Focus on Whole Heart Health
Although many Canadians may develop some form of cardiovascular disease, a healthy lifestyle is key to prevention. Lifestyle changes including quitting smoking, regular check-ups with your doctor and dentist, and the following three recommendations, will set you on the path toward whole heart health:
1. Eat nutritious foods: There is no need to take an all or nothing approach to your diet. Small changes can make a big impact. Learn more about the 50 best foods for your heart. Take a look and see if some of your favorite foods made the list (like dark chocolate).
If you are unsure where to start and would like a helping hand, the Heart and Stroke Foundation has put together a heart healthy meal planning toolkit you can download to get started!
2. Physical activity: Did you know that regular physical activity, even short durations (as little as 10 minutes!) have also been shown to increase memory and cognitive function, boost mood, increase energy and help regulate blood sugar? Consider “walk and talk” meetings with colleagues, take the dog for a walk around the block between (or during) meetings, or dance to your favorite song (or three!)
Visit MacMoves for more ideas on how to get active!
3. Reduce stress through compassion: Many studies show that the compassion and care we offer to others has a positive effect on our own feelings of connection and self esteem while also contributing to improved cardiovascular health. Want to thank a colleague, or let someone know you care about them? You can visit the McMaster connectME website to view and share a message on the “Wall of Kindness”, learn more about world Kindness Day (Feb 17), and the Kindness Campaign.
We often forget that we need to offer ourselves the same care and compassion we give to those we love. According to Drs. Kristin Neff and Christopher Germer, “Individuals who are more self-compassionate tend to have greater happiness, life satisfaction and motivation, better relationships and physical health, and less anxiety and depression.” Read more about the transformative effects of self compassion
Whole Heart-edly Healthy!
Check out our interactive Heart Health board this month and let us know how you are keeping your whole heart healthy! Do you have any healthy heart goals for the winter? Are there tips and resources you’d like to share with other McMaster staff and faculty? We’d love to hear from you. Read and sign our board.