Did you know that your body shape can indicate your risk for heart disease and stroke?
Maintaining a healthy weight is important but where you carry your weight is just as important! Simply weighing yourself is not the only way to determine your health risk.
Excess weight that is carried around your mid-section can affect your heart health in different ways than weight carried on your hips or legs. Your waist measurement is an important number to know!
What is the magic number?
Women: 88cm / 35 inches
Men: 102cm / 40 inches
If you are over the recommended maximum, or even if you are within 3 inches of the recommendation, you are at higher risk for heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and type-2 diabetes. Reducing your risk for each of these significant health issues can be highly motivating for weight loss!
Unfortunately, nearly 60% of Canadians are overweight or obese, and that increases their risk for each of the above health concerns.
Obese adults are:
4x more likely to have diabetes
3x more likely to have high blood pressure
2x more likely to have heart disease
Maintaining a healthy weight is a key component of prevention for heart disease and stroke. Even modest weight loss can have a positive impact on your health. Shedding 5% of your current weight can be enough to reduce your cholesterol level and your blood pressure. Only a 5% change in your weight and your body begins to thank you with better health!
Exercise and eating well-balanced meals is key!
Shedding those unwanted pounds can be terribly difficult and keeping the pounds off can be even harder. When you realize the goal of weight loss is not just a vain endeavor, but a key component of your health, you might be far more motivated to maintain a healthy lifestyle of daily exercise and well-balanced meals.
Track your progress by measuring your waistline and aim to maintain a waistline that is below 35 inches for women and 40 inches for men. Remember—each reduction of an inch reduces your risk of heart disease and stroke making the effort all the more worthwhile!
When asked “how much do you exercise?” the answer is invariably “not enough!” We know that we should exercise more, but do we know what the consequences are if we fail to exercise regularly?
Lack of physical activity is a risk factor for heart disease and stroke(as well as other many other illnesses such as diabetes and even dementia). It is a risk factor that we have control over, so we should reduce our risk!
How much exercise do we really need?
The official guidelines from the Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology recommend a minimum of 150 minutes per week of aerobic physical activity. That’s it! That’s an attainable goal—within reach, even for people who aren’t accustomed to exercise. Even 10 minute increments of activity count toward the total of 150 minutes.
Of course, 150 minutes doesn’t need to be a limit. More activity is even better. The guideline is a base limit for how much activity adults (middle age, baby boomers, seniors, and even the frail elderly) require each week.
Which activities count toward your 150 minutes?
The good news is that going to the gym is not your only option! Walking is a simple and easy heart-healthy activity, and counts toward your minutes. Even household activities can count—vigorous cleaning, gardening and yard work all elevate your heart rate and get your blood pumping, and that’s the goal of physical activity!
I find it encouraging to measure exercise in terms of 150 minutes weekly because it allows for flexibility. In contrast, if you measure exercise as ’30 minutes most days of the week’, the focus is on 30 minute intervals, and missing a few days in a week can feel like overall failure.
For the frail seniors who are utilizing our Triple Vitality program, they appreciate the flexibility in measuring total minutes over the course of a week. Ten-minute increments feel very accessible. Frail seniors can manage 10 minutes of light exercise! Thirty minutes may be out of reach when we first start, but 10-minute activity sessions throughout the day add up quickly!
Our clients are so encouraged by the progress that they experience. You can feel the benefits of exercise very quickly. Increased energy and stamina, renewed interest in activities, reduced stress, better sleeping and digestion, are all immediate benefits to exercise. Knowing that you are contributing to improved overall health and reducing your risk factors for heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and other illnesses only increases the incentive to continue being active!
Be sure to track your minutes of activity this week and see how close you are to the recommended minimum of 150 minutes. Remember that 10 minutes of activity at a time can count toward your total!
If you know someone who is elderly and they are unsure about how to become active, be sure to contact Warm Embrace. Our Triple Vitality program is specifically designed for the frail elderly who need assistance to become active. We love to make a healthy, proactive difference in people’s lives, regardless of age!
International Women’s Day, and the week leading up to it, is an opportunity to acknowledge the advancement of women, and all of the successes achieved by women. International Women’s Day (IWD) was first observed in 1911 in both Europe and America, and has since grown to become a day of recognition and celebration in both developed and developing countries across the world. In some countries, IWD is a national holiday!
International Women’s Day started as a political event and was primarily focused on women’s economic, political and social achievements. Acknowledging advancements in each of these areas remains important and a focus of IWD, but it has expanded to also be a way to acknowledge all women as a form of respect and appreciation for all that women do—both publicly and privately.
Here at Warm Embrace, we are honoured to have so many fabulous women on our team! Our wonderful employees make a different in their client’s lives every single day! We have fantastic women on our team who make a difference in a quiet way, selflessly meeting the needs of other. We want to acknowledge and publicly appreciate the wonderful women on our team for the meaningful service they diligently provide.
