If there is one organ that we can thank for helping the rest of our body function every day, it’s our hearts. They pump the blood and oxygen that circulate throughout our bodies. While we generally acknowledge the importance of our hearts, we often neglect to do simple, everyday things that can help them in the long run. Here are five different activities you can do inside or outside to help your heart out.
Move Up, Move Around
There are tons of ways to do cardiovascular exercises, with options available for people with interests of all types. Almost any activity that gets you moving will be an activity that your heart will thank you for. No matter at what stage of your life you may be at, getting up and moving around is something recommended for health. Activities can include taking a stroll, swimming, or even dancing! The activities that you participate in don’t have to be intense or take a big part out of your day either. Experts have found that just 30 minutes of exercise a day (Monday through Friday) for a year can add 3 years of the life to a person. Talk about great returns for a small amount of time!
You Are What You Eat
In the exercise world, there is a thing called the “70%-30%” concept. This means that in order for a person to reach their best form of physical fitness, they should plan on focusing 70% of their efforts into watching what they eat, and 30% of their efforts on their physical activity. While we aren’t going for weight loss or super physique here, that principle isn’t far off as the ideal model to follow for heart health. We are what we eat. If we eat excess sugars, fats, and salts, then our body will not fail to show the effects of our poor eating habits. While opting for the healthy option may be a difficult thing to do for most, the American Heart Association has been coming up with different ways to help people find and enjoy healthy food options through education.
Sleep on Your Problems
The proper amount of sleep that is recommended varies depending on a person’s age. Newborn babies sleep away around 70% of their day. The amount of recommended sleep decreases after that as a person gets older, but it never drops below 7 hours. For some reason, many adults see sleep as something that simply helps them feel better every day. As a result, they only sleep when they need to. A lack of proper sleep has shown to increase blood pressure and stress. These two things negatively and directly affect heart health. If you don’t have a schedule already, jot down a time that you can commit to for going to bed every night. Sleep doesn’t just help you feel better, it helps your heart health too.
Overcome Unhealthy Habits
There’s a difference between not helping your heart and intentionally feeding it things that harm it. Smoking, alcohol, and tobacco are all things that harm heart health. They also cause problems to arise sooner than later. Quitting these habits aren’t easy, so making goals is important. Talk with loved ones and friends about your goals to quit unhealthy habits and set goal markers. When you reach one, congratulate yourself! If you trip along the way, recognize that it happens and try again. Overcoming these habits will result in a happy and grateful heart.
The YMCA has taken upon itself the mission and commitment to help strengthen the community. Part of that commitment includes helping people live their best, healthy lives. Let us help you get active! Visit or contact us for more information!