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It’s Heart Health Month: Show your “ticker” some love with a commitment to regular exercise

Feb 10, 2015
written by: Catherine Cameron
written by: Catherine Cameron
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Happy Heart Health Month!  Did you know that every seven minutes, heart attack or stroke claims a life in Canada? Did you know that 90% of us have at least one risk factor.

The Heart & Stroke Foundation has a risk assessment tool that can help determine your level of risk. Their website also offers tips on prevention – including information about the important role of exercise in keeping our hearts healthy so that we can live and love for a lifetime.

With only 5% of Canadian kids and 15% of adults active enough for health benefits, it’s no wonder organizations like ParticipACTION, and health professionals throughout the country, are desperately urging parents to be active role models and to ensure their kids get at least an hour of heart-pumping activity every day. Happily, research tells us that this hour, can be divided into several mini workouts through the day. In fact, the newest research tells us that one longer workout does not counter an otherwise sedentary day, suggesting that several shorter activity breaks (think “recess” for adults!) are a smart way to go.

Exercise contributes to heart health in a number of ways:

  1. It strengthens the heart and lungs and improves the body’s ability to use oxygen.
  2. It improves circulation, helping to prevent blood clots.
  3. It helps reduce stress, tension, anxiety, and depression.
  4. It helps lower blood pressure, a major risk factor for heart disease.
  5. It helps increase the good HDL cholesterol that transports fat away from the arteries.
  6. It helps reduce body fat and supports weight maintenance.
  7. It builds muscle mass.

Sixteen million Canadians spend half of their waking hours at work, the majority in sedentary jobs. Our sedentary lives are making us sick – even killing us say some experts.

Here are 10 tips to help you make your workday more active:

  1. Choose active transportation like walking or cycling to get to work.
  2. Take walking meetings with colleagues – say no to sitting whenever you can.
  3. Drive to work? Park a few blocks from the office and walk the rest of the way.
  4. Using public transportation? Hop off the train or bus a few stops early.
  5. Start a workplace walking group.
  6. Use coffee breaks to get moving.
  7. Run errands at lunch.
  8. Ease up on the email and deliver messages in person.
  9. Swap your chair for a stability ball.
  10. Get out of your chair and move every half hour even for just a minute or two.

Tweet with us @Cate_Cameron and @Tennis_Canada. Though we have a particular passion for tennis, we hope to encourage every Canadian to be the healthiest, happiest, and most active they can be!