Healthy Heart Challenge
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Gesa Ruge 
After immigrating at the age of 21 on her own to Australia to study her first degrees in Architecture and Land Economics in Perth, Gesa has followed a career path with a cross-disciplinary focus over the last 20 years. She has worked as Architect, Planner, Project Manager, Construction Manager, Land Development Manager, Sustainability Consultant and Corporate Advisor. With her supportive husband, she has been able to combine being a mother of 2, with a busy career, continuing education and active involvement in the Canberra community.

More recently Gesa has shifted her focus in business and academic research to the integration of sustainability into education, business and industry adaptation. She enjoys in particular supporting and mentoring her young consulting staff at  Viridis E3 and the growing number of Building and Construction students at UC, who she hopes will carry on her commitment to grow Canberra into a healthy and sustainable community.

As Healthy Heart Champion Gesa wants to relearn how to look after her own health better and encourage the many busy women in the ACT Building and Construction sector to join her during the 2011 Healthy Heart Challenge.
Week 3 update

Week 3 and I am starting to feel good about making those small changes for a healthy heart.


Having set myself the challenge of “Being active every day”, I wanted to make changes to my daily and weekly routine that I  could stick to and enjoy in the longer term.


So far I give myself a few heart shaped ticks in a box for: 

  • 7.00am walks with my husband and our Labrador. Whilst it is cold and dark at this time of year, I feel energised and happy to keep going.
  • My children have been fantastic supporters and little heart champions themselves! Getting ready for school while we are walking and helping put our weekly ‘healthy shopping and cooking list’ together.  
  • This past weekend we organised a bushwalk with friends, kids and dogs, which was absolutely wonderful and we will set out to do this again next month.

During the day my schedule is pretty hectic, determined by meetings across Canberra, teaching and research at the University of Canberra (UC) and frequent industry and community engagements after hours. So what  I have started to do is to set up a colour coded weekly planner with one red ½ hour and one red 1 hour slot each day where I either walk or ride to meetings or invite attendees to a ‘walking meeting’ with apple and water bottle, rather than sit down for lunch or coffee.


With the support of the ACT Heart Foundation Team, we are organising a ‘walking lecture’ for next Wednesday 22 June, 12.30pm to 1.30pm at UC, starting from Kirinari Street to get many more women walking and talking about our heart health.  Come and join us, if you can.  Till the next update


Yours Gesa.
Week 6 update
I have made good progress in the last 2 weeks in terms of integrating daily activities, such as a brisk morning walks into my daily routine. A couple of times each week I arrange a 'meet and walk'  with my clients or staff, instead of a 'sitting meeting' in the office. One client is going to integrate this idea into her schedule, which was great feedback! 

In conjunction with the Heart Foundation's Go Red for Women team and the University of Canberra (UC) the jointly organised 'Walking Lecture' took place on Wednesday, 29 June. Almost 70 women registered and hence we had a very lively group of walkers on UC campus for this healthy heart activity.

Thank you to all of those that participated and YES we will have another Walking Lecture, probably in early September for the start of spring. Topic: Healthy Diet and Nutrition.
W - Working and learning
A  - Active Heart Activities
L - Lie low  (Say 'No' ... some quiet time for yourself)
K - Kids, kitchen and family commitments
S - Share and support for your voluntary and community activities  
Till next time
Yours Gesa.
Week 9 update

Looking back on the last 8 weeks, at the beginning of my healthy heart routine for each day and the rest of my life, I am now getting a sense of being 'on the road' at a steady pace but also realising the journey still ahead.


My self-assessment to date:  


1) Getting much better in daily and weekly planning, using the 'WALKS' planner (see last update)

2) Some weakness in giving in to 'unforeseen' events, such as longer meetings or special events which tend to impact on some active health times

3) Need to develop and enjoy the flexibility of 'building up' my healthy heart account
4) Keep talking to friends and colleagues about the Go Red for Women Campaign - I am always amazed at the support and how most are aware of the risks. It is just great to get others motivated to make some small lifestyle changes as well.


What the above does show is that I am starting to move from activities and actions to a change in attitude, making my healthy heart changes more and more a part of everyday living.


Keep it up ladies and look out for the Go Red event at Floriade!


Yours Gesa Ruge