As a parent, you want to do all you can to ensure your child stays healthy into adulthood. Setting the stage for good health in later years means establishing healthy habits as early as possible — and making them fun whenever you can.
During the summer, you have lots of ways to incorporate heart-healthy habits into your family’s warm-weather plans. In fact, summer is a great time to start forming the habits that can help your kids reduce their risk of heart problems now and for the rest of their lives.
A leading provider of state-of-the-art heart care for patients in Glendale, Goodyear, Scottsdale, Anthem, Avondale, Laveen Village, and Black Canyon City, Arizona, Phoenix Heart PLLC offers five simple suggestions to help you and your family make the most of their summer while improving their heart health, too.
1. Make regular exercise part of your family’s routine
People from all over the country (and around the world) flock to Arizona for its wealth of natural beauty and outdoor activities. As an Arizona resident, you have those activities right at your fingertips.
The American Heart Association recommends an hour or more of moderate to vigorous physical activity every day for kids 6 and older, which means daytrips and local outings can play an especially important role in your family’s heart-healthy summer.
Hold a family meeting and select some activities nearby that you’d like to explore together.
2. Eat more fresh fruits and vegetables
Focusing on fresh fruits and vegetables is important for maintaining your weight and making sure your heart gets the nutrients it needs to stay healthy. Fortunately, summer is peak harvest time for lots of healthy foods, which means it’s also a great time to add more fresh produce to your diet.
Requiring no cooking, salads and fruit platters are great for meals and snacks, and plenty of vegetables are great on the grill, too. Plus, eating in-season means you can enjoy fruits and vegetables when their prices are lowest, making it a lot easier to stick to your food budget.
3. Focus on fun to reduce harmful stress
Stress causes you to feel anxious and irritable, but that’s not the only way it affects you. Chronic stress can take a toll on your health, too, especially your heart health.
Spending more time together doing fun things as a family is a great way to decrease stress (and strengthen family bonds, too).
Consider helping each family member find a personal activity that helps them unwind, like reading, listening to music, or even taking up yoga or meditation. Then continue those healthy, stress-busting habits right into the school year.
4. Plant a garden
Summer is an ideal time to start a garden or expand on the garden you already have. Gardening is a great way to spend time together, from deciding what to plant all the way through harvesting.
Plus, gardening offers lots of physical activity, and if you plant vegetables, fruits, or even herbs, you can reap the benefits of healthy, organic eating right from your own yard.
The University of Arizona Cooperative Extension has a lot of tips to help you make the most of your garden, including ways to use less water while still enjoying a bountiful harvest.
5. Keep ice water on hand
In the summer, lots of sunshine, Arizona’s dry air, and extra perspiration can all combine to dehydrate you — quickly. Staying hydrated is important for keeping your heart healthy and maintaining healthy circulation, too. But it’s not just how much you drink that matters — what you drink counts, too.
Unfortunately, soda, sugary sports drinks, and energy drinks with caffeine and other additives aren’t the best choice when it comes to your health. Instead, keep a pitcher of ice water in your fridge or buy a dispenser with a spout and keep it on your counter.
Adding some slices of lemon or cucumber or a few sprigs of mint adds a little flavor without extra sweeteners or artificial colors.
Keeping your heart healthy is important at every age, but there’s no doubt that the sooner you begin making heart-healthy choices, the sooner you can reap the benefits. Making heart health a priority this summer helps every member of the family while establishing behaviors that can last a lifetime.
To learn how our team can play a role in your family’s heart health, request an appointment online or over the phone with the team at Phoenix Heart today.