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Heart Healthy Living for the Entire Family: Having Fun Exercising and Eating Healthy

Basketball is great exercise and fun for the entire family!
Basketball is great exercise and fun for the entire family!

February is the month to focus on heart health.  New Year's Resoutions have most likely fallen by the wayside.  Instead of making a resolution that more often than not is not kept, resolve to make one change at a time. 

A great way to get excited about eating healthy is to do it as a family.  There are wonderful tools on the internet that will help you get started.  An excellent resource for busy families is  For $5.00 per month, you can have easy recipes and your grocery list prepared for you every week.  All you have to do is go to the website and print it out.  You can choose a particular grocery store or pick the lowfat menu opton. 

Another way to learn to eat healthy is to try one new fruit or vegetable every week.  There are a lot of great food options out there.  Go to and get some wonderful ideas for new recipes.  If the recipe is not lowfat, you can make substitutions that will make it more healthy, i.e. use olive oil or skim milk as substitutes for vegetable oil  and whole milk. 

There is a way to get your exercise and start on a journey to a healthy heart.  Plant a garden.  It is a wonderful way to spend time as a family.  Kids love playing in the dirt, so this is a way to make it a healthy experience.  While planting and tending to the garden, the family is getting exercise.  Furthermore, the benefit of having fresh vegetables will make healthy eating much simpler.  See for articles on how to plant a garden. 

Other ways to exercise and spend time together as a family is to go for a walk or hike in the mountains.  ride bicycles, play basketball, have a snowball fight.  An excellent exercise for beginners is swimming so head to the local pool or lake.  Exercise does not have to be tedious or boring.  It can be fun when you exercise as a family and choose activities you love doing. A great resource for the Maryville area is  There is information about classes, sports and hiking trails in the area. These programs will let you try new classes and actvities without making a long term contractual commitment to a fitness facility. 

If you exercise and eat healthy food, you will lose weight, have more energy, and feel better.  If you need motivation to lose weight, take the pound for pound pledge and help your local community food bank.  People at risk of going hungry will have food and you will be healthier.  It is a win-win situation.  For details and to register, visit

It is crucial to exercise to have a healthy heart.  The American Heart Association recommends recommends exercising at least 30 minutes per day.  However, before starting any exercise program, see your physician for a check up.  Exercise to live a longer, healthier life. 


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