Valentine’s Day might be over, but we’re not done thinking about hearts. NO, we’re not talking about the now-discounted chocolate hearts at the grocery store, but rather the blood-pumping dynamo that lives in your chest, beating a whopping 100,000 beats per day to deliver blood and oxygen to all the parts of your body. Your heart is your hero, even if it is an unsung hero most of the time. If it waivers just a little bit from its constant duties, your health can take a serious nosedive. And chances are that you rarely give it much thought. We’re always glad when February rolls around, as it happens to be American Heart Month, and a great opportunity to give this crucial organ its moment in the spotlight.
Need a little refresher on just how to practice proper heart health?
- Get sweaty. Exercise, especially cardio exercise that raises your heartrate, is your ticker’s BFF. This is where we come in. Your trainer is an expert on how to get you moving. Our Cardio Together™ program allows you to get in tune with the KIND of cardio exercise that is the best for you, HOW to do it properly and without injury, and exactly how MUCH to do to get the results you want. Think about this: before you started coming to Fitness Together, when was the last time you got training on how to perform cardio exercise? We’re not talking about a fitness dance class or step aerobics, but actual personalized lessons on how to perform cardio for you? Just like your preferences, your style, and your metabolism, your cardio needs are unique. At Fitness Together we pair your personal exercise style with tracking your goals and results, all while making sure you perform your exercise properly.
- Get munching. Eating a healthy diet most of the time can help to ensure a happy heart. Your heart especially loves whole grains, healthy fats like avocado and nuts, plenty of produce, and low salt. This type of diet helps to lower your blood pressure and lower your cholesterol, both of which, when elevated, can put serious unhealthy strain and stress on your heart.
- Get smiling. “Don’t worry, be happy.” What is by now perhaps just a cliché that falls on deaf ears happens to be an easy and effective recipe for heart health. Stress is a giant, well, stress on your heart. Stress can cause cardiac arrhythmias, which prevents the heart from pumping effectively, therefore causing an insufficient blood supply to reach the brain and other organs. Stress also raises blood pressure which, when left unchecked, can lead to heart damage and heart disease. Things like cardio exercise, strength training, yoga, healthy relationships with family or friends, and prayer or meditation are wonderfully effective stress-busters. Be sure you have elements of all of these things in your life.
- Get smoke-free. Really . . . do we have to go into why smoking is a horribly unhealthy habit that wreaks havoc on your heart, lungs, skin, throat, and overall well-being; and those of your loved ones? Didn’t think so.
- Get checked. Even if you think that everything is A-Okay, go ahead and make sure your doctor agrees with you. Many heart conditions have no, or minimal, other symptoms and can sneak up on you. Be sure to get your cholesterol, blood glucose, and blood pressure levels checked. And then rechecked in a year.