By: Alison Dunn Feb 08, 2011
Heart and soul

How healthy is your heart?

I know – for most of us, that’s a tough question to answer. Unless we’ve been diagnosed with a heart condition, we really don’t know the state of our hearts. Many people assume their hearts are healthy, but then suddenly find themselves suffering from an arrhythmia, a blockage or – worst of all – a heart attack.

With February being heart health month, we here at Health Local thought it was a good time to have a look at all the things that go into keeping our tickers in tip-top shape. From articles on hypertension and CPR to heart-healthy nutrition and fitness advice, we’re doing our best to bring you the information you need to stay healthy both now and years from now.

But what about the more metaphorical side of your heart? You know what I mean – doing something that makes your heart – and soul – happy. There’s more than just physiology that goes into keeping us healthy. Sometimes, the best thing we can do for our hearts is to do something that warms them – like helping out when we’re needed.

There are plenty of things you can do to help others in need, and since it’s heart month, why not consider helping out the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada?

For more than 50 years, the Foundation has worked to fund research and health initiatives to keep Canadians’ hearts healthy. Sadly, heart disease and stroke remain the leading cause of death and disability in Canada. With our aging baby boomer population and growing obesity rates, the Foundation is actually expecting a further INCREASE in death and disability due to heart disease and stroke. That means despite all the research and knowledge we have, we still have a huge fight on our hands against heart disease and stroke.

There is good news, though. With 130,000 volunteers and 13 million donors (and counting), the Foundation is still working hard to study, prevent and reduce the incidences of heart disease in Canadians. It funds cutting-edge research into heart disease and stroke to help researchers find treatments for various conditions. It runs programs to help combat obesity, get Canadians active and fit, and provide much needed nutrition information on healthy eating and healthy living.

That’s where they need our help. It’s time to put your heart into heart month and find some way to support this very worthy cause. It might be a financial donation, or you could raise funds from friends and family using the Foundation’s online fundraising tools. You can also volunteer your time for door-to-door fundraising and spread the message throughout your community.

As the Foundation says, “Great things happen when you put your heart into it.”

A journalist with more than 10 years experience, Alison’s work has appeared in a number of top Canadian publications, including glow, Oxygen, Canadian Running and more. She is the former editor of a number of well-respected Canadian and American trade journals and recipient of a Kenneth R. Wilson Gold Award of Excellence in feature article writing. She is a part-time faculty member at Sheridan College’s journalism department, as well as an avid runner and fitness enthusiast.