We are also inspired to serve elderly female clients, many of whom are well aware that women have made incredible progress; our elderly clients lived through an era that is quite different from today! We are always amazed at the stories of bravery and triumph when our clients share details of how they fought for personal progress. We certainly owe a debt of gratitude for the many women—and men—who came before us and ensured that today’s women would have greater opportunities by changing the course of history. It is an honour to serve such inspiring people!
In recognition of International Women’s Day, we want to say a special thank you to all of the extraordinary women who paved the way for this generation of young women to experience greater equality, and to continue working toward even greater progress.
One of the greatest honours I have in my position at Warm Embrace Elder Care, is to witness the lives of our incredible clients, and to be invited into their lives at such an important moment. I am frequently astounded at all the challenges my elderly clients have overcome, and their subsequent life view.
Witnessing love that has developed over a 65 year marriage is phenomenal. I recently met a couple who is in their mid-eighties and is approaching their 66th wedding anniversary. I marveled at the feat and asked how they had initially met.
She was 19 and he was 22 years old. He arrived late to a dance, and just as he was arriving, she was packing up to leave. He thought she was the most beautiful girl he’d ever seen, and he overcame his usual shyness and requested a dance with her. She conceded, and they danced the night away. Sixty-five years later, that couple is still waltzing through life together.
How incredible! As very young adults, they were attracted to each other, and then created love out of that union. The gentleman told me that: “she was so beautiful that I thought I loved her. I didn’t even know what love was yet! It is now that I truly love her. I love her more and more each year.”
To be in the presence of such enduring love, such dedication and loyalty, is truly humbling. In today’s world, young people in their late teens and early twenties feel they don’t know themselves yet, much less have the ability to truly know someone else. Today’s young generation wait to “fall” in love and find a “perfect” partner. The generation that married 65 years ago had a totally different approach. They found a partner with whom they could connect, and they determined to create love and create a life together. Quitting wasn’t an option; when trouble arose, they faced it together and created a solution.
The couple was curious about my fascination with their 65-year marriage. They don’t view it as being extraordinary in anyway; I was clearly impressed. I explained how there are entire sections of bookstores dedicated to self-help guidance on relationships, love, and marriage. They guffawed and thought that was ridiculous; then the woman said: “I’m not saying it was always easy. It wasn’t. We had our troubles just like anyone else. But we made a promise to each other, and we’re people who keep our word. So when it got tough, we just decided to keep going and wait for the feeling of love to return. Sure enough, it did!” I teased her that with advice as simple and straightforward as that, she might put the relationship section of the bookstore out of business!
These two marvelous people are so interconnected that they almost operate as one. They’re beyond finishing each other’s sentences; it seems they sometimes communicate without even saying a word!
They know each other’s likes and dislikes right down to the correct teaspoon served with afternoon tea. They can only recollect being apart for a handful of nights their entire marriage.
Now, life has become just a little more challenging, and living together at home requires some assistance. What an honour it is for us to provide the caregiving this couple needs to remain at home together.
I can’t imagine how difficult it would be for this couple to be split up if one person were sent to a nursing home and the other remained at home. They can’t even fathom it! Thank goodness home care allows them to remain together, and allows their touching love story to continue.
They tell me that this is the final chapter of their love story. With all the adversity this couple has faced and survived, I wouldn’t be surprised if they celebrated their 70th and 75th wedding anniversaries! I’m so privileged to witness and be inspired by this enduring love.
If you have a story of Enduring Love, please share it with us! We love to hear inspiring love stories!
It’s no secret that the holiday season has become increasingly complicated with a heavy focus on commercialism—lots of shopping, busy malls, huge meals, many parties...the list goes on. While some people may enjoy making detailed desserts that look like a Martha Stewart display, many others find it stressful. When did all this pressure become the norm?
If you ask your grandparents what Christmas used to be like, I’ll bet they would tell you a different story. If they were of the generation that lived through the depression era, you can be certain that there was very little—if any—Christmas shopping to be done.
Instead, the focus was on being together with loved ones, and participating in activities together. Rather than rushing around trying to have everything in perfect order before family arrived, the focus was on doing things together as a family. Decorations were much simpler, but usually included extended family members. Popcorn was strung and used as a garland hung outside for the birds to enjoy. Fruit featured prominently in
décor—orange peels were used creatively as little baskets, or peels were dried and cut into shapes.
These simple traditions are low-cost and allow everyone to focus on quality time together, rather than individually rushing about stressing about fancy décor. Perhaps this year you can slow down the pace of the holiday season and revert to some time-honoured traditions from your grandparents’ era. What a special tribute for your grandparents or great-grandparents this holiday season!