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Coffee is good, sustainable coffee is best!

Coffee is good, sustainable coffee is best!

coffee beans

Why Organic, Fair Trade, Shade Grown Coffee

Organic Fair Trade coffee is different from ‘plain old’ Fair Trade coffee. It’s better for the environment, better for everyone’s health and provides a better standard of living for the farmer.

Farmers who grow coffee organically use renewable resources. They conserve soil and water to sustain the environment for future generations. They protect human health by avoiding pollutants, pesticides and herbicides. And they create an ecosystem that’s healthy for wildlife and birds.

Why Kicking Horse Coffee

Kicking Horse is a Canadian company that buys and sells only 100% certified organic, shade-grown coffee that’s fit for our feathered friends. Why? Because they know it’s the right thing to do and because the birds are an important part of the ecosystem that cross-pollinates and feeds the coffee plants.

Their Story

Kicking Horse Coffee was opened in 1996 by a couple in British Columbia, roasting coffee beans in the rocky mountain air. By 1998 they knew the importance of fair-trade and joined Transfair Canada (the only independent, not-for-profit certification body for fair trade products sold in Canada). In 2003 Kicking Horse Coffee made the conscious decision to discontinue all conventional coffee and focus efforts on purchasing and roasting only 100% certified organic coffee.

By 2007, despite increasing pressure to source more green beans, Kicking Horse Coffee committed to discontinue the purchase of all non-fair trade coffee and develop their current 100% Certified Organic, Certified Fair Trade only, 21-blend product offering. In 2009 they were awarded Canada’s #1 Organic Fair Trade Organic Coffee for the 13th year in a row.

Kicking Horse Coffee Mission

“Our mission is to stimulate the planet with the ultimate wake-up call. We have some big ideas — ideas that go way beyond mere profit. These ideas govern everything we do, from buying only Fair Trade, organic beans to helping sustain our own community.”

Before coffee can be labelled organic, an approved agency must inspect the farm to certify that the farmer is following the guidelines necessary to meet organic standards.

Their organic certifying body, EcoCert Canada (the same one that certifies Healthtree’s Gourmet juices and meals) – annually inspects Kicking Horse Coffee’s operations to ensure ongoing organic product handling compliance. Kicking Horse Coffee currently meets or exceeds national Organic certification requirements in Canada, the United States and in Europe.

Shade grown, friendly for birds

All Kicking Horse Coffee comes from Arabica beans that are grown in the shade of the rainforest canopy. Growing coffee in the shade means growing coffee under a light canopy of varied vegetation at high altitudes. This creates a superior coffee cherry (bean) and a more resilient ecosystem.

A healthy ecosystem attracts birds, which assist in the cross-pollination of cherries and the distribution of beans and seeds, enhancing plant distribution and diversity. Organic growing creates a situation that’s win-win-win-win-win… for farmers, for communities, for wildlife, for consumers and for the planet.

At Healthtree we believe in supporting companies that care about our health, the environment and their communities… which is why we feel Kicking Horse Coffee is a healthier and incredibly delicious choice.

To learn more about Kicking Horse Coffee, visit them online at

For more information on organic, shade-grown coffee, read these great articles:

  • Everyday Environmentalist: Buy sustainable coffee by Jonathon D. Colman on The Nature Conservacy’s website at
  • Toute la lumière sur les cultures à l’ombre, Pure Green Magazine website.

Healthtree Revealed

Healthtree Revealed

Your community organic & natural health store

healthtree store front

Health and wellness is on the top of everyone’s to-do list so why isn’t it easier to solve problems like weight gain and retention, low energy, digestive issues such as irritable bowel syndrome, fuzzy thinking, dry and damaged skin, and more? The solution begins with getting to the root of the matter and fueling your body with natural, nutritious food and supplements.

Healthtree is an organic and natural health food store located at the corner of Saint-Jean and de Salaberry in Dollard-des-Ormeaux, celebrating our 24th year in business. Our bright and spacious store carries a wide variety of organic and natural health products:

  • organic fruits and vegetables
  • organic and naturally raised meat
  • wild and sustainably raised fish
  • fresh products including vegetarian and vegan options
  • one of the largest gluten free departments in Quebec
  • great grocery choices
  • organic and natural cosmetics and personal care products
  • a large nutrition supplements department
healthtree gourmet

Healthtree also has the only Ecocert Canada certified organic juice bar on the West Island and prepares healthy and delicious meals to go under our own Gourmet brand, including an incredible array of salads and other dishes, soups, wraps, with gluten free and raw delicacies too. Here you can pick up healthy snacks like raw pecan bites and raw brownies, nutritious and unbelievably delicious. Bring a healthy lunch to work with chicken and a combo of your favorite salads or pop in to pick up a healthy soup and rice wrap with peanut butter sauce.

