Heart Health Month is February

Heart disease is the second leading cause of death in Canada (behind cancer, which is something that everyone is used to me writing about!). We can all reduce our risk of heart disease by making healthy lifestyle and food choices. It is also important to get enough sleep and exercise regularly.

February is Heart Health Month. If your New Year’s resolution of getting into better shape and leading a healthier life hasn’t come into fruition yet, make February your month. Swap your French fries for a side salad or veggies. Instead of chips, snack on nuts and seeds. Little changes can go a long way. Eat from all the colours of the rainbow (just to be clear – I mean vegetables, not Skittles!).

Physical activity is extremely important as well. It will help with your mood, controlling your weight, reducing blood pressure, and reducing the risk of diabetes, to name a few. Starting off with a half-hour walk on your lunch break is a great way to begin being more active. I try to walk every lunch hour with a colleague of mine, and not only is it great for us physically, but it gives us a sort of therapy session and we come back to our afternoons refreshed and happy.

It is important to instill this on our children as well. It is recommended that children participate in at least 60 minutes of activity a day. Physical activity for our kids should be fun. Get them off the couch and iPad, and have them play outside. If it is too cold outside, take them to indoor jungle gyms. A popular thing in our house (especially if you know my daughter) are dance parties. We turn on music and dance our sillies out. The other night we put on some funny songs from when I was little (i.e., I’m Too Sexy by Right Said Fred). It is great family bonding time, and we work up quite the sweat! 

When someone is having a heart attack, it is important to get help fast. Many establishments have public access defibrillators. Shopping malls, arenas, and offices are starting more and more to have these. I even have one in my office at the school I work at. Learning CPR is a smart and responsible thing to do. You can make a difference in YOUR life by healthy lifestyle changes, but by taking a four-hour CPR class you can make a difference in SOME ONE ELSE’S life.

Be heart smart!

Joy Rodgers is a working mom who, we can now say, is a cancer survivor.