In the spirit of heart health month, we’ve put together a list of tips to help you and your family build a healthy heart.
- Learn how to do CPR and First Aid together as a family.
There’s no minimum age limit for learning these important skills, and it’s a great project to do together as a family. The Canadian Red Cross has links to a variety of courses.
- Cut back on sitting time.
Try limiting the amount of time you and your kids sit in a car or, on a school bus, or in front of a computer or television to less than two hours per day. Instead, try walking to school, kicking a ball around in the park, walking to the store instead of driving, or dancing to music.
- Take a daily walk with your loved ones.
Go for a walk with your family after dinner. Incorporating an additional 30 minutes of exercise into our daily routines is a lot easier than it seems and your heart will thank you. To get started, challenge your family to three 30 minute walks per week for one month.
- Make fast food a treat, not a regular occurrence.
All those salty and fatty foods quickly add up to an unhealthy heart, but kids (and adults) seem to love them. Keep track of the number of times you and your family consume fast food and make an effort to cut back (or, if you can, cut it out altogether).
- Make a commitment to start cooking heart healthier.
The Heart and Stroke Foundation has great heart healthy recipes, including an excellent list of kid-friendly meals. Bookmark this link and make a commitment to try one new recipe every week.
- Try one new vegetable every month.
Eat lots of the dark green, purple, and orange vegetables that are so good for your heart. Make trying new foods an adventure to set a good example for your children. Kids’ taste buds are always changing. Just because they didn’t like something last month doesn’t mean they'll dislike it now.
- Snack healthy.
Skip the chocolate bar and potato chip aisle at your local grocery store and try one of these eight healthy snacks under 150 calories instead.
- Put family exercise time on the schedule.
Scheduling exercise makes it more likely to happen. So, put a weekly trip to the local swimming pool on your calendar, organize the neighbours for a soccer game, or plan that long overdue day trip to the ski hill!
For more heart healthy tips, visit your local pharmacist.