It’s nutrition you can feel good about for your whole family. There are powerful forces at play that make it difficult to change limiting lifestyle habits like eating processed food with its high fat and sugar content, insufficient exercise, work stress and daily pressures so it’s no wonder everyone feels overwhelmed.

“People are getting sicker and we believe that a natural approach to health is the answer,” says John Brody, President and Founder of Healthtree. “Organic and natural food, free of pesticides, growth hormones and antibiotics, is the foundation for good health, providing our bodies with the nutrients needed for wellness. Natural health supplements can provide you with the nutrients you’re missing and organic and natural personal care products free you from the toxins and chemicals found in traditional products that are absorbed through the skin. There is a growing awareness that we are seeing in our store.”

Healthtree has expanded several times over the years and this year saw the launch of the our new loyalty program with the Healthtree Rewards Card, a new website and the re-launch of Healthtree News, our monthly newsletter providing subscribers with health information, product news and store events to keep customers up to date. The Healthtree Facebook page lets fans know when new items are added to the website and store, and provides links to other resources on health, the environment and charities.

Healthtree’s real strength is our people. In the age of big box stores, customers appreciate Healthtree’s knowledgeable and friendly employees, who go out of their way to help you find what you’re looking for and answer your questions.

“Our customers are the driving force in our business,” continues Brody. “They appreciate our help and educate us in return, helping us set the compass for the store’s growth. We appreciate the feedback and knowledge our customers share with us about the organic and natural food, health and beauty products and natural health supplements that we carry.”

Healthtree has also been acknowledged as a leader in the natural health industry. We have won the Canadian Health Food Association’s (CHFA) highest honour for health food stores, The Brock Elliott Award for Excellence, not once but twice as well as the CHFA Spotlight Award for Giving in recognition of Healthtree’s generosity to their community. “Healthtree has the best team in our industry,” beams Brody. “We knew that but it’s nice to have it confirmed by our peers. It’s appreciated but our greatest reward is when our customers tell us they like shopping at Healthtree and keep coming back.”

In addition to the news and specials on our website, there are even more specials and demos in-store so don’t be shy to explore the aisles. Then join our loyalty program and receive your Healthtree Rewards Card to save even more every time you shop. There’s always something new happening at Healthtree to help you reach your goal of being the best you can be.

“We believe that we are partners with our customers in health and live by our motto ‘Our mission is your nutrition’,” concludes Brody. “Now more than ever we believe that optimal nutrition is the key to wellness and we’re grateful for the opportunity to practice that belief every day. So come and see us… we look forward to serving you at Healthtree.”

healthtree logo

3827 Saint-Jean Blvd. at de Salaberry, Dollard-des-Ormeaux, QC, 514-624-2896

Healthtree Gourmet Kitchen serves up certified goodness

Healthtree Gourmet Kitchen serves up certified goodness

Healthtree Gourmet Kitchen sunshine juice

It’s a dream come true – fast food that’s healthy for you! Healthree’s Gourmet Kitchen makes healthy meals from scratch, catering to a wide variety of diets including vegetarian, vegan, gluten free and raw.

Here you’ll find the West Island’s only certified organic juice bar, serving up delicious organic juices with names like Sunshine, Vitality and Refresh – there’s a Chunky Monkey too. Certified organic by Ecocert Canada, Healthtree juices had to meet high standards before being labelled Ecocert certified.

Start your day with a muffin and a juice – great coffee is available too (organic, fair trade and shade grown, it’s the best coffee by far)! For lunch and supper, choose from Gourmet’s wholesome soups, a colourful array of nutritious salads (you can try several in one serving), vegetarian rice wraps with peanut butter sauce, tortilla wraps full of chicken and vegetables, lasagne and more.

