It’s the symbol of love, passion and determination. The heart sustains our life, and is the subject of our songs and poems. The heart does so much for us but what have we done for it? The heart is often taken for granted in the course of our busy lives.
All over the place now we hear about getting healthy and heart disease, and how the two are related. Cardiovascular diseases continue to be one of the leading causes of death and a significant health concern in the population. There are things you can do to decrease your risk of developing cardiovascular diseases and increase your heart health.
So here are some of the risk factors for cardiovascular disease….. Family history of heart diseases, smoking, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, blood sugar levels, obesity, and a sedentary lifestyle. Now obviously some of those risk factors are out of our control or need to be taken care of by a medical professional. However, things like smoking, obesity, and a sedentary lifestyle are all risk factors we can minimize. On top of that blood pressure, blood sugar, and cholesterol levels can all be improved with healthy lifestyle changes.
What is the first step? The first step is to take a step! Literally, for someone who wants to gain healthy benefits from exercise and doesn’t want to get into a more committed program, 30 minutes a day of something like brisk walking on most days of a week (at the very least 3 days a week, but hopefully on all days of the week) will help you see some health benefits. 30 minutes a day. That’s all the time it takes. So, set down your laptop and take a walk. Go get the mail, walk around the block. Better yet, grab some fiends and play a game of basketball or soccer. Volleyball is a favorite game of mine that help me want to get active. There are so many possibilities for your 30 minutes! Biking, hiking, jogging, jumping rope, swimming and zumba are just some of the many things you can do to get moving.
Now for some of the more serious exercisers or athletes out there, taking on a strength or endurance exercise program can do wonders for your heart. The heart truly is an amazing organ. It can adapt to the many stresses we place on it to perform and excel under those conditions. Our body’s are capable of some amazing adaptations. So…. you are an endurance or a strength athlete or you are doing an endurance or strength training program. Your heart is working hard for you. While you have been training you heart has increased its’ muscle mass in the ventricular wall so it can pump harder and feed those exercising muscles. If you’re an endurance athlete your heart will pump a larger amount of blood each time it beats. This is an increased stroke volume. For both types of training you blood pressure can decrease. These are just some of the many benefits you and your heart will get from strength or endurance training. What an awesome organ!
Take care of your heart and your health. Get out there and get active, if just for 30 minutes a day. That isn’t a huge time commitment, just the length of one short TV program. I know you can do it! Those 30 minutes can become the funnest part of your day. Try it out for a week and you will feel better. Please do this for you heart; take care of it, because it is taking care of you.
What will you do for you 30 minutes today?