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Give Dad’s Heart A Little Father’s Day Love

men playing golf

Dr. Douglas Wysham for the Union-Bulletin

Rather than splurging on a fancy grill or sterling silver cuff links this Father’s Day, suggest choosing an activity you and your dad can do together that gets you outdoors and active. Planning an adventure-filled day will be more memorable and beneficial for your dad’s heart health.Keeping your dad’s heart healthy ensures more time spent with the big guy you look up to — who taught you to tie your shoes, helped you with your math homework, and kept you safe when you were scared. He was there all those years, and now is your chance to spend previous time together. This year, consider giving your dad the gift of heart healthy for Father’s Day on June 19 — or at least help get him kick started on a path to a healthy heart.


Head to the Wallowas for a day hike, or spend an afternoon kayaking or canoeing on Bennington Lake. Whatever you do, getting outdoors and active will give your dad’s heart a little love this Father’s Day.Heart disease, diabetes and obesity reduce quality and length of life. In Walla Walla County, nearly a third of adults have high blood pressure and a fourth are obese. Regular exercises and a nutritious diet can help dad manage or prevent chronic diseases like diabetes and heart disease.


If you’ve been procrastinating on getting dad a gift for his special day, here are a few fun, adventurous activities you can do locally to boost your dad’s heart health this spring and summer.


Hit the links — Swing by the golf course for a quick round. Golfing is an enjoyable and competitive way to get outside with dad while getting in your daily steps. Experts recommend walking 10,000 steps per day, which is about approximately five miles — about the average length of a golf course. In the process, dad will burn off at least 500 calories.


Take a spin — Mile by mile, biking is beneficial for heart health. It’s a low-impact way to burn calories and get some exercise with your dad. For every mile you ride, you’ll burn 50 calories. Regular exercise is one of the best ways to help prevent heart disease. Walla Walla and Eastern Washington have miles of scenic roadways and biking trails with views of the Blue Mountains, vast wheat fields and the Snake River.


Heart-healthy grilling — Instead of an expensive and fattening evening out at a restaurant, plan a family barbeque with a nutritious, grilled entrée such as vegetable kebabs. Some heart-healthy vegetables for grilling include red bell peppers, onions, potatoes, tomatoes and zucchini. Try cubing some pineapple for a sweet addition to a savory kebab. Fruits and vegetables are loaded with vitamins, nutrients and minerals that can help lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels as well as reduce inflammation. Dad should be eating a minimum of five servings of fruits and vegetables each day for a healthy heart.


Hit the water — For the thrill-seeking dad, schedule a kayaking trip up the Palouse River for sweeping views of mountains and wildlife sightings. Kayaking and other water sports build upper body strength and will get the heart pumping — the reward is the up-close view of the falls at the end. For a short, relaxed trip, take a quick weekend drive up to gorgeous Lake Chelan for paddle boarding, scuba diving and more.


Dr. Douglas Wysham, Fellow of the American College of Cardiology, is a board-certified interventional cardiologist at Adventist Health’s Northwest Regional Heart and Vascular at Walla Walla General Hospital.


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