Jane Knowles remembers the last cigarette she ever smoked.
It was on June 26, 2010 - the day she had a heart attack and found herself lying in a hospital bed with three stents in her chest.
Her doctor told her the heart attack was a warning and that she needed to take better care of her health.
At that time, she was 63, and she recalled her mother had died of a heart attack at age 64.
"And that kind of scared me, too, because I thought, oh my God, I'm going to die when I'm 64," she said.
Her doctor prescribed medication to control her cholesterol and told her she would have to quit smoking.
After a week in the hospital, Knowles realized that once she went home, she would have some decisions to make about her lifestyle habits.
"The nurse . she got me out of bed and said, 'You know, you can either sit in (bed) and worry, or you can get up and go for it,' and I just came home and went, 'That's it, I'm going to exercise and eat right, and I'm not going to smoke anymore,'" she said.
True to her word, Knowles went on the patch for 11 days and never touched tobacco again.
She also started working out daily, cut sugar from her diet and began choosing more fish and vegetables rather than processed and fatty foods.
"When I have a chance to go somewhere and walk, I walk," she said. "I take the stairs, I don't take the elevator. I do everything I possibly can to get the old heart going."
Inspired by her recovery and increasing vitality, Knowles' nephew and his
partner - who run marathons together - encouraged her to train for a half-marathon, which she completed five months later, at the age of 65.
Today, Knowles has an enthusiasm for fitness she never expected to have just a few short years ago.
"I'm kind of on a high just from looking after myself," she said, noting she has replaced her addiction to nicotine and unhealthy foods with a love of spending time at the gym with friends.
Like other baby boomers, Knowles wants to enjoy her senior years in good health.
According to a recent Heart and Stroke Foundation poll, however, Canadians are living longer but not necessarily healthier lives.
The 2013 report on the health of Canadians - called Reality Check - warns that without immediate action, boomers may spend their last years in sickness, disability and immobility.
While almost 80 per cent of boomers think their doctors would rate them as healthy, their self-reported lifestyle choices show otherwise, according to the poll.
"We typically think teenagers are the ones who live like they're invincible, but boomers seem to forget their mortality, too," said David Sculthorpe, CEO of the Canadian Heart and Stroke Foundation, in a press release. "In order to take full advantage of life and make health last, Canadians need to take action - it's their time to decide if they'll grow old with vitality, or get old with disease."
To help support Canadians to make healthy changes, the foundation is launching Make Health Last, a campaign that offers tips and tools to implement healthier lifestyle choices.
According to the foundation, Canadians can shrink the 10-year gap between how long they live and how long they live in health by addressing five controllable behaviours that can affect heart disease and stroke risk: physical inactivity, smoking, stress, poor diet and excessive alcohol consumption.
For Knowles, this has changed her whole life.
"You know, I don't feel old," she said. "I'm getting the old-age pension, but I don't feel old."
For more information on the Heart and Stroke Foundation's Make Health Last initiative, as well as a personalized risk assessment, visit www.MakeHealthLast. ca. firstname.lastname@example.org