Celebrate the mom in your life with five heart-healthy activities
As a mother, I can assure you that the best present you can give the mom in your life tomorrow – besides a true day off - is a gift that helps build health. We tend to approach every holiday as a time to indulge, but this Mother’s Day honor your mother (or mother-in-law or grandmother) with healthier choices instead. Truth be told, most of us don’t feel so good after consuming lots of sweets or rich dishes. Our moms don’t either. So make sure they feel great on their special day - and the next day and the day after that - by focusing on the bigger picture.
Here are five ways to celebrate that align with the pillars of healthy longevity:
- Nutrition: A whole-food, plant-based diet is key to living long, well. If you’re planning a Mother’s Day brunch, think about how to incorporate whole fruits and vegetables into the meal. This can be much easier than it sounds. For example, rather than squeezing a bunch of oranges to make a glass of fresh juice, throw one peeled, cut up orange into a pretty bowl as a delicious starter. Instead of a side of bacon or sausage with whatever egg dish you’re preparing, consider sliced avocado and tomatoes or even a small side salad. And for dessert, fill a wine glass with mixed berries that have been mixed with a bit of sugar and some cut up mint leaves. All of this will look beautiful, taste amazing and leave everyone feeling pleasantly full.
- Exercise: Moving your body somewhat vigorously every day is another key to longevity. Seventh Day Adventists, one of the Blue Zones groups, are generally physically active, but they also incorporate a 24-hour Sabbath where focus shifts away from the rigors of daily life towards camaraderie, family, exercise and nature. So for Mother’s Day, treat the moms in your life to a family walk in a pretty setting. And leave enough time to enjoy the beauty of nature - and to take in a few extra deep breaths of fresh air.
- Social: Social interconnectedness is a pillar of healthy longevity. Family is important but so are friendships and peer groups. Include the honoree’s BFFs in your celebration or give her a few hours away from the family to hang out with her pals - if not on Mother's Day then on a different day.
- Mental Health: Finding an inner sense of purpose and joy is the fourth pillar. Make sure mom gets a complete break from daily chores, including worrying about the week ahead! And if she has a hobby or favorite activity, find ways to support that. When my children still lived at home, we would spend a good chunk of Mother’s Day planting. I might not have the greenest of thumbs, but I love puttering around the garden. And watching herbs and flowers grow that we planted together provided happy memories and moments of joy for months.
- Gift of Health: If no celebration in your house is complete without a tangible gift, consider something that encourages heart health. That could be an activity tracker, fitness gear, a new cookbook, or even a sampler of Step One Foods.
Incorporating ways to enhance nutrition, exercise, social and mental health every day, year-round can help ALL of us live longer and better. Mother’s Day is a great day to remind all the moms in our lives not only how much we love them but also how much we value their health and vitality.
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