Happy "♥" Month

Monday, February 1, 2010

February is Heart Month.*

For all of February, my good friend Mrs.P is going to make an effort to utilize her family's YMCA membership on a daily basis. Her two boys are going to be dragged along. They are mostly willing participants in the plan. Especially once they heard that their schoolwork will be moved to the #2 position on the daily priority list.

My good friend Mrs.P and her family are personally touched by heart disease. She is doing her best to model good habits so that her boys are spared a myriad of health problems, especially problems in the ticker department.

Upon hearing this ambitious news from Mrs.P, I immediately got to thinking. I wonder what I could do to make my children miserable support heart healthy habits through the month of February?

I don't have a fancy all-access pass to the local Y nor am I about to acquire one. I do, as chance would have it, have a poor-man's pass to the great wide open - which is just as good, although the climate control has a bit to be desired at this time of year.

Without telling my kids, I made a commitment to (at the very least) get outside for a bit of activity each day in February. The Heart and Stroke Foundation recommends that people are active 30 to 60 minutes a day - 60 to 90 minutes if you're a kid type people. Not that I need an expert opinion to tell me how to lead my life, but in this instance, a guideline might be prudent. I tend to err on the side of laziness.

The driving ambition behind this most recent commitment came last week when I was sprawled on the living room carpet with the kids. The Girl Child and I were drilling multiplication facts with The Boy...which nearly always involves fidgeting, jiggling or some other restless energy type activity. Math fact practice quickly morphed into a demonstration of contorted stretching poses where I quickly noticed a marked lack of flexibility in both the kids.

At the very least, an inflexible person is susceptible to injury from daily trips, slip and falls. These kids can't touch their toes without their knees popping up off the floor. They can't even sit up straight-backed with their legs stretched out in front. I began to worry. I began to take inventory of the amount of physical activity these kids are getting . The Boy, he easily gets a good chunk of activity in a day. The Girl, not so much.

And so, Heart Month gives us a good excuse to get moving. Sometimes kids need a Good Excuse in addition to mom's Because I Said So. And I will disguise it all under the guise of School Work if I have to.

Today we got outside very successfully. After a bit of morning schoolwork, the kids had a choice: they could stay inside doing housework and preparing lunch or they could go outside. They opted for outside. 30 minutes of wrestling and chasing each other in the snow, check! We walked to the skating rink - which should count double due to the windchill - and skated for an hour before heading home.

Tomorrow I'll tell the kids about our my month-long goal. Or maybe I won't. I wonder how much of a challenge I'm up for?

At any rate, it's Heart Month people. Take a look at your daily physical activity. Getting any? Take a look at your eating habits. How's your portion size? Got any heart healthy food on you plate? I figure if I can jump-start good habits in a Canadian February (and there's really no reason I shouldn't be able to except for the laziness factor...and maybe the windchill) then there's no reason I can't have good habits on every other day of the year. But for now, for me, it's just the next 27 days that count.

Mrs. A
*Seriously, were the Canadian Heart and Stroke people thinking of Canadian winters when they chose February to encourage people to get out and be more active for the good of their heart?! The wind this week is coming from the West, straight off of the Great Lakes. Do you know how cold that is? I suppose if I have to explain windchill to someone, there's no point. But I will say, there's a reason that animals hibernate and I can't say I blame them. I have been a firm believer of hibernation, especially in February. AND - if you can happen to get past the wind on this part of the globe at this point of the year, there's a great deal of ICE to consider. Ice that arrived as 40mm of rain last week, then promptly froze. I tell you, it's very unpredictable here in Canada-land. Did I mention I live in one of the more southern regions of this Great White North? Nary a mountain, igloo or aurora borealis to be seen in these parts. Skidoos are parked 50 weeks of the year around here. Downright balmy compared to most Canuk habitat. So, again, was February the best month they could come up with?!

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