The Canadian Council for Tobacco Control’s National Non-Smoking Week has just begun and will run from January 21st to the 27th. The event, which addresses the health issues that smoking can cause aims to:

  • Educate Canadians about the dangers of smoking
  • Offer solutions to help people quit
  • Prevent young Canadians from beginning to smoke and become addicted to tobacco cigarettes
  • Assist in the attainment of a smoke-free society in Canada

The Mikey Network believes this annual event to be of high importance as smoking is one of the lead contributors to heart disease and cancers for Canadians.

Chemicals in tobacco can damage your heart and blood vessels, leading to narrowing of the arteries (atherosclerosis), which can ultimately lead to a heart attack. When it comes to heart disease prevention, no amount of smoking is safe. Smokeless tobacco and low-tar and low-nicotine cigarettes also are risky, as is exposure to secondhand smoke.

To help smokers or those who know of a smoker in their life to quit, we encourage you to utilize the following resources.

  • Smokers Helpline: A site that is dedicated to helping smokers understand the benefits and negatives that can be attributed to smoking. It also has community forums for those who are in the process of quitting and resources to begin your first steps.
  • The Government of Canada: The government has created a site that allows you to connect with an organization in your province that provides resources on how to quit. They also have a toll free line that you can use to ask questions and talk to someone about quitting.
  • Break it off: Is a free mobile app that is dedicated to helping younger people quit smoking.
  • Leave the pack behind: Is a free resource from the Government of Ontario that offers young adults information on how to quit and personalized support.

If you found these resources to be helpful for you, please let us know on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.


Exercising regularly can be one of the most beneficial things that you can do for your heart health. 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.

But after suffering a heart attack or a cardiac arrest it can be a daunting thought to begin exercising again. What’s safe to do? What should I focus on? Where do I start?

Although you may face these questions with uncertainty, the truth is that there is almost no disease that doesn’t benefit from exercise in some way. As such, you shouldn’t give up, sit around and do nothing. You should focus on ways that you can begin to strengthen your body and improve your overall heart function.

Benefits of regular exercise for the heart include:

  • Strengthening your heart and cardiovascular system
  • Improving your circulation and helping your body use oxygen better
  • Improving your heart failure symptoms

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. They’ll 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. You can find a cardiac rehab program in any province at

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.
  • Look at the forecast before your workout to avoid humid or cold days. Cold weather can increase your blood pressure, interrupt blood flow to part of the heart and make blood clots more likely to form. Humid weather can tire you out much quicker and can interfere with your circulation. On days when the weather is too hot or cold, aim to workout inside instead.
  • Make sure that you stay hydrated. It is important to drink water even before you feel thirsty, especially on hot days.

Starting to exercise

If your doctor has advised you that you’re all right to perform regular exercises instead of going to a rehabilitation center, we recommend that you slowly ease back into a workout routine. Everyone should perform 30 minutes of exercise a day, but it’s best if you go at a pace that you’re comfortable with; especially if you haven’t worked out in a long time.

Here is a simple workout that you can do anywhere.

Week 1 – 10-minute walk (Every second day)

Week 2 – 5-minute walk to warm up, a 10-minute walk, and 5-min cool-down.

Week 3 –  5-minute walk to warm up, a 15-minute walk, and 5-min cool-down.

Week 4 –  5-minute walk to warm up, a 20-minute walk, and 5-min cool-down.

Things to look out for

As you begin the transition back into exercising again, it’s important to remember to look for any symptoms of a heart attack during your workout. If you can, aim to workout with a partner for the first two months so that they can monitor you as you get back into the rhythm of going to the gym. While you workout both you and your partner should be conscious of:

  • Any chest pain
  • Weakness in your body
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness
  • Pressure or pain in your chest, neck, arm, jaw or shoulder, or any other symptoms that cause concern.

Exercising and making your way back towards a heart-healthy lifestyle will take time, so no matter what your results are initially; always aim to keep moving forward.


As we begin the new year, a majority of us have begun the annual tradition of defining new years resolutions to accomplish. One of the most popular being weight loss and maintaining a healthy diet throughout the year. Although it is widely accepted that these are good resolutions to have, it is very hard to accomplish. To help you, we’ve developed some nutritional tips that you can use as a guide to stay the course.

Nutritional Tips

Be patient and plan

Any change in one’s life takes time. As you begin to change your diet try to think of the undertaking as a gradual lifestyle change, not a crash course. Think about the goals that you would like to accomplish and determine what is manageable for you. What can you accomplish in a month, a few months; a year? Each goal or resolution that you consider should lead towards a diet that is focused on benefiting your overall heart health. Even something small like opting for water instead of soda will make a huge difference in your daily diet.

