent of the sample. Many participants interviewed retrospectively noted a reduction in perceived exertion while running at any pace with music.”

4. Get professional help, part 1. Don’t go to a regular sporting goods store, but instead choose a store that focuses just on running and get help picking proper shoes, socks, shorts, pants, gloves, hats – all the weather-specific gear you need to start running. It won’t be cheap, but with the exception of the shoes, most of it will last a long time. I’ve put about 5,000km on my Nike running tights and they’re still in good shape.

5. Get professional help, part 2. Many running stores have clinics you can sign up for that have training groups targeted to beginners. These have the benefit of having lots of educational information about the activity, having like-minded people in the group, being regularly scheduled so that you know when you’re supposed to be running.

6. We are Borg. Resistance is futile. OK, you may need to be a Star Trek geek to get that, but there is a lot of cool running technology out there you may want to consider trying. Gadgets and apps that can track your distance, pace, heart rate and probably some other stuff I don’t know about because the only technology I use is an iPod Shuffle.

7. Go day: Start slow. Exactly how far and how fast you go will depend on things like your age, weight, injuries, and previous training. One word of caution: you may have a good cardiovascular system if you spend lots of time on an elliptical trainer, but you still won’t be used to the impact of running. You will likely have the ability to run much further but shouldn’t. Go too far, and the next day you’ll hurt from the eyebrows down.

So, what I’m going to offer is some basic advice that can apply to a broad group of people, but should be altered based on your specific circumstances. It is designed to minimize pain and chance of injury, and ease you into what is admittedly a very difficult behaviour to adopt. Note that you won’t burn many calories in the beginning.

For “go” day, run 1km. That’s it. Walk part of it if you have to. Do this twice in your first week.

Week 2: Run twice this week at 1.5km each time.

Week 3: Run twice this week at 2km each time.

Week 4: Run three times at 2km each time.

Week 5: Run three times at 2.5km each time

Week 6: Run three times at 3km each time

Week 7: Schedule a 5km race for week 10. Run three times at 4km each time.

Week 8: Run three times at 4.5 km each time.

Week 9: Run three times at 5km each time.

Week 10: Keep running, and kick some serious butt in that race.

(For a beginner-to-5km daily training guide, try this program.)

Tips to keep progressing

Nine weeks to get up to 5km three times a week isn’t that fast, but it’s getting you there. You may need to go slower, or you might be able to handle faster. Be mindful of your body in terms of pain as well as personal enjoyment. Don’t burn out, but don’t get bored either. You have an important role to play in designing a program based on your unique needs.

And you want to keep pushing your limits. Running 15km a week is only the beginning. Sure, you’ll burn some calories doing this and it will be good for your fitness, but a better weekly distance is more like 30km. That’s getting into workout warrior territory. That’s when you’re really starting to blast through fat stores and get some serious health benefits. Of course, if you keep adapting yourself slowly you can continue beyond that. I rarely go fewer than 40km in a week, and am usually above 50. I know people who run a lot more than this. If you take the time to slowly push both your distance and your speed in increments, you can reach serious mileage without hurting yourself.

This may sound daunting, but if you follow through, in time you’ll wonder why you didn’t do it sooner. Runners are a special breed. We’re a special breed of awesome. Join the awesome.

James S. Fell is a certified strength and conditioning specialist in Calgary, AB. Visit www.bodyforwife.com or email him at james@bodyforwife.com

5 ways to save money with your phone

Amy Valm | posted Tuesday, Apr 14th, 2015

Flipp
Free | iOS, Android
Ditch paper flyers for this one-stop digital source that meets all your price-matching needs with a flip of the finger.

RedFlagDeals
Free | iOS, Android
Browse deals and source coupons easily on this Canadian-based deal-finder or recommend fab deals and chat with other savvy shoppers.

Checkout 51
Free | iOS, Android
Sign up for money-saving rebates—simply photograph your receipt from any store and upload through the app to start raking in the savings.

GasBuddy
Free | iOS, Android
Find the cheapest fuel near you, as reported by like-minded money savers who report local gas prices to save everyone some coin.

YNAB
Free | iOS, Android
“You Need A Budget” takes the guesswork—and dread—out of building and maintaining a budget by allowing users to easily enter and organize transactions.

A version of this article appeared in our April 2015 issue with the headline, “Living on the cheap”, p.49.

6 common medicine mistakes parents make with kids

Today's Parent | posted Thursday, Apr 9th, 2015

Cough, cold and flu season is in full swing, and so it’s the time when medication errors are most likely to occur. A recent study in the journal Pediatrics revealed that a child is given the wrong medicine or the wrong dose every eight minutes and that more than a quarter of these errors occurred in children younger than one year. The study also found that the younger the child, the more likely a medication mistake is to be made. Though the vast majority (94 percent) of these mistakes didn’t require medical attention, some lead to serious complications and even death.

