The Canadian and provincial governments have announced that the week of May 6 to the 12th is Emergency Preparedness Week. The annual event encourages Canadians to take concrete actions to be better prepared to protect themselves and their families during emergencies.

This is so important to prepare for, as you’ll never know when an emergency will strike; as well as what kind of emergency it will be. Where do you start though? How much water will you need? Is it alright to use candles inside during a power outage? These are just a few questions that most will experience when they begin to assemble an emergency kit.

We’ve taken the liberty of highlighting some of the key pieces and items that you will need to have during an emergency of any kind.

Develop a plan

Before you begin gathering items for your kit, it’s important to create a well thought out plan in case of an emergency. We encourage you to develop plans for specific emergencies as each will vary with what is needed and how to act, but here are some key pieces that should be apart of every emergency plan.

  1. Contact information –  Whether it’s a family member, a friend, or emergency numbers; it’s important to have someone to contact in case of an emergency. We recommend having a contact list of emergency numbers, and more than one way to reach out to them. There will be times when a walkie-talkie is needed vs. using text messaging or social media.
  2. Evacuation plan – In case you are asked to evacuate your home, or even your area, select two safe locations you could go to. One should be nearby, such as a local library or community centre. The other one should be farther away, outside your neighbourhood, in case the emergency affects a large area.
  3. General Safety – Depending on the emergency you should know the procedures of how to act and address the emergency at hand. As an example, if you’re trying to perform a utility shut off procedure, every adult in your family, as well as older children, should also know how to turn off main utilities—water, electricity, gas.

Emergency Items

Water

Depending on the number of people that you will need to plan for, you will need to have at least four litres of water per person per day for drinking, food preparation, personal hygiene and dishwashing. As an example, if you have three family members, you should have at least 12 litres of water a day for a three-day emergency.

If you have a pet, the rule of thumb is to store 30 millilitres of water per kilogram of the animal’s weight per day. An average cat or small dog would require at least 1/5 of a litre (or half a cup) of water per day.

Food 

Any food that you plan on storing for an emergency should be non-perishable and easy to prepare (canned fruits, beans, dried fruits and vegetables, etc.). Depending on the emergency, you should have enough food for each person in your family for at least three days. IMPORTANT: Make sure to have essential tools on hand to make the food, like a can opener.

First Aid Kit

If you’re choosing a First Aid Kit it’s usually a good rule of thumb to find a large one with a bunch of items for various emergencies; you’ll never know what to expect.

Medication

If you or someone in your family is allergic to something or needs a medication with them at all times like asthma, you should plan to have that on hand, just in case.

Radio

Having a radio on-hand is essential if all other forms of communication have been shut down. Try to find a hand-cranked radio, so that you’re not reliant on batteries unless absolutely necessary.

We hope that you found this to be insightful for your kit. If you’re in need of more ideas or a guide to follow, check out the Government of Ontario’s emergency preparedness plan. 

Exercising regularly is an important part of retaining a heart-healthy lifestyle. Performing physical activity helps you to live longer and allows your body to run and perform better in the long-term. It’s advised that everyone should be performing 150 minutes of exercise a week to maintain a heart-healthy lifestyle.

Uncertainty is what often faces those who are looking to get back into a regular work out routine though. How and where do you start when you haven’t worked out in months? Or even years? Alternatively, returning to a regular workout routine after a physical injury or a medical condition can be that much harder as you need to compensate for that new ailment.

Although beginning again can be a daunting task, it’s recommended that doing some activity is far better than doing nothing at all, as there is almost no disease that doesn’t benefit from exercise in some way.

Seek out a physician before you begin

Although we encourage you to exercise, we strongly recommend that before you do anything; you contact your physician to see what they recommend. This is recommended if you haven’t exercised in a year or so, or you’re recovering from an injury or health-related ailment. If you have simply taken off some time between seasons, you’re less likely to need to see your doctor.