Focus on the overall quality of your diet

It’s very easy to look at two different items and compare calorie to calorie to convince yourself that a low-quality item isn’t so bad. Instead of comparing, aim to eat foods that you know are going to have great nutritional value. Fruits, vegetables, lean meats, and grains are always great staples to focus on within your diet. They will not only be lower in calorie content but will also help to make you feel more full.

Have a meal plan and eat at home

Having a weekly or even monthly meal plan developed for yourself or your household will help you to stay on track with your diet. Utilize the myriad of heart-healthy recipes that are available on our site.

Cooking at home is also very beneficial to sticking with a heart-healthy diet, as you have full control of what is being put into your food. It will also help to save you money as you won’t be tempted to eat out at restaurants or fast food establishments.

To help you plan your meals we’ve taken the time to develop this free calendar that you can use as a resource to plan out your meals for a week or even a month.

Watch what you eat when eating out

Although we highly recommend focusing on preparing a majority of your meals, we know that it’s not always possible to avoid going out to eat. Instead of leaning towards old habits, aim to go in with a strategy. Instead of fries, ask for more vegetables. Instead of getting an entree with a heavy creamy sauce, opt for it without the sauce. Create a strategy that will work within the diet and goals that you’ve set out for yourself.

Remember, switching to a new diet will take time, so be patient with yourself as you adapt to this change. If you’d like to share with us your progress or some of your own tips, reach out to us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.




Now that the holidays are over and the new year is here, many of us have started to shift towards a healthier lifestyle as a part of a new year’s resolution. Initially, it may seem like an easy task, but many of us struggle to eat a heart-healthy diet and exercise regularly for the entire year.

To help you during this transition we’ve developed some helpful tips and tools that you can use to keep your resolutions for the whole year. This week we’re sharing some advice and tips on heart healthy exercises.

Heart Healthy Exercises

Aerobic exercises

Aerobic activities are some of the best exercises for your heart health as they help to increase stamina and improve the function of your heart. Depending on your fitness level the intensity of your workout will vary. Regardless of your intensity, most aerobic workouts recommend that you should do 30 minutes of exercise five times a week to keep an active lifestyle. If 30 minutes is too much for you at the beginning, try to do 10 minutes and gradually increase the amount of your workout.

If you’re beginning to do a physical activity after a long absence or have recently suffered a heart attack, we recommend contacting your doctor to see what kind of exercises they recommend.

Some popular aerobic exercises include: walking, bicycling, swimming and jogging.


Performing strength training is not only beneficial towards your heart health but can also help to reduce common ailments such as arthritis and osteoporosis.

Although there are numerous strength workouts online that focus on lifting heavy weights, we recommend trying to use your own bodyweight, small hand weights or resistance bands as you get back into the rhythm of working out. Performing these simple exercises will help to regain strength and ease you back into more intensive strength workouts.


Stretching is highly beneficial before a workout as it reduces the risk of injury and prepares your body for more strenuous exercises. Focus on stretching slowly and gently. As you continue to workout more make attempts to try other stretches, but if you begin to feel pain in your muscles, stop.

Examples of common stretches

  • To loosen the muscles in the front of your thighs lean against a wall, grab hold of one foot and pull your heel toward your buttock.
  • Stretch your calf by leaning your forearms against a wall. Take a step back with one foot, straighten that leg and bend the front leg slightly. Repeat on the other side.
  • Loosen your upper body by raising your arms over your head and clasping your fingers together. Pull your arms back slightly and with your fingers still clasped, open your palms toward the ceiling.


A great way to begin your 2018 fitness journey and keep consistently active throughout the year is by signing up for a sport. Sports can vary in the rate of their activity, so aim to join something that is closer to your fitness and activity level. Sports like soccer, basketball and hockey can require a high amount of physical energy, which can be tough on the body when first starting out.

More moderate sports to join include: curling, volleyball, swimming or even downhill skiing. A good practice when choosing a sport is to find one that fits your personality, so you’ll be motivated to stick with it.

To help you with your goals, we’ve created a Calendar that you can use to help track your fitness throughout the entire year. 

Meet Some Mikey Hero’s

A life saved by 17-year-old Mikey trained student Kayley of Toronto!

“I was walking in downtown Toronto on Labour Day Monday
with my grandmother when we noticed people making a fuss.
There was a man on the ground and he was blue in colour.
Automatically I knew something was wrong!

My grandmother grabbed my backpack and I knelt down
beside him to perform CPR. I got to just over 30 compressions
and he started to make a wheezing noise. There were people
standing around but nobody else knew how to properly
perform CPR.

