Valentine’s Day has come and gone, along with all the piles of candy and chocolate that come with it. Since February is also Heart Month, here at INLIV we want to focus on the muscle that keeps all of us moving! If you really want to show your sweetheart how much you care, commit to a healthier and more proactive lifestyle together – one that keeps you active, supportive, and dedicated to keeping each other on track.
A healthy heart begins with a healthy lifestyle – and once you get in the habit, it’s easy to maintain.
Here are five simple tips to keep your heart working at its best
- Eat well: There’s a whole world of wonderful food out there – expand your horizons with new fruits, vegetables, and recipes. Toss plenty of legumes and fibre into your diet, get colorful and include a variety of produce, while removing unnecessary sugar, fat, salt, and calories. A little effort goes farther than you think!
- No smoking: By now, everyone knows that smoking is terrible for you. It’s toxic, carcinogenic, stressful on your cardiovascular system, and can be fatal. An easy head start to good heart health is to quit – or just never begin – smoking. Your heart, lungs, throat, teeth, and skin will thank you! Just one year after you stop smoking, your heart risk is reduced by 50%.
- Regular exercise: Don’t be overwhelmed, thinking you have to commit to marathon-level training. Just 20 minutes of moderate exercise each day (150 minutes each week) can have a measurable effect on heart health. So play your favourite sport, take a brisk walk with your dog, or run with your kids – you won’t even realize you’re exercising at the same time!
- Lower stress: Stress hormones directly increase your blood pressure and heart rate, increasing your risk of heart problems. Activities like yoga and meditation can increase mindfulness, reduce stress, and have many other positive effects on your body. Practice at home with an online tutorial, or take a class with a friend. It’s never too late to start! And spending time with loved ones can even be a stress reducer in itself. It’s a win-win solution!
- Everything in moderation: We can all be tempted by the buffet table, the bottomless sodas, and the plate of brownies. While some reports say treats like dark chocolate and wine may have some positive benefits for your heart, those quickly disappear when too much is consumed. Know your limit and make the best of your delicious treats!
Want to learn more about heart health? Book a Proactive Health Assessment. It can help detect and identify conditions, issues and risk factors early, so we can design preventative strategies for your improved health and wellness.
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Aileen Kent is a Personal Trainer at INLIV. She is passionate about educating and empowering people to achieve their health and wellness goals using a customized holistic approach. Aileen holds a Personal Fitness Training Diploma from Mount Royal University, a Group Fitness Trainer Certificate from the Alberta Fitness Leadership Certification Association and a Holistic Nutrition Diploma from the Canadian School of Natural Nutrition.
– Aileen Kent