Valentine’s Day is right around the corner, so that means you’re seeing hearts everywhere. But, don’t forget to take care of your actual heart! Take three simple steps in three major categories – diet, exercise, and stress management – to make your heart healthy today:
Heart Healthy Diet
- Eat the proper portion: It’s not what’s on your plate that matters most – it’s how much. Treat serving sizes as a rule instead of a recommendation and simply don’t go over the limit. Serving yourself with measuring cups, eating with smaller tableware, and taking smaller bites will help you fill up on the right amount.
- Load up on fruits and veggies. Packed with vitamins and minerals, fresh produce not only prevents cardiovascular disease but fills you up and leaves less room for fatty foods like cheese, meat, and processed offerings. Keep a container of washed and chopped veggies in the fridge for a go-to snack, and incorporate fruits into main dishes and desserts.
- Plan ahead. When you have a roadmap to follow, you’re less likely to veer off course. Sit down on a Sunday night to jot out your week’s plan of attack for food, creating a balanced mix of proteins, produce, and carbs. Knowing what you can expect for each meal can prevent a binge or overindulgence in less healthy foods.
Heart Healthy Exercise
- Aim for 150: Make it a goal to engage in movement that bumps up your heart rate for a minimum of 150 minutes each week. Splitting it up into five days of thirty-minute sweat sessions will prevent injury from over-stressed muscles and joints and help maintain fitness.
- Take up lap swimming. For achy joints or lungs that haven’t stressed in a while, swimming offers a low-impact, total-body workout. All major muscle groups are engaged when swimming laps at a moderate pace, putting your heart through its paces as it pumps blood and oxygen throughout your body.
- Go online: YouTube hosts thousands and thousands of fitness videos you can do in your own living room. From High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) exercises to Bollywood dance cardio workouts, you can keep your routine fresh and discover new ways to move that you actually love.
Heart Healthy Stress-Management
- Pick up yoga techniques: When you feel tension rising at work, practice deep, slow breathing at your desk for an immediate release. Deeper stretches when you get home clears up residual stress and further gets your heart pumping with strengthening and toning exercises.
- Practice positive self-talk: Your words affect your emotions. Make sure the words bumping around your head are positive.
- Set realistic expectations: There’s a Swedish word for people who always think they have more time than they actually do—they’re called tidsoptimists. Don’t be one of those. Know how much you can get done in one day and don’t over-promise. Trying to get too much done in one day can definitely cause stress.
You only get one heart. Take time this Valentine’s Day to commit to treating it well! We can also help you keep your ticker in good order. Quite a few of the items we carry—such as exercise equipment and CPAP supplies—are built specifically to keep the heart healthy. Check out our online catalog today to see what else we have!