For those that do see their doctor, they’ll be able to understand your level of recovery and fitness level better than anyone else, and will be able to provide you with a detailed plan to begin exercising again.

Here are some questions that you should ask when you go to meet your doctor:

  • How much exercise can I do?
  • How often can I exercise?
  • What types of exercises should I do?
  • What activities should I avoid?
  • Should I hire a personal trainer to exercise with me?

After you have met with your doctor, they may recommend that you should go through a rehabilitation program to teach you how to safely become more active.

If you have recently suffered a heart attack or a cardiac arrest you can find a cardiac rehab program in any province at cardiachealth.ca.

General workout tips

  • Focus on doing aerobic exercises when you begin working out again, rather than more complex movements like isometric exercises (pushups). Aerobic exercises are easier to perform and will help to make your heart stronger, while isometric could strain your muscles. Popular aerobic exercises include running, walking, and swimming.
  • Try to organize your exercises with friends, family, or by joining a group at a local gym. Going with another person (or group), even if you both haven’t been as active, can be a great motivator to keep exercise as a regular part of your routine. Additionally, many workout facilities have personal trainers that can help you to create your own workout program for free, the YMCA is one of note.
  • Make sure that you stay hydrated. It is important to drink water even before you feel thirsty, especially on hot days.
  • Go at your own pace. For many people returning back to a regular workout routine, it’s normal to feel some self-consciousness. Just make sure to do what feels comfortable to you and to keep progressing.

If you have some workout tips, please let us know in our comments or message us on Facebook or Twitter.

 

 

The Mikey Network was recently on hand to view the presentation of a MIKEY donation by TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® St.Catharines and Niagara, to the Roma Soccer Club.

In attendance for the presentation was Cotie Drinkwater, General Manager of TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® St.Catharines and Niagara; Martin Beswick, Roma Soccer President (middle), and Pete D’Elia, Roma Soccer Vice President (Right).

Roma Soccer is a soccer club based out of St. Catharines, Ontario, that organizes and coaches youth teams. They’re an organization that is very active in the community, and they strive to be a positive environment, provide supportive infrastructure, and to develop players physically, intellectually and socially through the sport of soccer.

Everyone here at The Mikey Network is touched by the donation of a MIKEY by TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® St.Catharines and Niagara to an active community sports organization like Roma Soccer. We’re pleased to know there is one more MIKEY in the community ready to provide a second chance at life should the need arise.

There is a reason why your mom wanted you to eat your vegetables. It’s a well-known fact that a diet rich in vegetables can benefit your health in many ways, including your heart.

For this reason, it’s important to have a diet that is full of fruits and vegetables.  Which vegetables and fruits are the most heart healthy though? And what time of the year are they available? We’ve come up with a list to break this down.

Below are some of the best fruits and vegetables that you can have for a heart-healthy diet, as well as when they’re in season.

Heart Healthy Fruits and Vegetables

Berries

Berries such as strawberries and blueberries are believed to carry antioxidants that help to decrease blood pressure and dilate blood vessels. This is attributed to the benefit of compounds known as anthocyanins, and flavonoids.

When they’re available: 

  • Strawberries: May, June, July, August, September, and October
  • Blueberries: July, August, and September
  • Cranberries:  September,  October and November
  • Raspberries: July, August, September, and  October

Potatoes

Although potatoes can be more challenging to your heart healthy dining, if you don’t deep fry them, they can be extremely good for your heart. They’re rich in potassium and high in fibre (if the skin is left on), which again, can help lower blood pressure and the risk of heart disease.

When they’re available: year round

Tomatoes

Similar to potatoes, tomatoes are high in heart-healthy potassium. Plus they’re a good source of the antioxidant lycopene. Lycopene is a carotenoid that may help to get rid of “bad ” cholesterol, keep blood vessels open and lower heart attack risk.

