February is Heart Month in Canada. Time to talk about heart disease and strokes.
It’s no surprise that the Canadian Heart and Stroke Foundation lists an unhealthy diet, smoking, lack of physical activity, excessive alcohol intake and stress as well-established risks for heart disease and stroke.
What is surprising is the Heart and Stroke Foundation’s finding that “vascular diseases – including diabetes, stroke, hypertension and heart disease – are the leading cause of preventable death and disability in Canada”.
The Heart and Stroke Foundation’s 2014 Report on Health found that even survivors of heart attacks and strokes, “face many barriers in making and maintaining changes, the biggest of which is related to motivation, which is defined as a lack of interest, a feeling that the goals are unrealistic and that there is too much change required all at once”.
The Mayo clinic offers these fitness tips to help keep you motivated:
- Set goals – Start with simple goals and then progress to longer range goals. Remember to make your goals realistic and achievable.
- Make it Fun – Find sports or activities you enjoy and then vary the routine.
- Make Physical Activity Part of Your Daily Routine – If it’s hard to find time for exercise, don’t fall back on excuses. Schedule workouts as you would any other important activity.
- Put it on Paper – Are you hoping to lose weight? Boost your energy? Sleep better? Manage a chronic condition? Write it down. Seeing the benefits of regular exercise on paper may help you stay motivated.
- Join Forces with Others – You’re not in this alone. Invite friends, family or co-workers to join you when you exercise.
- Reward Yourself – After each exercise session, take a few minutes to savor the good feelings that exercise gives you. This type of internal reward can help you make a long-term commitment to regular exercise. External rewards can help, too. When you reach a longer range goal, treat yourself to a new pair of walking shoes or new tunes to enjoy while you exercise.
- Be Flexible – If you’re too busy to work out or simply don’t feel up to it, take a day or two off. Be gentle with yourself if you need a break. The important thing is to get back on track as soon as you can.
“The more we can do to persuade people to adopt healthier behaviours, the more we can save lives and make health last.”
~ Dr. Duncan Stewart, professor of medicine at the University of Ottawa.
Find out you if your health is at risk and take the Heart and Stroke Risk AssessmentTM.