If you didn’t know already, February is Heart Health Month, put on by the people behind the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada. This charity is near to my heart as my father-in-law has suffered from strokes and turned his whole life around to be a healthier, fitter, stronger version of himself. He really showed me that anyone of any age and background can really change their ways, they just need a little motivation. The key is to get motivated before it is too late.
So I’ve partnered with Staples Canada for the month of February on the #GetOutAndGoto campaign to set some goals and talk about health, fitness, diet and something many people forget to mention, happiness. All of these things are truly intertwined. It’s hard to be happy when you don’t feel healthy or your poor diet makes you sick. Many factors contribute to a decline in health, such as stress, poor diet, lack of exercise, abuse of alcohol or drugs, etc.
Many of us can identify with being stressed out, and when that happens, we often forget about ourselves. We neglect to eat or eat too much, we give up on exercise or being mindful and living in that moment. It’s easy to get sucked into thinking about the things that stress you out instead of getting out there and making your day brighter any way you can.
Lately, for me, that has meant strapping on my hiking shoes, packing up my faithful companion, Domino (my nine year old puggle) and hitting the trails. Rain or shine, I’m up there on the mountain near my house, revelling in the fact that I live in such a beautiful place. We’ve had amazingly warm weather all winter, many foggy days to give the forests that mysterious quality and a lack of most of the precipitation we normally see. When I am feeling stressed out about the shit happening in my life right now, I get out there, plug in my headphones and it all melts away. By the time I’m done on the trails, I’ve met my movement goals for the day, I feel a lot better and I’ve only used up an hour or two of my time.
Staples was gracious enough to provide me with a Jawbone UP24 for the past few weeks, which if you didn’t know, tracks your movements throughout the day and your sleep at night. I’ve learned that I am extremely active on most days, apparently in the top 10% of UP users and I feel great. My lifting is still in the books, but I’m doing it less often than I have been for the past two years, maybe two to three times a week instead of five. I’m also actively making the backyard into my own little hobby garden complete with three 10 x 10 layered lasagna gardens. I am having a lot of fun being outside so much and I can tell it’s really helping me deal with the things that stress me out.
Staples asked if I could come up with a few goals for the month of February which I will then check in on once or twice throughout the month. So for me, my goals are as follows:
- complete layered gardens
- start all my seeds so I can reap the wonderful benefits of home grown organic goodies
- hit the trails at least three times a week
- hit my movement goals of 10,000 steps a day (although right now I am averaging out at about 14,405 steps a day)
- make sure I keep up with my weight training