Even desserts here can be healthy. Gluten free brownies and cookies taste just as good as the originals and Gourmet’s raw Heartbreak Brownie will have you convinced healthy can be delicious. For a nutritious, satisfying snack, the raw pecan bites are perfect for a mid-morning or afternoon break.

Carved out of a seemingly full store, the Gourmet Kitchen quickly became a favourite with customers and a focal point for new customers exploring the store. Gourmet meals are made with fresh ingredients from the store such as the fruits and vegetables in Healthtree’s 100% organic produce section. Their kitchen only uses produce from the store and if it’s not organic, it’s refused at the door.

Organic production is based on sustainable principles that are healthy for people, animals and the environment such as using natural ingredients, protecting fresh water sources, ensuring biological diversity and maintaining soil fertility for years to come.

To be certified organic, a product must meet the following criteria:

  • No synthetic pesticides
  • No synthetic preservatives
  • No chemical fertilizers
  • No hormones or antibiotics
  • No genetically modified organisms (GMO’s)
  • Humane treatment of animals
  • Preservation of ecological integrity

Here’s how certification works. Ecocert Canada awards certification by item so rather than providing organic certification to Healthtree’s Gourmet Kitchen as a whole, Healthtree has to send their Gourmet items to Ecocert instead. The kitchen passed Ecocert inspection and is qualified to create organic dishes but the Ecocert Canada seal only applies to the items they have inspected and approved. Once approved, Healthtree has to always make it that way; if variations of the recipe are desired, then each of those variations has to be certified separately. Confused yet?!

It’s all about accountability and tracing food back to its source. Organic food has to be received in shipping, entered into the inventory tracking system, put in a dated bin and used in a dated recipe. Upon inspection by Ecocert Canada, they have to be able to check it back to the invoice and go back to the supplier to verify the sale and so on, to go right back to the source to ensure its organic.

If Healthtree can’t get an organic ingredient for one of their Gourmet recipes, they will use a product that is produced with organic practices, but hasn’t yet been certified organic. On each Gourmet label, the ingredients are always listed and organic ingredients are identified with a star.

The bottom line is ingredients you can see and goodness you can trust. Healthtree’s Gourmet meals are as notable for what’s not in them (preservatives & chemicals) as what is in them – fresh, natural and organic ingredients… and love! Come in to Healthtree and taste how great healthy fast food can be.

Natural Sun Protection

Natural Sun Protection



Summer is here and the stores are full of sunscreens, all promising to protect us from the sun with Sun Protection Factors (SPFs) of 30, 50 and even 70. But are all sunscreens created equal? The short answer is no but with a few guidelines and a lot of common sense, you can have a safe and healthy summer outside.

The best kept secret of the summer is Environmental Working Group’s (EWG) Sun Safety website. Read on for highlights of a few of the gems you can find there.

A little common sense

Summer hats are more than great fashion sense, they’re common sense! EWG suggests you adopt these five summer habits to protect yourself from the sun naturally, before you even think about sunscreens.

  1. Don’t get burned. Red, sore, blistered or peeling skin means far too much sun – and raises your skin cancer risk.
  2. Wear clothes. Shirts, hats, shorts and pants provide the best protection from ultraviolet (UV) rays – and they don’t coat your skin with goop.
  3. Find shade – or make it. Picnic under a tree, read beneath an umbrella, take a canopy to the beach. Keep infants in the shade – they lack the tanning pigments known as melanin to protect their skin.
  4. Plan around the sun. Go outdoors in early morning or late afternoon, when the sun is lower. UV radiation peaks at midday.
  5. Sunglasses aren’t just a fashion accessory. Good shades protect your eyes from UV radiation that causes cataracts.

Through your skin

When you rub a cream, lotion or sunscreen on your skin, you’re absorbing it into your body. It’s the reason that some medicines are available as patches – by applying the patch to your arm or stomach, the medicine is absorbed into your body and does its work, just as if you had swallowed a pill. With that in mind, here are seven guidelines you can use for selecting a sunscreen:

  • No spray sunscreens – not as effective & inhalation risks
  • No super-high SPFs – danger of staying out in the sun too long
  • No oxybenzone and other endocrine disrupting chemicals (need we say more)
  • No retinyl palmitate – may speed development of skin tumours & lesions
  • No combined sunscreen/bug repellents – can be less effective & absorbing more chemicals
  • No sunscreen towelettes or powders – dubious protection & lung irritation risk
  • No tanning oils – little or no sun protection

Sun safe products

So what can you use that protects you from the sun and protects your body from harmful chemicals. Well you’ve come to the right place because Healthtree has a great choice of natural and organic skin care products that are kind to you and your skin.

