Summer get-togethers – Make them fun and healthy

Summer get-togethers – Make them fun and healthy

Ah, summer! It’s time to kick back and get together-at backyard bashes, picnics in the park and parades on the Fourth of July. Here are some tips on how to keep those celebrations as healthy as they are fun..

Get everybody moving. Organize gatherings around activities that get guests on their feet. Explore a local trail together or, if kids are attending, head out on a neighborhood scavenger hunt. Play active games–maybe soccer in a nearby field or croquet or volleyball in your backyard.

Serve thirst-quenching, crowd-pleasing drinks. Beat summer heat by rethinking drinks. Skip sugary sodas and offer pitchers of ice-cold water instead. Add thinly sliced lemons, limes, watermelon or strawberries for flavor.

Pile on fresh produce. Serve family and friends just-picked summer fruits and vegetables. Fresh, in-season produce is at its peak in flavor and nutrition, so be ready for requests for seconds. Think veggie kebabs, leafy green salads and big bowls of cut-up fruit.

Keep uninvited guests away. Don’t let disease-causing bacteria contaminate your food at outdoor gatherings. Place perishable foods–such as burgers, deviled eggs and potato salad–in a well-insulated cooler with plenty of ice or freezer gel packs. And keep the cooler in the shade. Bacteria multiply rapidly in warm temperatures.

Dish up a patriotic ending. Serve a red, white and blue dessert: a no-bake watermelon cake. It’s topped with white, yogurt-based frosting and mouth-watering blueberries. This sweet treat is packed with nutrients and low in calories. For the recipe, go to

Finally, be a cheerleader for healthy habits. Keep in mind that children of all ages copy what adults around them do-whether that’s eating well or moving more, even at parties.

Sources: American Institute for Cancer Research; U.S. Department of Agriculture

Go for the gold – Find fitness inspiration in the 2016 Summer Olympic Games

Go for the gold – Find fitness inspiration in the Summer Olympic Games

Looking for ways to add more fun to your fitness routine? Turn your eyes to Rio de Janeiro!

That’s the site of the Summer Olympics-and a source of some energizing exercise ideas.

As you cheer the elite athletes on to victory, consider giving these Olympic-inspired activities a try yourself:

Think boxing (an Olympic event) with a kick. Kickboxing is a popular fitness trend. This feisty whole-body workout blends aerobics with boxing- and martial arts-based jabs and kicks.

Walk a marathon-at your pace. Maybe you’re not ready to run a real marathon. But don’t let that stop you from crossing the finish line like the athletes in track-and-field events. Make it your goal to walk 26.2 miles (the length of a marathon race) over the course of several months.

Try table tennis. This fast-paced calorie-burner became an Olympic sport in 1988. Dust off that basement table tennis table. Or head to the nearest recreation center.

Give golf a go. Golf returns to the Olympics this summer after being banished from the game roster for more than 100 years. Consider adding it to your active lineup too. Be sure to walk the course to maximize movement.

Row like a pro. No boat needed for these Olympic-style cardio moves. Just hit the rowing machine at the gym. Sign up for a group class to multiply the fun.

Pedal your heart out. Olympic cyclists pedal for medal in road, mountain, track and other bike races. To get your heart racing, grab a helmet, hop on your bike and ride to glory (and good health).

Form a team. Many Olympic sports can be fun for the whole family. Try playing volleyball, badminton or soccer in your backyard. Shoot some hoops in your driveway. Or pack up the kids and tennis rackets and hit some balls at a nearby court.

Sources: American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons; American Council on Exercise; Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; International Olympic Committee; National Institutes of Health

A worthwhile-and doable-training schedule

It takes a lot of time and training to be an Olympic athlete. You don’t have to mimic those efforts, however, to be fit.

Aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity-like brisk walking or tennis-every week. And do muscle-strengthening activities, such as lifting weights or using resistance bands, on two or more days a week.

Any movement beats sitting still. But you will gain the most health benefits if you exercise regularly. Staying active could help lift your spirits, trim your waist and lower your risk of:

• Heart disease.

• Stroke.

• Type 2 diabetes.

• Some cancers, including colon cancer.

Source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

 Olympic trivia

• The ancient Olympic Games began in Greece about 3,000 years ago. They were originally held over one day. The games were suspended in 393 AD. The modern games were revived in 1896.

• The Olympic torch, which symbolizes friendship and peace, will travel this year across Brazil-mainly by foot-for nearly 100 days.

• More than 10,000 athletes from 206 countries are expected to be in Rio de Janeiro for the Summer Olympic Games. Four regions of the city will be home to 32 competition venues.

• Some of the things organizers are expecting to need for the games: 25,000 tennis balls, 8,400 shuttlecocks (for badminton), 60,000 clothes hangers and 34,000 beds.

• During 17 days of competition, 306 medal events will take place-136 for women, 161 for men and 9 mixed.

Sources: International Olympic Committee; Rio 2016

Thank you, Legends Casino!

Owned and operated by the Yakama Nation, each year Legends Casino gives a percentage of its profits to area emergency services and nonprofit agencies.

On Wednesday, the casino handed out nearly $900,000, with $464,307 given to emergency agencies and $434,027 to nonprofits. Cottage in the Meadow, North Star Lodge and Children’s Village were three (3) of nearly 200 nonprofits awarded funds in amounts ranging from $1,000 to more than $10,000.

Cottage in the Meadow Hospice Care Center and Memorial Hospital’s Hospice Program, Compass Care,  received $10,844 to serve patients and families who are struggling significantly with their day to day financial existence, and the illness and impending death of their loved one magnifies these struggles. The hospice emergency fund provides support and assistance to assure quality of life in the final stages of life’s journey.

North Star Lodge Cancer Center received $7,500 to support its cancer care fund which provides hardship assistance for patients who are forced to leave their employment during treatments, and for those who are uninsured, underinsured, or lack caregiver support. This fund helps cancer patients who need transportation to and from appointments, prescription assistance, nutritional supplements, counseling and stress reduction programs.

Children’s Village received $5,000 for its emergency fund to assist families who face significant needs, unexpected obstacles, and extraordinary expenses associated with the medical costs of having a child with special needs. This fund was established to fill in the gaps when no other options are available.

6 2 16 Legends Casino 1

Aaron Whitefoot from Legends presents a check to Carol Vanevenhoven, Oncology Service Line Director at North Star Lodge.

We are truly grateful to the Yakama Nation Legends Casino for their generosity! These grants allow us to help those patients who have the greatest need while confronting extremely difficult medical challenges.