Monday, May 4, 2009

5 Sports That Work the Whole Body


A range of muscles is employed through the course of a tennis match, even between friends. An excellent lower body workout—the muscles of the legs, in particular are called on during those quick starts and stops—tennis also calls on the muscles of the lower abdomen, arms, shoulders and back. Tennis may even be good for your bones. One study showed that tennis players had better bone health than non-tennis players.


Swimming is a fantastic low-impact (i.e. no stress on joints) workout that not only challenges cardiovascular endurance, but also builds muscle strength in the arms, legs and upper torso. Want to challenge yourself? Join a local Master’s Swim Club in your area.


Recreational rowing works the legs, arms, back, and that all-important core, which gives you strength and power. Can’t find a nearby rowing club? Practice your stroke on a rowing machine in the gym.


The continuous running, jumping, passing, catching, pivoting and twisting in a game of basketball offer even the most casual player a great cardiovascular challenge. The American Heart Association lists basketball as one of the best workouts for the heart, lungs and circulation. Its combined challenge to the cardio system and the large muscles of the upper and lower torso makes it a fat burning activity too. Burn up to 700 calories in one hour of intense play.


Volleyball is a high-energy workout that works the cardiovascular system—you can burn up to 500 calories in a 45-minute session of intense play. The games signature moves—the spike, bump, pass, etc--also work the large muscles of the torso and arms as well as the legs, thighs and calves. Even better, it can be played indoors and out. And like tennis, playing volleyball may help maintain bone density.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

How to Sell Your Stuff!

Whether you're downsizing or cleaning out the closets, you can turn unwanted stuff into extra cash. Here are ways to add a little extra money in your savings account...

1. Garage Sales

Garage sales can be an efficient way to sell a lot of items. Before you lay out your stuff in the open, advertise, organize, set up and price each items first. It's also good to organize or participate in a street or community garage sale, or team up with your neighbours. Not only will you greatly reduce your advertising costs, but having multiple sales close together is a great way to attract more buyers.

2. Classified Ads

Many people use the newspaper to sell items but a more targeted approach might also be worth your while. Try a community newsletter or professional organization magazine to reach a specific audience of people who might want to buy certain items, like a musical instrument or collector's piece. When searching for a place to advertise, consider prices and features, such as number of words allowed and whether you can include a picture. Many services also post online as well as in print.

3. Online Ads

If you want to cut costs altogether, there are numerous places online to post an ad for free. You can reach a larger audience, update the content, include links and post pictures. If you're just starting out, look for a site like Craigslist or Kijiji. If you want to reach a certain group, such as university students or musicians, look for specific bulletin boards or forums where you can post information. Keep in mind that many online shoppers expect pictures.

To protect yourself from fraud, you'll want to stay local and meet buyers in person to handle transactions.

4. Used Stores

If you'd prefer to have the cash up front, look for stores that will buy the goods directly from you rather than selling them on consignment. You won't lose out if an item is stolen, and it's any easy way to sell used books, movies, games or CDs. If you've given up a sport or want to upgrade your equipment, Play it Again Sports is worth a visit.

Check the phone book or local community directory for a list of consignment and second-hand stores in your area.

5. Local networks

Chances are you've seen plenty of "for sale" flyers posted in your community with the numbers at the bottom that can be torn off. If this method is a little too public for you, look for a bulletin board with a limited audience, such as at your workplace, community centre or place of worship.

Also, let your friends, family or coworkers know you're looking to sell an item. Perhaps someone they know is looking for a deal.

You've decided to sell... What else do you need to know?

6. Consignment Stores

You can often get more money for quality, high-end items like furniture and clothing by selling them through a consignment store rather than a garage sale. The store does all the work for you, and takes a commission for its trouble.