Sunscreens from natural health companies like Kiss My Face, Green Beaver, Goddess Garden, Alba Botanica, Jason, just to name a few – all rank well in EWG’s Skin Deep database, now in a handy mobile app! You can enter the product name or scan the barcode to get the product ranking: green (1-2) means the product’s ingredients have a low hazard score and a good rating; brown (3-5) has a moderate hazard score and ranking while red (6-7) has high hazard ingredients and a poor ranking. Skin Deep is not just for sunscreens; it works for other personal care products as well.

Need vitamin D?

And remember, if you’re staying out of the sun or always using sunscreen, it’s best to have your health care professional test your vitamin D level. You manufacture vitamin D, a nutrient that helps your body absorb calcium (important for healthy bones and teeth), when your skin is exposed to sunlight. If you’re low, vitamin D supplements will top you up.

For more information about sunscreens, visit EWG’s Sun Safety website. And don’t forget to download their Skin Deep app. Have a safe and healthy summer!

EWG website

Nutritionist Julie Daniluk

Nutritionist Julie Daniluk



Nutritionist Julie Daniluk visited Healthtree in April to talk about healthy eating and her new book Slimming Meals that Heal. Diets fail because they are a self-imposed temporary food prison that we can’t wait to escape. Slimming Meals That Heal will shatter your need to count calories and will conquer cravings by offering the Live-It program, a delicious new way of eating that reduces the inflammation that looms in the background of anyone who struggles with their weight.

Julie hosts Healthy Gourmet on the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN), a reality cooking show that looks at the ongoing battle between taste and nutrition. Her award-winning bestseller, Meals That Heal Inflammation, has helped over 100,000 people enjoy allergy-free foods that taste great and assist the body in the healing process. Julie has appeared on hundreds of television and radio shows including The Dr. Oz Show and is a resident expert for The Marilyn Denis Show and Reader’s Digest.

Get your copy of Slimming Meals that Heal by Julie Daniluk at Healthtree today!

Nancy’s Soy Yogurt

Nancy’s Soy Yogurt

Nancy’s Soy Yogurt is pure and simple: organic soy milk and live cultures are the foundation for every soy yogurt. Organic ingredients support sustainable farming, a topic on everyone’s mind for Earth Day. Nancy’s Soy Yogurt is vegan and fully cultured with casei, rhamnosus, acidophilus, bifidum, thermophiles, and bulgaricus. It contains real fruit and has no cane sugar; instead it is sweetened with organic kosher white grape juice, organic agave and/or organic maple syrup. It also has added calcium and is made with Nancy’s own organic amazake, a traditional sweet Japanese drink made from fermented rice.

So who is Nancy? Nancy Van Brasch Hamren was hired on as Springfield Creamery’s bookkeeper sometime after Woodstock in the early 70s. Her grandmother was a natural health advocate who wrote a book about health and wellness in 1939 and ran one of the first health stores in the 50s. Nancy learned about yogurt from her and shared her knowledge with Springfield Creamery owner Chuck Kesey. Together they experimented and created Nancy’s yogurt in 1970, and soy products followed. The 70s were tough in the yogurt business but Springfield survived by having the Grateful Dead perform a benefit concert for about 20,000 fans. After building a modern facility, an electrical fire destroyed their factory but their customers hung in there with them and they’ve never looked back since. And Nancy still tastes every batch of yogurt they make.

Happy Mother’s Day

Happy Mother’s Day


Mothers are the world’s greatest life support system. They feed you, keep you clean, get you to where you want to go, nurture you, give you a shoulder to cry on, and they are the definition of multi-tasking! But putting family first often means Moms come last, which isn’t a good long-term strategy. Just like Mother Earth needs to be kept healthy so all life on it can thrive, Moms need to be healthy so everyone around them can flourish.