When they’re available: 

  • Greenhouse: year round
  • Field: July, August, September, and October

Broccoli, Spinach and Kale

When it comes to your heart health, you can’t go wrong with vegetables. Green vegetables like broccoli, spinach or kale can give an extra boost to your heart. These are high in carotenoids, which act as antioxidants and can free your body of potentially harmful compounds. They’re also high in fibre and contain lots of vitamins and minerals.

When they’re available: 

  • Broccoli: June, July, August, September, and October
  • Spinach: May, June, July, August, September, and October
  • Kale: June, July, August, September, and October

Avocado

These soft, tasty fruits will provide your body and heart with plenty of healthy fats. They’re composed of monounsaturated fats, high in antioxidants, and also contain potassium to help lower heart disease factors.

When they’re available: (commercially) generally year round

Asparagus

One of the most important heart-healthy ingredients that are found in asparagus is vitamin B6. This vitamin can lower homocysteine, a form of amino acid that has been linked to heart disease.

When they’re available: May and June

Bell Peppers

Bell peppers contain folate, another nutrient that can reduce homocysteine.

When they’re available: 

  • Greenhouse: February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November, and December
  • Field: July, August, September, and October

Carrots

Carrots are rich in carotenoids, which are powerful antioxidants that can combat free radicals that cause heart disease.

When they’re available: February, March, April, May,  July, August, September, October, November, and December

Garlic

Garlic contains phytochemicals that boost immunity and protect the heart against diseases.

When they’re available: February, July, August, September, October, November, and December

Onions

Onions are a rich source of sulphur-containing phytochemicals. These phytochemicals can reduce cholesterol levels, and therefore, prevent heart disease.

When they’re available: year round

If you’re interested in learning about other heart-healthy foods, check out our post on Ten Essential Foods For A Heart-Healthy Diet; And if you’d like to know when other fruits and vegetables are available, check out Foodland Ontario’s page.

Throughout March we have been working with Registered Dietitian, Marsha Rosen, to share heart-healthy dietary tips. This is a part of our effort to provide Canadians with resources that they can use to take better steps towards their nutritional health and to maintain a heart-healthy lifestyle.

To finish off Nutrition Month, we’d like to share some of the resources that we used for our dietary recommendations, which you can use to further your nutritional health for not only March but the rest of the year.

Nutritional Resources

Health Canada

If you’re looking for some tips and guides on what experts from dietitians in Canada are recommending, look no further than Health Canada’s website. They have a food and nutrition section that helps to guide you with developing healthy choices (with the Canada food guide), but also how you should judge food (with sections talking about food labelling and safety).

In addition to guiding you with an overall understanding of food, they also have recommendations on nutritional and healthy eating habits to incorporate into your diet.

Dietitians of Canada

If you’re looking to improve your diet and feel as though you’ll need some additional help, the Dietitians of Canada is a great resource. The site has options to help connect you with a dietitian or to attend one of their regularly scheduled meetups to talk about nutritional health. They also offer ways to assess your current diet (by tracking what you eat, or your BMI) as well as recipes and ways that you can help enhance your meal.

Eat Right Ontario

Eat Right Ontario provides similar information to the Dietitians of Canada web page, but we found that they had much more resources that specialized in educating Canadians on heart health. Their heart-healthy section is composed of a plethora of study based articles and recipes that you can use for a heart-healthy diet.

In addition to those resources, they offer articles and recipes for almost any other need, including recipes for Canadians who have diabetes; to recipes for children and seniors.

Marsha Rosen and The Mikey Network

Marsha has been a wonderful resource to The Mikey Network over the years with her advice and the great heart-healthy recipes that she has provided. Marsha provides group lectures, seminars and cooking demonstrations, and is a sought-after contributor to health-related publications.

If you have a nutrition question for our dietician, you can email Marsha here...

View all of the recipes that Marsha has helped to create for us here.  

If you have a nutritional resource that you would like to share, please message us on Facebook or Twitter.