I knew CPR because I went through the Mikey Young
At Heart App. Going through the videos and quizzes
gave me the confidence to act immediately and without
fear. I knew what to do and I knew if I did it, this man
would have a better chance of survival.”

The Martin Family’s AEDs for Schools campaign was a huge success, getting AEDs into all Ottawa Public Schools!

We’re proud to share the amazing news that The Martin family have succeeded in their goal to get MIKEYs placed in every public school in the Ottawa-Carleton area!

In February of 2017, while playing with friends at recess, Griffin Martin suffered a sudden cardiac arrest. The staff jumped into action immediately, but unfortunately, they nor the emergency personnel who arrived afterwards could revive him.

After learning more about the incident, the family learned that there was no AED at Griffin’s school. If an AED was available during their son’s cardiac arrest, he may have stood a better chance of surviving. In fact, 78 of the 119 Ottawa public elementary schools do not currently have an AED available.

To honour Griffin’s memory the family created a campaign to raise money for the installation of AED’s in every school in the Ottawa area, including Orlean’s Wood, Griffin Martin’s elementary school.

We helped the Martins launch their AEDs for Schools – Remember Griffin campaign at the end of September and in just a few weeks the Martins raised close to $20,000. CBC News interviewed Griffin’s parents, Andrea and Damien, and The Mikey Network President, Eva Naumovski, and news stories ran online, in print, and on the radio, nationwide.

All of this activity quickly got the attention of senior staff within the Ottawa-Carleton District School Board. It turns out that the OCDSB already had the money for the AED’s and was planning to install them in phases over the next year. The main hurdle that the school board faced to placing them sooner was a lack of training among staff and an unclear plan for how the machines would be maintained.

They announced in October, that they will begin the installation of Mikey defibrillators in all of their school’s by September 2018.

The OCDSB has partnered with the Ottawa Paramedic Service, which oversees close to 1,200 defibrillators in public places across Ottawa. A spokesperson for the OPS has stated that the schools will be responsible to maintain the AED’s, but they will assist in fixing any problems should they arise.

“The Mikey Network was proud to work with the Martin family to bring awareness to their cause. We couldn’t be
happier to share this amazing accomplishment to honour their late son!” Said The Mikey Network President,
Eva Naumovski.

Two More Local Heroes

Tom Condotta and Darlene Fournier jumped in to help a man whose heart had stopped during a recreational volleyball league game in March at Chinguacousy Secondary School. This incident had a happy ending, thanks to the two educators’ quick response and knowledge of CPR/AED. Read more here. 

Canada’s 911 Ride was a huge success!

Every year the Canada 911 Foundation holds an annual
motorcycle ride called Canada’s 911 Ride, to raise funds and
awareness for families of fallen emergency service personnel,
children who were victims of violent crimes, and The Mikey
Network. This year’s event was hugely successful and
involved lots of fun, emotional stories, and the thunderous
roar of motorcycle engines. READ MORE…

Luke ctv news

Family credits defibrillator for saving son’s life | CTV Toronto News

CTV News Toronto recently ran a story about Luke Pignatelli,
one of the young people who are now equipped with their
own life-saving MIKEY AED.

The Pignatelli family in Aurora have more than one reason to be grateful to The Mikey Network. Last year their 13-year-old son Luke suffered a cardiac arrest when exercising in his school gym.
Firefighters revived him with a defibrillator and he was rushed to SickKids hospital. He recovered but doctors couldn’t determine the exact cause of his problem and so he was given a temporary pacemaker.

Still, his parents were worried that it could happen again, especially during their long trips north to the family cottage.
So through their Young at Heart program, The Mikey Network provided a portable MIKEY AED that Luke can take with him
wherever he goes.

Because the doctors think the problem might be genetic, Luke’s two brothers were also provided with a MIKEY that can always be on hand at their swim classes. And Luke’s grandfather who also has a
history of heart problems has his own MIKEY as well.

With so many family members afforded the peace of mind offered by their MIKEYs, the Pignatelli family all participated in this year’s annual Walk for Life fundraiser. They encourage everyone to do the same, so that more life-saving MIKEYs can be placed in public locations and provided to people whose lives can depend on them.

Please help The Mikey Network!

These are just a few of the great things that happened this year. The Mikey Network receives no government funding so all of our initiatives depend on the generosity of Team Mikey and those who support us.

Thanks to the generosity of our corporate sponsors HERITY and
Heathwood Homes, 100% of your donations go to promoting
heart health and placing life-saving MIKEYs in key locations.

This holiday season, please consider making a donation in
your name or on behalf of a friend or loved one. We will
gladly send an announcement card on your behalf, as
well as providing a tax receipt for all gifts over $00.
This holiday season and all through the year to come,
it’s in your heart to help!

With your help, The Beat Goes On…