Healthtree supports Moms in many ways with:

  • Healthier natural and organic food
  • Natural health supplements to replenish the precious vitamins and minerals you may be missing
  • Healthy prepared meals from the Healthtree Gourmet kitchen, catering to various diets such as vegan, vegetarian, and gluten free
  • Natural and organic products for all your health and beauty needs, from fluoride-free toothpaste to rich and natural soaps, creams and make-up
  • Information and lots of it! Our Wellness Blog is full of articles about living in wellness and resolving health issues with diet, exercise and stress reduction. There is a little something for everyone.
  • Answers to your questions! Healthtree staff will always take the time to answer your questions about the health benefits of any product in our store and ensure that you leave Healthtree with the wellness products that are right for you.

So if you haven’t already, make Mother’s Day your launching pad for building a regimen of self-care into your life and make Healthtree your partner in wellness. Gift certificates are available, just in case your family needs a hint for a little something for Mom.

Your Healthtree family wishes you a very Happy Mother’s Day. 🙂

Prevent diabetes diet

Prevent diabetes diet


An excerpt from The Blood Sugar Solution book by Dr. Mark Hyman

Food is the biggest weapon you have in fighting diabetes and other insulin-related disorders.

Type 2 diabetes and other insulin-related health disorders such as metabolic syndrome are the biggest global health epidemic of our time. What we eat is the most important factor in preventing them.

When your diet is full of empty calories and an abundance of quickly absorbed sugars and refined carbohydrates, your cells slowly become resistant or numb to the effects of insulin.

This six-week program uses food as medicine to regulate your metabolism, blood sugar and insulin levels.

Get the full recipes here.

How it works:

  1. Eat food that improves your genes To turn off the genes that lead to diabetes and turn on the genes that lead to health, the key is the type of food you eat ñ plant-based whole foods rich in nutrients. This type of diet will also regulate your hormones, improve digestion and metabolism and keep your stress levels down.
  2. Eat food with a low glycaemic index (GI) Low-GI foods don’t spike blood sugar and insulin.
  3. Spend two weeks preparing Measure your height, weight, waist size, blood pressure, body mass index (BMI) and waist-to-height ratio before you start. It is also recommended that you get tested for other biochemical imbalances. The results may require you to take supplements or make dietary changes. Tools for measuring and tracking your health are available at
  4. Clean toxic foods out of your kitchen and stock it with the foods that create health.
  5. One week before the program begins, cut out all sugar, flour products, highly processed carbs and stimulants such as caffeine, alcohol and sedatives.

Recommended foods

  • Slow-burning, low-GI vegetables These should be the basis of your diet. These include broccoli, asparagus, spinach, silverbeet, kale, cabbage, bok choy and cauliflower. Aim for five serves a day.
  • Garlic and onions Eat them every day if you can. They lower cholesterol and blood pressure, contain antioxidants and are anti-inflammatories.
  • Heathy animal products These include omega-3-rich fish such as wild salmon and sardines; mercury-free fish, prawns and scallops; omega-3 or free-range eggs; and (organic if possible) grass-fed poultry.
  • Seaweed Kombu, nori, hijiki and wakame are all extraordinarily high in minerals, protein and healing compounds.
  • Green tea It contains anti-inflammatory, detoxifying and antioxidant phytonutrients. The small amount of caffeine is usually well tolerated by most.
  • Whole soy products These include tempeh, tofu and miso.
  • Nuts The best are almonds, walnuts, macadamias, hazelnuts and pecans. Stick with 10 to 12 nuts once or twice a day.
  • Seeds Pumpkin, sunflower and sesame seeds are all high in fibre, protein, vitamins and minerals.
  • Gluten-free wholegrains Eat up to half a cup a day of brown, black and red rice, quinoa, amaranth or buckwheat.
  • Beans or legumes They are rich in protein and filled with fibre, minerals and vitamins that help balance blood sugar.
  • Berries Blueberries, cherries, blackberries and raspberries are filled with phytonutrients.
  • Apple, pears and stone fruit They are healthy and full of fibre and healing chemicals. Limit to one to two pieces a day.

This is an edited extract from The Blood Sugar Solution (Hachette, $29.99) by Dr. Mark Hyman. You can find the full article, including foods to limit, foods to avoid, and meal ideas on this Body and Soul website.

