Tsaxana becomes biggest winner with heart health program


Well, with Valentine’s Day on the way, and February Heart Month, it is a great time to consider your vascular health.

I know, you’ve heard it before; heart health is important, yada, yada. However, have you thought about other benefits to a heart healthy lifestyle? Think about it.

Heart disease and stroke is largely preventable through a healthy lifestyle that includes no smoking, healthy food choices, physical activity and maintenance of a healthy weight.

About one-third of people are sensitive to sodium. Eating too much sodium can cause high blood pressure, stroke, heart disease and kidney disease.

Over time, high blood pressure can damage blood vessel walls. It can also strain the heart and eventually weaken it.

High blood pressure is the leading preventable risk factor for death around the world. It is often called a “silent killer” because it has no warning signs or symptoms. You can’t see it, you can’t feel it, but the good news is that you can control it.

FAST FACT: 3 in 10 Canadians are diagnosed with high blood pressure from eating too much sodium (salt).

With this information in mind, the northern community of Tsaxana started the “Biggest Winner’s” group. A program designed to support community members wanting to live a healthy lifestyle.

Each participant started with a wellness check with the community health nurse, each getting their blood pressure, blood sugar and cholesterol levels checked. There was a weigh in and measurements taken before heading up to the gym for an exercise class, also known as “Boot Camp.”

The group will learn basic nutrition, how to read and understand food labels, food journaling, self-care planning, goal setting, healthy behaviors to achieve and maintain a healthy weight, lifestyle changes to improve or prevent diabetes throughout the eight-week program.

With modern technology these days, they have created a facebook group to support and encourage one another. It’s a place where they can share health information, their ideas, goals, and set a meeting place for a walking group.

Pedometers were given to each participant. Each person will be weighed and measured bi-weekly to see their individual success!

The group meets once a week face to face for a “support group” to discuss their challenges as well as their success stories.

In the near future, the group will “challenge” other communities within Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council territory.  Our group also hopes to enter a marathon. In doing so, they will do various fundraising activities to cover travel costs.

This program will be ongoing for community members to register at any time they are willing and ready to live a healthy life.

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