It may take some calling around to find the right place. Ask about terms and conditions before you sell. Find out how much the item is worth (re-sale value) and what rate of commission will be taken -- it could be as high as 60 per cent. You'll also want to know how long an item will be kept before it is put on sale or clearance. Many stores require appointments to inspect the goods, and there may be a limit on the age and condition.

7. Online stores

If you have an extensive collection of books, movies or music to sell, you can become an independent seller through a larger service such as Alibris or Amazon. Regular access to the Internet, a credit card and computer savvy are a must. Make sure to inquire about fees -- they vary among services. Some may charge an annual fee, monthly fee or transaction fee in addition to a 15 per cent commission.


Trade in or trade up: Cars aren't the only thing you can trade in: many stores will negotiate a trade in value or give you store credit for used items like cameras, books or CDs. Look for stores where used items are for sale and ask about their policies.

Safety Matters: As a vendor, it's your responsibility to make sure that items you sell are safe. Children's furniture, toys and accessories are subject to strict safety standards -- standards which have changed over the years. Anything that is cracked, broken or has sharp edges could lead to injury. (For more information and resources, see How safe is second-hand stuff?)

Protect your privacy: Many people prefer to use email as the initial mode of communication to protect their privacy and screen potential buyers. Try setting up an account with a free online service such as Gmail, Hotmail or Yahoo that you use specifically for this purpose. The emails will be easier to manage, and your regular email address won't be subject to spam.

If you want to post pictures and details online, take out a free online ad rather than sending people to a personal website, blog or social networking page where your personal information can be accessed.


8. Auctions

You've probably heard a story where a priceless antique or expensive piece of artwork was found at a garage sale. It's great if you're the buyer, but you don't want to be on the other side of that story. Consider having your high-value items appraised and auctioned professionally. Many auction houses now have online services or advertising to reach more people.

9. Online Auctions

There are many reasons online auction sites such as eBay and Bazaario have become so popular. They're an efficient way to connect sellers with buyers around the world, and they offer an infrastructure to handle bidding and payment. These sites can get your rare, collectable and hard-to-find items in front of a larger audience.

But are they right for you? If you have a lot to sell and plan to sell on an ongoing basis, it's worth your time to set up an account and learn the system. (eBay has a set of tutorials for beginners through their eBay University Learning Center).

10. eBay consignment stores or Trading Assistant

If you only have one or two items it may not be worth the time and effort to set up your own account with an online auction site. However, you can get someone to sell the item for you instead. These stores offer the price-fetching benefits of online auctions with the hands-off approach of consignment stores. You take your item in to the shop and someone manages the online auction part for you. They earn their money by taking a commission. Some services even pick up items or have drop-off locations.

You can find a store in your local directory or through eBay's Trading Assistant Directory.

To sell, or not to sell it yourself

What's the best way to sell your stuff? It depends on how quickly you want to get rid of the item, how much money you want to earn and how much time and effort you are willing to put into it. Usually, you'll earn more money if you handle the sale yourself and cut out the "middle man" (the auction or the used store, for example).

However, don't underestimate how much your time is worth. Are you prepared to handle phone calls and emails from prospective buyers, or have visitors in your home to see items? Is it convenient for you to monitor an online auction and prepare items for shipping? Is it worth it to pay a commission if an expert can get a higher price?

Overall, the trick is to find a method that best suits the item you want to sell and, more importantly, your lifestyle.

Cornmeal Waffles with Eggs

Servings: 4

1-1/4 cups (300 mL) all-purpose flour
3/4 cup (175 mL) cornmeal
2 tsp (10 mL) baking powder
1 tsp (5 mL) baking soda
3/4 tsp (4 mL) each salt and pepper
8 eggs
2 cups (500 mL) buttermilk
1/4 cup (50 mL) vegetable oil
1/4 cup (50 mL) shredded monterey jack or cheddar cheese (optional)


In large bowl, whisk together flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda and 1/2 tsp (2 mL) each of the salt and pepper. In separate bowl, whisk together 2 of the eggs, buttermilk and 3 tbsp (45 mL) of the oil; pour over dry ingredients. Stir with wooden spoon just until moistened.