Holistic Care for a Healthy Heart

Holistic Care for a Healthy Heart


Our hearts are a vital and central organ in our health and hold the power and capacity for us to live to our fullest. The heart pumps blood, the waters of our existence, throughout the body delivering vital nutrients and oxygen to all parts for optimal function. It also picks up waste matter to be delivered to the proper body stations for transformation or elimination. It is imperative that we have, and give ourselves, the finest care for our hearts.

The first step to a healthier heart is in our diets. Alcohol, tobacco, fast foods, and other toxins should be eliminated from the diet, or modified if a healthier choice exists. An example of healthy modification would be red wine (alcohol). High in resveratrol, it has been proven to reduce the risk of heart disease because of its antioxidant content. Other antioxidants that destroy free radicals (that tamper with heart health) can be found in fruits and vegetables, nuts, seeds and grains. The more colors you digest, the larger the spectrum of different antioxidants you are consuming. So eat as brightly as possible to brighten your heart health.

Here are a few more heart healthy tips.

  • Table salts are highly toxic and may cause or contribute to high blood pressure. However natural sea salts and mountain salts, such as Himalayan salt, hold high amounts of minerals which aid in good heart health and normal heart rhythm.
  • Nuts such as coconut, almonds and walnuts contribute to cholesterol health and walnuts in particular can also help remove plaque from arteries.
  • Some spices and herbs can assist heart health by thinning the blood which is helpful in lowering high blood pressure, a cause of added stress to the heart. A few examples are hawthorn berry, garlic, willow bark, turmeric and cayenne.
  • Besides the herbs and spices, some supplements such as CoQ10, chlorophyll (which helps deliver iron and oxygen to the cells), aerobic oxygen, cell food, iron, and minerals might be added for heart health if your diet is inadequate and extra nutrients are required.
  • If you are a meat eater then use olive oil along with your meat preparation to help break down the bad fats before consumption.
  • The heart chakra is about water. For heart health keep the body hydrated with the purest water available.

Remember that your heart is serving all the other organs. If the other organs are compromised then the heart has to work harder to maintain health and life. Nourish and cleanse accordingly and keep your whole body as fit as possible.

Meditation calms the heart into a peaceful rhythm. Quiet your mind of all disturbances. Find stillness within you and ask your waters to become smooth waves. Feel the peace it provides running through your veins into all organs and parts of you until you vibrate calmness and bliss.

Exercise is extremely important but there is a trend of doing so with added stress. Stress causes wear and tear on the heart so take some exercise time to play. A healthy heart is a playful and joyful heart. Let go of all stress and play like a healthy, carefree child. Act silly. Free your heart of the tensions that we believe are necessary for success. A playful heart will attract and ease others even in the most serious situations. Play will also release harsh emotions that may break the heart and will instead release endorphins which will lift the emotional heart.

Living life filled with love for all fills our hearts with the medicine it requires most.


Susan Greenspan, Naturopath & Energetic Therapist

For a consultation, please contact Susan Greenspan at She will help you make the lifestyle changes needed to be a healthier you. For all your organic nutrition and supplements needs, please visit Healthtree at 3827 Saint Jean Blvd. in Dollard-des-Ormeaux or online at

Copyright © 2014, Susan Greenspan.

To learn more, visit our page Healthtree Professionals.

The Benefits of Walking

The Benefits of Walking


Walking Toward a Healthier You

There are countless physical activities out there, but walking has the lowest dropout rate of them all! It’s the simplest positive change you can make to effectively improve your heart health.


Research has shown that the benefits of walking and moderate physical activity for at least 30 minutes a day can help you:

  • Reduce the risk of coronary heart disease
  • Improve blood pressure and blood sugar levels
  • Improve blood lipid profile
  • Maintain body weight and lower the risk of obesity
  • Enhance mental well being
  • Reduce the risk of osteoporosis
  • Reduce the risk of breast and colon cancer
  • Reduce the risk of non-insulin dependent (type 2) diabetes

There really are so many benefits for such a simple activity!

Sole-Mate: A Friend By Your Side

The thought of being alone can be enough to keep some people from walking. The best way to solve this is by finding a friend to walk with. You can plan walking paths that are convenient for both of you, or map out routes that take you places you’ve never been before. It’s a great way to exercise and spend time with friends!

Article courtesy of The American Heart Association

Heartwalk Workout

The HeartWalk Workout is a special activity program developed by the Heart and Stroke Foundation to help people with cardiovascular problems get regular, healthy physical activity.

Read more