Most medicine mistakes happen with liquid pain relievers meant to reduce fever (likely because they’re more commonly used with little kids, but also because they can be tricky to measure out), such as acetaminophen and ibuprofen, followed by allergy and antibiotic meds. The biggest jump in medication errors in kids has been seen with dietary supplements and homeopathic and herbal treatments.

The study’s lead author was careful to note that even the most conscientious parents make mistakes, but there are ways to cut the risk. Here are the most common medicine mistakes and tips to help keep your children safe.

1. Giving the wrong dose Always follow the dosage recommended by your doctor or pharmacist or as written on the package. Most children’s medication doses are based on the child’s body weight, which is the most accurate way to dose medication. (Over-the-counter medication doses sometimes provide dosing by age ranges, which are based only on estimates of weight by age.)

Liquids often come with dosing instructions in millilitres (mL) as well as in teaspoon or tablespoon measurements. While you may prefer the familiarity of a teaspoon or tablespoon,using kitchen cutlery can lead to errors because they vary so much in size, and baking teaspoons can be awkward to use. Instead, measure kids’ liquid medicines in millilitres (mL) with an easy-to-use oral syringe or a medicine cup with clearly marked millilitre lines for precise doses. Syringes and cups often come with prescription liquid medications but are also available in drug stores. (Some pharmacists will give you one for free if you ask.)

2. Repeating a dose Accidentally repeating a dose is a common error, particularly with babies, who can’t tell you that they’ve already been given their medicine. Keep track of your child’s dosing schedule with a medication log on your smartphone, a programmable timer app, a printable medication log or even a sticker on the medicine bottle. Make sure that all of your kid’s caregivers use the same log and are communicating about what doses were given when. If you miss a dose, do not double up to make up for the missed dose—talk to your doctor or pharmacist.

3. Giving doses too close together Follow the dosing schedule from your doctor, pharmacist or the package instructions. Don’t push doses closer together or exceed the maximum amount of doses per day instructed on the label. Alternating between two medications (as is commonly done to bring down a fever) isn’t recommended by the Canadian Paediatric Society, as it can lead to over-dosing errors.

4. Confusing units of measurement What’s written on your original prescription and the label on the medicine you get from your pharmacist may not necessarily match—and that’s OK. A prescription is a communication between the doctor and pharmacist, written by the MD in ‘medical-ese,’ then translated by the pharmacist into plain language on the label. Medications come in a wide variety of units, including milligrams (pills), millilitres (liquid), micrograms (inhalers/puffers) and more—a pharmacist may have to convert one unit to another (i.e., solid to liquid) to prepare the prescription. Don’t get hung up on what the prescription from your doctor says—it’s most important to talk to your pharmacist to make sure you understand the label.

5. Giving the wrong medication Always read the label for instructions and expiry date to make sure it’s right for your kid’s symptoms and age and that it has not expired. Do not remove labels from medication bottles, put medications in other containers or bags, or mix medications together. Always return pill packets to their original container with instructions and dosing information. Make a habit of periodically checking your medicine cabinet for expired meds and bring them to your drug store to be disposed of. Expiry dates are not always listed on vials and bottles, so check with your pharmacist if you’re unsure. The concern is both reduced efficacy and safety, as the drug may lose its desired effect or change in some way over time.

6. Giving medicine in the wrong spot Medicines are pretty commonly given orally, but they can also be given in the eyes or ears, up the nose, on the skin, etc. Always read the label to ensure you’re putting medicine where it’s meant to go.

Medicine safety tips

  • Keep a list of all your child’s current medications. If your child is taking one medication, always check with your doctor or pharmacist before starting another (whether it is prescription, over-the-counter, nutritional supplement or herbal medicine).
  • Keep all medication (including over-the-counter, prescription, creams, vitamins or natural/homeopathic) up high, out of reach and out of sight of children in a locked cabinet or tackle box. Put medications away after every use, even if you plan to use it again soon, and ensure the child-safety lock is secure.
  • Always tell your doctor and pharmacist about any drug/medication allergies or other allergies.
  • Make sure to store medications as instructed on the label and by your pharmacist.
  • Talk to your kids about medication and never refer to it as “candy.”
  • Ask house guests to keep bags, purses, cosmetic cases and coats containing meds up high, out of reach and out of sight of kids.
  • If your child has taken too much of a medication, call your local poison centre immediately. Program the local poison centre number into your phone and post it somewhere visible for caregivers.

Joelene Huber is a paediatrician and assistant professor of paediatrics at the University of Toronto and is affiliated with St. Michael’s Hospital and the Hospital for Sick Children, specializing in development and autism spectrum disorders. She appears regularly on TV and is a mom to two small children. Follow her on Twitter at @uberhealthykids.

Special thanks to James Tjon, pharmacist at the Hospital for Sick Children.

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