As students head back to school there is often a lot to occupy their time during the first few weeks of the semester. They’re catching up with friends, joining clubs, and beginning their studies. All of these activities are highly important while progressing through high school, but one that should be added is learning about heart-health.

Each year in Ontario, children and teens are among the 6,500 people who experience sudden cardiac arrest. Although the amount of youth that is affected by cardiac arrest is much smaller than that of adults, we at The Mikey Network know that it’s important to teach good practices early on, so that students are prepared for emergencies in the future.

Heart-health isn’t limited to just learning how to perform CPR or how to save a life using first aid. It’s also about retaining a healthy lifestyle. Learn about some of the ways that your child can become involved in more heart-healthy forms of education.

Mikey Young at Heart APP

Not only does the Mikey Young at Heart app provide students with the opportunity to earn volunteer hours that they will need to graduate, but they will also learn how to use an AED or perform CPR in emergency situations. Students begin the process by downloading the app and registering online. Then they earn their volunteer hours by watching instructional videos and completing the course’s exercises.

Health Class

What these health classes are called will vary by school but will focus on teaching students the proper understanding of CPR, first aid, and the human anatomy. Registering for this course can give students a hands on approach to scenario’s that they may deal with if they were to face an emergency situation in real life. Students will also learn about the human anatomy which will provide them with further information on how the rest of the body functions. These classes are of great benefit to those who are looking to enter any medical profession later on in life.

Physical Education/ Sports

Having an active lifestyle is one of the best steps that you can take to prevent heart disease and cardiac arrest. Students that are enrolled in a physical education class or in an extracurricular sport will benefit from learning how to regularly perform a physical workout routine from a trained professional. Some schools will go even further by providing sports academies for students, where they’ll learn about sport/life balance and more advanced topics like Kinesiology.

Cooking 

Most high school students don’t have a good understanding of the nutritional effect that foods will have on their health. If your child is enrolled in cooking classes, they will learn how to cook meals to get through each and every day, while also learning about the proper nutrition that each meal will provide. Building an understanding of what is and isn’t a heart-healthy meal early on in their lives will help them to retain a healthier lifestyle.

These are just some of the things that can help to benefit your child’s heart-health. Regardless of what they do, or what courses they take, what’s important is that they are actively looking to improve their health and learn how to live a healthy lifestyle.

2016 Mikey Network Award at Ryerson University School of Nutrition

Faculty member Dan Mahoney, presented the 2016 Mikey Network Award in Nutritional Sciences to recipients Teodora Nikova and Adam Weinmann.

Congratulations to Teodora Nikova and Adam Weinmann, the 2016 Mikey Network Award recipients at the Ryerson University School of Nutrition!

Each year The Mikey Network awards a scholarship grant for students at the Ryerson University School of Nutrition, to recognize academic excellence and a commitment to the promotion of nutrition to prevent chronic heart diseases.

This year Teodora Nikova and Adam Weinmann, received grants in the amount of $1690.00 to use toward their tuition.

Congratulations, Teodora and Adam! Go make the world a healthier place.

Today The Mikey Network was honoured to participate in CPR Training Day at Cardinal Leger SS, in Brampton, ON. Every year, the students at Cardinal Leger receive CPR training from Peel Regional Paramedic Service (PRPS). We think that’s an amazing initiative and when we were invited to participate in this year’s program we jumped at the chance.

We’re already huge fans of the Peel Regional Paramedic Service from working with them on our Mikey Young At Heart Peel program. Brad Bowie and his team from PRPS, along with Principal Lee-Ann O’Leary, and Lorna Connoy, and their team from Cardinal Leger SS, did an amazing job making the training fun and educational for the students! Breakfast Television was there too so the message of Hands Only CPR and the importance of having MIKEYs (AEDs) available in a cardiac emergency, got spread far and wide. Not a bad morning!

The thought of of hundreds of students with CPR training, out in their community prepared to act in a cardiac emergency, just warms our hearts.