Heat waffle iron; brush with some of the remaining oil. Pour in 1/2 cup (125 mL) batter for each waffle, spreading to edges; close lid and cook until steam stops and waffle is crisp and golden, 4 minutes. (Make-ahead: Let cool, wrap individually and freeze in airtight containers for up to 2 weeks.)

In bowl, whisk together remaining eggs, salt and pepper and 1 tbsp (15 mL) water; cook in nonstick skillet over medium heat, stirring gently, until scrambled and set, 3 minutes. Sprinkle with cheese (if using). Serve with waffles.

Additional Information
Cornmeal Pancakes with Eggs: Use nonstick skillet instead of waffle iron; cook until bubbles break on top but do not fill in, 1-1/2 to 2 minutes. Turn and cook until underside is golden, about 1 minute.

What to ask your Doctor...

The following are a few tips on how to better prepare for your next trip, as well as a list of the vital questions you need to ask the family doc. Print it out before your next appointment and highlight the questions and tips that apply to you.

Before you go
• Create a list of medications you are taking and the dosages (including prescription and nonprescription such as aspirin, antihistamines and vitamins).
• Write down when your problem started and the symptoms you have been experiencing, including headaches, weight loss, weight gain, pain while swallowing, change in bowel movements, limb weakness or memory problems.
• Be able to describe what type of pain you are having, whether it's dull, throbbing or stabbing.
• Take your temperature ahead of time.
• Think if there have been any recent changes in your life, diet, appetite, stress, mood, body, libido or alcohol consumption that might contribute to your condition.
• Make an appointment or find out what your doctor's office hours are.
• Investigate whether your doctor works out of more than one office.
• Record the phone number to call in case of an after-hours emergency.
• Find out who to speak with if the doctor isn't available.
• Take a look around to see if there's anyone else in your home having the same problem.
• If you've had this problem before, think back to what you did for it then.
• Find out of there is a family history of what you are experiencing.

What to ask your doctor
• State your main problem.
• Describe your symptoms and if you've had these symptoms or problems in the past.
• While you're there, don't be afraid to ask your doctor to explain any medical terms you don't understand.

The basics:
• Do I need a follow-up appointment?
• How long will my recovery take?
• How will this condition affect me in the future?
• Do I need to make any dietary or lifestyle changes?
• Is there somewhere I can find more information on this problem?
• Should I get a second opinion? Is there anyone you'd recommend I get a second opinion from?
• If my symptoms worsen, what can I do on my own?
• Could there be more than one condition causing my problem?

• Why do I need this particular medication?
• Is there a generic equivalent to this drug?
• How long will I have to take this medication?
• What are the risks associated with this drug?
• Are there any side-effects if I forget to take it?
• Are there any alternatives?
• How do I take this medication properly?
• Is there anything I should avoid while taking this drug, such as certain foods or activities?
• How will this new drug react with my current medication?
• What should I do if the medication isn't working?
• Are there any non-drug measures that might work instead?

Tests and treatments:
• Can you explain this treatment or test?
• How urgent is this test or treatment?
• Will my condition change if I have to wait for test results or treatment?
• What happens if I don't have this test or treatment?
• How safe are these tests or treatments?
• Is there anything I need to do to prepare for the tests?
• Will I be called with the test results or will I have to call?
• When can I expect to start treatment?
• If I get this test or treatment somewhere else, what should I know?
• Will I have to cover the costs of any of these tests or treatments out of my own pocket?

Specialists and surgery:
• Why do I need to see a specialist?
• How soon should I see this specialist?
• Why have you referred me to this particular specialist?
• Is there a specialist who can perform the same surgery sooner?
• What are my options with surgery? Are there different procedures or just one?
• What are the benefits and risks of this surgery?

Related Link... How to Find a Family Doctor in Canada