Heart Health Made Easy
If you average 80 beats per minute, by the end of February your heart will have beaten 6,796,800 times already this year. Your heart is one hard-working organ, pumping blood through your body every moment of your life. Given the effort your heart puts into keeping you alive, isn’t it wise to show your heart the same kind of love and respect?
According to the department of Health and Human Services, one in three deaths in the United States is because of cardiovascular disease. February is American Heart Month, and the perfect time to focus on maintaining a healthy heart.
» Many studies have shown the positive effects of gratitude on heart health. Simply saying “thank you” and thinking of reasons why you are grateful can be enough to have a benefit. These benefits include decreased blood pressure, which means less stress is put on the heart to do the same amount of work.
» Try this: Keep a pen and paper next to your bed. First thing tomorrow morning, write down three things you are thankful for. Then, when you lay down to sleep, reread your list and enjoy a great night of sleep.
A little goes a long way
» The heart is often considered a “dumb muscle.” That is, your heart does not necessarily know the difference between increased effort because of running, lifting weights, or playing games in the park. An elevated heart rate because of movement throughout your day can accumulate a lot of fitness without spending hours at the gym.
» Try this: Walk in place (or around the office) for one minute. Do this every half hour for one entire work day. Compare the amount of steps you take and the calories you burn to your “normal” days. Just like that, you are one step (or thousands) closer to a healthy heart.
Move with love
» The more you enjoy your heart-healthy activity, the more likely you are to make it a consistent part of your life. If you do not enjoy lifting weights, go work in your garden. If you dread the thought of a treadmill, take the dog for another walk. When it comes to longevity and life-long habits, the pleasure you get out of activity makes the biggest difference of all.
» Try this: Consider learning a new skill that carries over into lifelong opportunities for activity. Take tennis lessons with a friend or walk a weekly round of golf (no matter your handicap).
As American Heart Month continues through February, show your heart the love it deserves. Stay active doing whatever activity you enjoy the most. Remind yourself of all you have to be thankful for. These simple and easy actions will keep your heart pumping like new for a long time to come.
Nick Rozek is the workplace wellness coordinator for Greater Green Bay YMCA and a certified strength and conditioning specialist. Reach him at 920-436-1297 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Story Credit: http://www.greenbaypressgazette.com/story/life/2017/02/16/heart-health-made-easy/97963594/