 

CPR training

Cardinal Leger SS students receiving CPR Training as the school band plays “Stayin’ Alive”

 

The Mikey Network on Breakfast Television

Mikey Network President Eva Szypulska, talks with Kevin Frankish, from Breakfast Television

Even “Louie the Lancer” got CPR training today

Even “Louie the Lancer” got CPR training today

CPR Training

Principal Lee-Ann O’Leary reads a letter from Premier Kathleen Wynn

Premier Kathleen Wynne's letter commending Cardinal Leger's Annual CPR Day

Premier Kathleen Wynne’s letter commending Cardinal Leger’s Annual CPR Day

Colourful veggies heart health5 medication-free strategies to help prevent heart disease

Although genetics does plays a part in your overall heart health, there are steps you can take to help lower the risk of heart disease. If you follow these 5 strategies you’ll be well on your way to a heart-healthy lifestyle.

1. Don’t smoke or use tobacco

Smoking or using tobacco is one of the most significant risk factors for developing heart disease. Chemicals in tobacco can damage your heart and blood vessels, leading to narrowing of the arteries (atherosclerosis). Atherosclerosis 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.

2. Exercise for 30 minutes on most days of the week

Getting some regular, daily exercise can reduce your risk of fatal heart disease. And when you combine physical activity with other lifestyle measures, such as maintaining a healthy weight, the payoff is even greater.

3. Eat a heart-healthy diet

Eating a special diet called the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) eating plan can help protect your heart. Following the DASH diet means eating foods that are low in fat, cholesterol and salt. The diet is rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains and low-fat dairy products, which can help protect your heart. Beans, other low-fat sources of protein and certain types of fish also can reduce your risk of heart disease.

Continue reading at www.mayoclinic.com for the rest of these 5 heart health tips.

This week’s Fitness Post is brought to you by personal trainer Igor Klibanov from Fitness Solutions Plus.

Are you stretching enough? The truth is that what makes sense for one person may not make sense for another. The same is true with stretching.

If you’ve been to my talk called “exercise for different body types”, you’ll know how our trainers assess our clients to determine whether they should stretch or not.

Whether you should stretch before or after exercise and how is only complicated by the fact that there are 4 different types of stretching:

  1. Static passive. This is the most common form of stretching. Think about putting your leg out and reaching forward. It’s static (meaning that you’re not moving), and it’s passive (meaning that you let an external force, like gravity pull you into position).
  2. Static active. Think about how figure skaters skate with one leg up in the air (doing a standing split). This is static (means they’re not moving), but active (because they’re using their own muscle force to get into position).
  3. Dynamic passive. Think about swinging your leg forward and back. It’s dynamic (meaning the limb is moving), but it’s passive, because you’re letting an external force (in this case, momentum) take you through the range of motion.
  4. Dynamic active. It looks similar to dynamic passive, but it’s done under much more control, in which case you’d be using your own muscle force to move the limb.

I hesitate to make generalizations, since one-size-fits-all isn’t optimal (or can actually injure you), but before exercise, you should do dynamic stretches, and after exercise, static stretches.

There are exceptions to this rule, however. What if you have certain muscles that are tight to begin with? In that case, it makes sense to do static stretching on those muscle both before and after.

Oh, and here’s a side note: just because a muscle feels tight doesn’t mean it is tight, and stretching that muscle will do more damage than good. We look at your range of motion to truly identify if a muscle is tight or not. Often muscles can feel tight because neighboring muscles in the body are weak, so they’re taking the load of the weak muscles.

When we’re working with clients, to determine whether they should stretch, what type of stretching, and how much, here are all the factors that go into our consideration:

  1. Present range of motion of different joints (tighter people will need more stretching. For people who have lax joints, stretching will actually increase their risk of injury).
  2. Demands of daily life. Are we working with a desk-bound employee or a gymnast? The desk-bound employee will require less range of motion than the gymnast.
  3. Previous and current injuries.
  4. Goals. If your goals include improved flexibility, we’ll be stretching you more than if your goals include weight loss.

As you can see, it’s not quite as simple as saying “do these stretches”, and you’ll be healthier for it. Not the case. For some people (we see this especially in women), stretching may create more laxity in already lax joints, and increase risk of injury.